It is important to store tea leaves away from air, light, moisture and odors from other foods. It is best in a cool dry place in an opaque and airtight tin. Refrigeration is not recommended.
Each type of tea requires its own unique brewing procedure to draw out its characteristic delicate nuances or strong flavors or even medicinal qualities; and so we’ll now address the best method of preparing your Black Tea. You already have your tools at the ready (if not, please click back to our main Tea page).
Black Tea is one of only four true teas (Black, Oolong, Green and White), and all derived from one tea plant – the Camellia sinensis – with many varieties included. The leaves are oxidized under controlled temperature and humidity, and it is only the level of oxidation that determines the type of Tea. Black Tea leaves are more heavily oxidized than Oolong, Green or White; and Black Tea is also generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the more lightly oxidized teas. Moreover, Black Tea retains its flavor for several years, and as such, it has long been an article of trade. Although Green Tea (which can lose its flavor in a year) has been gradually increasing in popularity, due to its exceptional and growing reputation as a medicinal aid, Black Tea still accounts for over ninety percent of all Tea sold in the West.
Though it depends upon several factors, Black Tea contains about half the amount of caffeine of coffee after the tea is infused for five minutes. Read more about the differences in caffeine content among different teas.
The following steps will guide you through the preparation of your Black Tea:
Assuming that you have already pre-heated your teapot (or cup) by swirling boiling or nearly boiling water around in the empty pot and then pouring it off, we will now put the proper amount of tea leaves into the pot – using one level teaspoon of tea per eight-ounce cup of water as a guide – although some old-timers like to add an extra spoon or “one for the pot.” It’s all a question of taste.
It is also considered important to brew tea in a vessel that matches the quantity one is preparing. Brewing a single cup in a large teapot will never taste quite right because there is too much room for the heat to dissipate if the pot is only partially filled with boiling water; this is the time for a smaller teapot or a covered cup.
Now for the water: When steeping Black Tea, it is important to bring the water to a rolling boil and pour the boiling water (212 degrees Fahrenheit) immediately over the tea (bringing the pot or cup to the kettle of boiling water) and steep to taste, preferably in a covered china/porcelain pot or china or glass cup. The longer you steep the leaves, the stronger your infusion will be. Never stir the tea; let it steep within the confines of the pot or cup. Black tea generally steeps for about three to six minutes, but this is a matter of taste, so some experimentation will be necessary to strike the perfect chord for you. Many teas can be steeped again, for people who want to save and re-use their tea leaves, although the second pot of tea may become bitter. To keep your teapot hot to enjoy a second cup of tea, use a tea cozy. Never reheat your brewed tea.
Finally, it’s time for you to sit down, relax and sip your tea. Delicious? Relaxing? Just what you needed: The Perfect Cup of Tea and You!
These are guidelines for reference only. Experimentation will yield the perfect cup of tea.