how long to steep black tea

So, you have made the great choice to add black tea to your diet. Nice!

Statistically speaking, about nearly half the world starts their day with black tea. There’s a good reason for that since black tea packs a lot of the same power as a cup of coffee does.

But some new black tea drinkers may be wondering “how long to steep black tea?” That’s a great question. Keep reading to discover more about black tea.

How Long to Steep Black Tea?

Brewing black tea is both an art and a science. Black tea tends to be a bit stronger and more robust than other tea leaves in the Camellia sinensis or “true tea” family. That goes for both flavor and caffeine levels as well as what it takes to properly brew black tea.

Black tea generally needs hotter water (208-212 degrees) and a longer steeping time (5 minutes) than other teas in the true tea family, too. But before we get to more specifics let’s first talk about loose leaf versus bagged black tea.

Loose Leaf Black Tea vs Tea Bags: What’s the Difference?

Lots, actually. For any tea leaf, black included, the differences between loose leaf or whole leaf and tea bags are pretty big.

Loose leaf tea is usually fresher, more flavorful, has a stronger and richer aroma, and provides a bit more in terms of health benefits. The tea leaves have more room to expand in your teapot and so they are usually of higher flavor and aroma quality.

Meanwhile, tea bags are often stuffed with lots of dustings from the tea processing plant’s floors. Twigs, shredded and broken leaves, etc. Not only that but tea in tea bags tend to get staler and mustier faster. This is because their surface area is reduced and also because they sit on store shelves for months and months.

Recently though the tea sachet has improved things for the tea bag. The sachet is usually a pyramidal-shaped baggy that the tea comes in. Sachets may be of a bit higher quality than the average tea bag one may find languishing on a break room pantry shelf but still have similar quality problems that standard tea bags may suffer from.

How to Brew Loose-Leaf Black Tea

• Scoop 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf black tea for every 8 to 10 ounces of filtered or purified water you will brew with
• Boil your water to about 208 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Now, pour your water into your teapot or brewing vessel to preheat it. Feel free to discard the water.
• Pour in your chosen amount of leaves. The more leaves the stronger your brew.
• Then, pour your water onto your leaves and let them steep for 5 minutes.
• After steeping, you can enjoy your black tea! Just an important note though, if you leave your leaves (ha!) in the pot for too long the brew will become very bitter and possibly too strong. In this case, maybe opt to pour your extra brew into a carafe to enjoy later without the leaves turning it too bitter.

How to to Brew Tea Bags or Sachets for Black Tea

• The virtues of tea bags or sachets come in the form of their convenience. That being said 1 teabag per 8-10 ounces of water should do the trick for those wondering about a good starting ratio.
• First, boil your water and pour it into your pot or cup to preheat it.
• Then place in your teabag.
• Now pour your water in.
• Steep your tea for 5 minutes and enjoy. Just like loose leaf tea though, be sure to remove your tea bag unless you want to get a very bitter brew.

Health Benefits of Black Tea

A great reason to add black tea to the menu includes all manner of awesome health benefits. Like these!
• Caffeine- Helps keep us awake and alert. It also increases physical performance and helps us to burn calories.
• Antioxidants- Defend our bodies from oxidative stress and signs of aging.
• Amino acids, vitamins, minerals- Health-enhancing vitamins and minerals help to stave off ailments and keep us healthy.

Can You Steep Black Tea Too Long?

Yes! If you want to sip your black tea slowly and enjoy it for a while then opt for a teapot with a strainer that can let you remove the leaves, use easily removable bags, or brew additional pots. If you steep your black tea too long it will turn your tea extra bitter!

What Can I Add to Black Tea?

     Black tea tends to have a strong, robust flavor. Some folks may want to balance out the strong flavors by mixing in other ingredients. Some great ingredients to add to black tea to balance it out include;

  • Lemon
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Creamer


Black tea is a superb drink to start the day with. Or to recharge in the afternoon, too! I hope this guide has helped you out in learning more about black tea!

In case you were wondering things like how to brew black tea or how long to steep black tea, I’m here for you to give you a hand. I hope you brew some black tea today. Happy brewing, and just don’t steep too long!

Works Cited

  • “Black Tea.” Wikipedia, 31 May 2021,
  • “How to Brew Black Teas.” Smith Teamaker, Accessed 10 June 2022.
  • “What Is Black Tea?”, 2018,

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