Teabloom glass teapot pouring black tea into round teacups with sweets on the side

Fantastic Tips for Making Better Tasting Black Tea

By Erika Robertson

Black teas are the base for so many Western recipes — from iced tea to traditional Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, and more. If you’re new to the world of tea, black tea might be an excellent starting point when it comes to making tea — it may not be as intimidating as other kinds of teas, like white or green.

Making black tea is easy when you have the right setup and supplies at hand. In this blog, we’ll share with you our tips for making the perfect pot of hot black tea, along with iced tea, ice tea (yes, there’s a difference!), and a newer cold-brew black tea recipe that’s inspired by the coffee industry. 

What You’ll Need:

How to Make Hot Black Tea

Teabloom round teacups with hot black tea, sweets, and flowers

If you’re a newbie to tea-making, starting with black tea might be your saving grace. There is little room for error when it comes to heating your water to the right temperature — you just need to check that it’s hot enough, which is easy.

Learning how to make hot black tea will open up a world of possibilities and recipes for you. This technique for making hot tea is also used for ice and iced tea variations below.  We are huge fans of hot tea, mostly because it’s the most traditional way to enjoy a cup, and it might increase the perception of flavor compared to cold tea variations.

Step 1: Prepare Your Water

One of the best things about making black tea, compared to other types, is that you don’t need a thermometer to gauge the temperature for steeping. With other teas, steeping them in water that’s too hot can burn the tea leaves and release bitter flavors. But when you heat water for black tea, you’ll want to bring it to a rolling boil.

Step 2: Heat Your Teapot

You never want to drop your tea leaves in your cold teapot and just add hot water — you want to prepare your teapot by heating it first. If you add your leaves and water directly to a cool teapot, the temperature of the water may drop a lot — especially if you’re making a small serving — and it won’t steep your tea all the way. Your tea might taste watery and you’ll lose out on all that amazing flavor. 

To heat your teapot and tea infuser, add just a splash of that boiling water to the pot. Squish and swirl it around the teapot to heat the sides — this takes about 10 to 15 seconds. Then, empty out the water — it’s as easy as that!

Helpful Tip: If you have a Teabloom tea kettle, pitcher, or teapot, you can skip this step and just heat your water directly in your tea vessel right on the stovetop. 

Step 3: Measure Out Your Tea Leaves

You’ll want to measure your tea leaves. When it comes to making black tea, we recommend you use about 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf black tea for every 8 ounces of water you steep. This is a good starting point if you’ve never made tea like this before. 

Of course, the strength of your tea will be subjective. Some people like their tea very strong and use a tablespoon for every 8 ounces. You can adjust according to your personal preference. 

Add your tea leaves to the warmed teapot/tea infuser and let the leaves sit in the steaming vessel for about 30 seconds. You may see your tea leaves start to unfold.

Step 4: Add Hot Water and Steep Your Tea

Fill your teapot or tea vessel with the hot boiled water. If you have teaware from Teabloom, you don’t have to steep an entire pot of tea, either — their removable tea infusers almost reach the bottom of their teaware so you can make as little or as much tea as you like. 

Once the water is added, let your tea steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Set a timer and don’t let your tea steep for more than 5 minutes — otherwise, you risk releasing bitter flavors when you make your black tea.

Step 5: Stop the Steeping and Remove the Tea Leaves

Once your tea is done steeping remove the leaves immediately using the removable tea infuser. Drain your tea leaves completely but never squish your tea leaves, as this can release bitter flavors as well. Set your lea leaves and infuser to the side to enjoy a second pot, if you wish!

Helpful Tip:  Did you know you can reuse your tea leaves? As long as they don't continue to steep in sitting water, you can re-steep your leaves and make a second serving of black tea. The second batch will be a little weaker than the first, but if you want a stronger flavor add a few more fresh tea leaves and steep for no longer than 5 minutes. 

Step 6: Add Your Favorites and Enjoy

Do you like milk and sugar in your black tea? These are wonderful compliments when you make black tea, especially the breakfast teas or Earl Grey. Feel free to add lemon, honey, or any accompaniments you like — this is your cuppa after all!

How to Make Iced Black Tea

Teabloom iced tea pitcher with black tea and mint leaves

There is almost nothing more American than a nice tall cool glass of sweet iced tea. Did you know that the first kind of tea to come to America was not black tea, but green tea? It wasn’t until WW2 that black tea leaves became an American staple. 

Black tea is used to make the base of a lot of iced tea recipes. We are fans of drinking iced tea all year round, especially in the wintertime when we enjoy the comfort of a warm and cozy space. 

