Make perfect black tea: our tips
To make perfect black tea is a simple process but does require attention to the little things. Therefore just follow these straight-forward tips:
1. Fill the kettle with fresh cold water straight from a tap supplied direct from the mains.
2. If your water is from a ‘hard’ water area with much limescale or if there are noticeable levels of chlorine added to the water use a purification filter to enable your tea leaves to give their best flavour. We supply patented Brita water filters, specially designed for this purpose. Alternatively, use spring water.
3. Warm the pot, or the mug if you are using an infuser, thoroughly. You want your tea to be really hot.
4. Boil the water. Wait for the steam.
5. Use one teaspoon of tea per person and one for the pot. For very bulky teas use more – aim for around 2-3 grams per person.
6. Let the tea brew for four to five minutes. Whilst colour takes perhaps only a short time to become apparent, the full flavour takes longer. To arrest brewing once it has reached the desired strength the leaves can be removed from infuser teapots such as those we stock from La Cafetiere.
7. Use fine china mugs or cups. This is not live up to an Edwardian ideal but to reduce the amount of heat the cup takes from your tea!
8. Ensure that you use milk only with those teas that can take it, such as Assams, Ceylon Dimbulas and Breakfast Blends. Pour it into the cup first to avoid the need for stirring. Milk is optional with black China teas and oolongs. Many teas are better without.
9. Avoid taking tea with sugar. A well brewed tea that is intended for milk should not taste bitter.
More specific instructions may be given for some teas following their descriptions in our Tea Store.
Should milk be added first or last? A practical view.
This is the great debate, but in our view the answer is unequivocal: add the milk first! Here’s why:
1. It avoids you having to stir your tea.
2. The tea has less chance of staining your porcelain.
3. There is less chance of cracking the cup.
4. You avoid having to use or wash a teaspoon.
5. You don’t suddenly discover that you didn’t leave enough space in your cup for the milk.
6. It stops the milk from be scalded thereby changing its taste.
However, you might wish to bare these points in mind:
1. If you are unfamiliar with the tea being brewed see the strength, colour and smell in the cup before deciding how much (or whether any) milk should be added.
2. If you want to show off how heat-proof your expensive hard-paste porcelain is then poor the tea first – but don’t blame us if the cup cracks!
How to store your black tea
To ensure that your fine teas are kept in top condition for many months black teas should be kept cool and dry in an air-tight container away from light and strong smells.
How long should I keep my black tea?
Black teas will keep for up to two years. We state a ‘best before’ date one year from date of despatch.
Go to the Black Tea section of our Tea Store.