How long should you steep your black tea?

Brewing the perfect cup of black tea is an art form. It requires the right balance of tea leaves, water temperature, and steeping time. But how long should you steep your black tea for the best flavor?

Steeping time is important because it affects the flavor and strength of the tea. If you steep black tea for too long, it can become bitter and astringent. If you don't steep it long enough, the tea may be weak and lack flavor.

Whether you are a seasoned tea connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of tea, this article will provide insights on how to steep black tea for the best flavor and guidelines to help you brew a delicious cup every time.

What is Steeping?

When we pour hot water over tea leaves, the dried leaves slowly release an array of colors and flavors into the cup. This process of soaking tea leaves in water is known as steeping. It’s an infusion of water. 

The process of steeping is crucial. When done right it extracts antioxidants, caffeine, flavors, and aromas from your leaves. The steeping process will be different for each type of tea. If you get the hang of it, you’ll have a wonderful cup of tea every time. When done incorrectly, you’ll end up with an unpleasantly strong, bitter cup. Or you’ll have a weak, flavorless cup of tea. 

How long should you steep black tea? 

A typical black tea steep time is generally about 3 to 5 minutes long. Black teas are usually infused for a longer period of time than most other teas, which increases their caffeine content and results in a dark, full-bodied cup.

You can brew black tea by using either the standard western method or the eastern brewing technique. Some teas are more suitable for regular brewing, while others may reveal exceptional notes only when brewed multiple times. Both steeping time and water temperature will influence how many cups of tea you will get from loose-leaf teas. 

Follow the following instructions for best results on Nepali black loose-leaf teas

  • For best flavor, bring filter water to a boil (210℉).
  • Preheat your vessels by pouring some hot water into it, and then discarding it.
  • Measure your tea leaves. We recommend using 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf tea for every 8 ounces of water.
  • Place your leaves in the teapot and pour 8 ounces of boiled water directly over the leaves.
  • Ensure all the leaves are soaked
  • Allow the leaves to steep for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, place our foldable tea strainer in your cup and pour the tea. 
  • Serve the contents of the teapot and enjoy. 

Note*- You can re-steep good loose-leaf teas like all the black teas in our collection. The second steep usually bring out softer flavors and colors. 

2 grams of black tea will be enough for a great-tasting cup. Nepal Tea Collective recommends 2 grams for every 8 oz of water. 

Steeping Loose Leaf vs. Tea Bags 

There is a great debate on loose leaf tea vs. tea bags in the tea world. In general steeping loose-leaf tea has a reputation to be complicated in comparison to tea bags. But there are wonderful apparatus and invention that simplifies the process. In that case, the lure of the tea bag lies in its all-in-one steeping device.

Steeping tea bags

Follow the following steps to steep a good cup of tea from tea bags

  • Bring 8 oz of water to boil
  • Add tea bag into your mug/cup 
  • Pour hot water 
  • Take a moment to appreciate the character and aroma of your brew 
  • Whenever you’re ready pull out the tea bag 
  • Sip away!

Black Tea Steeping Time vs. Other Teas

As mentioned above, steeping time greatly varies depending on the kind of tea you are preparing for yourself. In general, black tea leaves allows for longer steeping time. Longer steeping time lets the black tea leaves to open up and infuse your mug with greater and stronger flavors. 

Same is not recommended for other kinds of tea. Follow the chart provided below to find out the right steeping time for your next cup of tea: 

Types of tea

Tea leaves

Water temperature

Steeping duration

White

2 grams

180°F / 82°C

3

Green

2 grams

180°F / 82°C

1

Oolong

2 grams

200°F / 93°C

3

Black

2 grams

210°F / 99°C

3-4

Herbal

2 grams

212°F / 100°C

5+

Brewing the perfect cup of black tea from Nepal Tea Collective 

Nepal Tea Collective has an excellent collection of award-winning black loose leaf teas. 

If you’re brewing Nepali black tea for the first time, we recommend you start with Kumari Gold. To brew the perfect cup of Kumari Gold, take 2 grams of tea in 8.5 oz of water at 210º F and steep for 5 minutes. 

We recommend you resteep the leaves as the award-winning Kumari Gold. Its tea leaves reveal an array of delicious flavors in every steep.  

Other things to consider when brewing black tea

Few things to keep in mind while brewing loose-leaf black tea

  • Use less leaves

With loose leaf black tea, one teaspoon will almost always be enough. The leaves will have enough room and time to expand freely in the pot. Adding too much leaves will constrict the opening of dried leaves and your brew will not be as flavorful. 

  • Clean the vessel afterward

Black tea stains are near impossible to clean. So clean whatever vessel you’re using immediately by hand.

To understand the natural deliciousness of any brew, it is essential to try the tea without sweeteners. We encourage you to let the tea in all its natural sweetness win your over. But if you want to add milk or sugar to your brew, don’t do it directly to the teapot. Add them to your own cup according to your preference.

  • Use double the amount of leaves for iced tea

For making black iced tea, use more leaves than for a regular cup of hot tea. Otherwise, flavor will get lost easily.