Making black iced tea is simple. You’ll start with the hot black tea steps above, but make a few adjustments:

Use At Least Twice as Much Tea

You’ll always want to steep hot tea for no more than 5 minutes. If you want to make it stronger — and for this recipe we definitely do — you’ll add more tea leaves instead of increasing the steeping time. 

For every 8 ounces of water, you’ll want to measure out 2-3 teaspoons of black loose-leaf tea. This will make the tea extra strong, so when you add the ice the flavor doesn’t become weak and watery.

Flash-Chill Your Tea Straight Away

After 3 to 5 minutes take your tea leaves out of the teapot or pitcher. Transfer the hot tea to a large enough pitcher that has room to add a lot of ice. You’ll want to ice your tea immediately by flash-chilling it. 

The hot steaming tea will melt a lot of the ice but will help mellow out the flavor so you enjoy iced tea that’s strong enough, but not too strong. You should still be able to add it to cups filled with ice and still taste the tea flavor. 

Making Black Ice Tea - An Iced Tea Variation

Iced tea is a super fast way to make a cold and refreshing drink that you can enjoy instantly. But, if you don’t like the idea of using all of those tea leaves at once you can go with the ice tea method. You just need a little more patience and time for this version: 

Make It Only a Little Stronger Than Regular Hot Tea

Ice tea, unlike iced tea, doesn’t need to be incredibly strong. You’ll add only about 1.5 teaspoons of tea for every 8 ounces of water. Follow the same steeping instructions as you would for how to make hot black tea — for only 3 to 5 minutes.

No Ice is Needed for Cooling

Remove the tea leaves and let your tea cool down on its own. We recommend keeping it in the refrigerator if you can. 

This process takes more time, but you don’t have to worry about accidentally diluting your tea with too much ice. It also saves some tea leaves and guarantees a strong tea flavor. 

You’ll want to make ice tea just a little stronger than when you make hot black tea to compensate for the ice during serving. You’ll want to pour your cooled-down tea over glasses filled with ice. The ice will melt a little over time, but the flavor of your tea should still be vibrant and taste bold and refreshing.

How to Make Cold Brew Black Tea

Teabloom cold brew tea cups with black tea, garnished with oranges, roses, and sugar sticks

This method for steeping tea comes from the coffee industry. Cold brewing isn’t just for coffee — you can use this technique for tea, too! 

There are a lot of cold brew tea bags out in the market, but we suggest you stick with a good quality loose-leaf black tea for this recipe. The teabags you come across in the marketplace are usually made with tea dust and release bitter flavors into your tea. But, with whole-leaf teas, you’ll enjoy a rounder and more pleasant flavor. 

This technique is excellent for people who’ve never made tea — it’s almost fool-proof because it’s almost impossible to over-steep it! And if you enjoy a little less caffeine this may be the perfect recipe for you. The cold brew method doesn’t release as much caffeine as the hot steeping method.

The only catch is that this technique takes patience:

Step 1: Measure Your Black Tea Leaves

When you make your black cold brew iced tea, you’ll want to use about 1 tablespoon of loose-leaf tea for every 12 ounces of water — or 1.5 cups. After you make your first batch, you may find that you want your tea stronger, or weaker — you can adjust the amount of tea leaves to your liking the next time.

Step 2: Use Cold Water to Steep Your Tea

Add cold, fresh water and fill your vessel, then place it in your refrigerator. How long you steep your tea depends on your personal preference, as well. You can steep it for 4-6 hours, or you can steep it for as long as 10 hours. 

Step 3: Discard Your Tea Leaves and Serve It Up

Remove your tea leaves once your tea is as strong as you want. Enjoy it straight since it’s already chilled, or add ice and additional fruits or accompaniments for an extra cold or extra flavorful experience. Cheers!

Make the Best Black Tea Recipes with Teaware From Teabloom

From tea newbies to seasoned aficionados, Teabloom has the essentials you want to enjoy the perfect cup of tea — and they are no ordinary teaware supplier. 

Teabloom has been on a mission since day one, to clean up the tea industry and combat unclean and toxic practices that run rampant across the globe. Their borosilicate glass teaware is handmade, toxic-free, and created with the health and wellness of tea drinkers in mind. Their collection is also sustainable, affordable, and made to make your tea taste pure and exceptional. 

Choose a tea set that fits your taste and aesthetic. When you make the switch to Teabloom, you’ll enjoy better-tasting tea that promotes a cleaner and more health-conscious lifestyle.