How to Brew a Black Tea?
As for loose leaf teas (Orthodox methods), both water temperature and the steeping time will ultimately determine how many cups can be made out of them. It’s important to remember, however, that there are basically two ways of brewing tea, that of the Eastern or Chinese Style (Gong Fu) and that of the Western Style, more popular in Europe and North America. As to which is best, that will definitely depend on your preferences. The Chinese style may take longer (perhaps why it’s called a Tea Ceremony) but on the other hand, will also bring out the best flavors of tea.
Over time, below are the widely-accepted methods in brewing the most popular black teas in the market today:
As its name suggests, Darjeeling comes from the mountainous town of Darjeeling, India. Many connoisseurs call it the “champagne of tea” for its fruity yet delicate floral notes.
However, don’t be fooled by the name. The character of this tea can vary depending on the time of its harvest. That means each of the four annual harvests, referred to as a “flush” in the tea industry, has its own distinct character.
Usually, the spring flush leaves you with a grassy taste. It’s the most popular of the bunch. On the other hand, the summer flush (June) is more fruity in character while the rest of the flushes are stronger in flavor.
Unlike most black teas, Darjeeling is not as fully oxidized. Thus, it has a tendency to become very bitter when brewed with boiling water. It’s best to serve Darjeeling tea as is, however. And that should mean with no sugar or milk added.
Use a water temperature of about 85°C to 90 °C for best results. Steep for 3 minutes. If you want to re-steep, use cooler water.
Assam Black Tea
Another black tea named for the region it came from. Call it the most successful black tea. When the British transferred tea production to India in the 1830s to compete with China, Assam was leading the way. Today, it’s the world’s most prolific black tea-producing region.
Generally, Assam is very strong and malty. Even better, this malty brew is easy to concoct and the perfect companion for milk. So if you’re new to the trade, Assam can be your perfect first tea drink. Even when it’s typically described as bitter and robust, you can still enjoy it as lightly sweet leaving you with notes of nuts and chocolate.
Brew in water temperature of about 90°C to 95°C for 3 to 5 minutes. You can add milk or honey if you choose something sweeter. Usually, you can steep it only once, and two infusions are rare.
Lapsang is uniquely from China, specifically from the Wuyi Mountains of the Fujian province. Unlike most black teas, Lapsang is a smoked type of tea, the reason why it’s called tea that emerges from fire. It’s dried by using burning pine fires. Small wonder the leaves are imbued with a distinct smoky aroma and flavor.
If you like it bold, then Lapsang Souchong could be your cup of tea
which should remind you of coffee paired with unsweetened chocolate. Best of all, those piny notes are hard not to notice. Its bold taste has earned it the moniker the “whiskey of tea”.
Brew for 2.5 minutes in a water temperature of about 100°C. If you want to find the best taste, taste every 30 seconds after the first minute. Lapsang is also preferred by many as an iced tea.
Technically, Hei Cha is fermented Chinese tea and it’s the black tea of China (the Western black tea is referred to as red tea in the Asian country). As it’s fermented, it has a more complex flavor than most black teas.
Usually, Hei Cha harbors aromas and flavors that remind you of the sea (marine) and sometimes fungal, if not mushroomy flavor.
Steep Hei Cha in water temperatures between 93°C to 99 °C for 3 to 4 minutes for best results.
If you want a black tea formula that’s thousands of years old then this Indian variety should bid you well. Infused in Ayurvedic medicinal traditions, Masala Chai (mixed spice tea) is a blended tea. Usually, it’s a combination of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper (amongst others).
Don’t worry about all that mixed ingredients. Masala Chai is one of the most sought-after teas in India for its wonderful tastes.
Steep Chai n water temperatures between 93°C and 100 °C for 3 to 5 minutes. You can also take it with honey or milk to give it a more