It may seem surprising, but there are people out there who think tea tastes like dishwater. These people can’t understand how anyone has reasons for drinking tea, let alone enjoying it.
Of course, in most cases, the reason people dislike tea is because they haven’t had it properly prepared. Bitter tea is one common cause of this phenomenon.
Another major problem is tea that’s too weak. If you or someone you know thinks tea just tastes like hot water, try the advice in this article.
Not everyone has to like tea, of course. But it’s best to have it properly prepared before you abandon it out of hand!
How do you brew strong tea?
To brew strong tea that doesn’t taste bad, you need to pay special attention to the amount of tea you use, the temperature of the water and your brewing time. Most tea will taste bitter if it brews for too long, so you’ll want to adjust the amount of leaves and water temperature for best results.
How to make strong black, oolong, green or white teas
Black, oolong, green and white teas are all made with the leaves of the actual tea plant, camellia sinensis. It’s this plant that lends tea its classic flavor profile and dose of caffeine.
The problem is that steeping most tea varieties for more than the recommended time leads to bitter, acidic tea that just doesn’t taste good.
It will technically be stronger in terms of caffeine content, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want or be able to drink much of it.
If the tea you’re having problems with is one of these varieties, your black tea is weak, then, that means you can’t just let it brew longer. Instead, you need to add more actual tea leaves if you want stronger, better tasting tea.
First of all, make sure you know how much loose leaf tea for a cup and are adding the correct amount. In general, that’s about one tablespoon per 6 ounce cup of tea.
If you’re already adding the right amount of tea and still think the tea tastes weak, try increasing the amount of leaves and making sure you’re not pouring in too much water.
For teabags, consider adding a second or even third bag to your cup. Generally speaking, the more tea leaves you add, the stronger your tea will taste.
The other thing to look out for with these types of tea is the water temperature. Getting the right water temperature for tea is an important part of getting the best taste.
For black tea, you need boiling water. For oolong, green and white teas, you want water that’s nearly boiling but not quite there. Usually that’s around 170-185 degrees Fahrenheit for green and white teas or 180-190 for oolong tea.
Making herbal teas taste stronger
Many tea drinkers are looking for the tea with the highest caffeine content. On the other hand, a large number of people drink tea because it helps them relax.
If you’re in the second camp or if you just dislike the taste of black, green or white tea, you might drink a lot of herbal teas. Herbal teas are not technically a true tea. Rather, they are a “tisane,” an archaic word referring to a drink made from herbs like barley.
The good news is that because herbal teas don’t contain actual tea leaves, you don’t have to worry about bitterness if you brew them too long. In fact, you can brew most herbal teas indefinitely without ruining the taste.
A word of warning, though: some herbal teas, especially those with dried fruit like strawberries or raspberries, definitely become undrinkable the longer you brew them.
If you’ve tried brewing your beverage longer and find you’re still faced with the question of how to make herbal tea taste better and stronger, the answer may lie in a surprising direction: the type and amount of sweetener you use.
While sugar has a bad reputation in terms of health, a small amount of white sugar or simple syrup can enhance the flavor of herbal tea while adding a little bit of sweetness.
Honey is another popular choice. If your herbal tea has floral notes or cereals in it, the flavor of honey will bring out these tastes quite strongly.
Finally, the water temperature you use will play a role in the flavor of your herbal tea. In almost all cases, you want to use boiling water for herbal teas. The hotness of the water is what allows the ingredients to release their flavor, so if your tea is still on the weak side you will want to make sure your water is hot enough.
Brewing a strong pu erh tea
Pu erh tea is a favorite variety for those who love strong teas.
Part of the reason for that is because the fermentation process undergone by pu erh teas naturally lends them a robust flavor and stronger taste. An added benefit to this type of tea is that as long as you know how to store pu er tea, you can brew it indefinitely without making it bitter and undrinkable.
That’s right. After you pour boiling water over your pu erh tea, you can leave it as long as an hour and still drink the result.
Mind you, pu erh tea that’s been brewed for an hour will taste so strong it’s more like drinking coffee than tea. All the same, it won’t carry that characteristic astringent bitterness that comes with overly steeped black or green tea.
Of course, because pu erh tea naturally has a more robust flavor, you can often get a deliciously strong cup just by following the normal recommendation of 3-5 minutes in boiling water.
Speaking of how to make pu erh tea taste better, it’s important to note that the traditional method of preparing pu erh is very different than how many Western drinkers brew it. In China, the method is to pour about X ounces of boiling water over the pu erh tea, steep it for thirty seconds and then pour the water out. After this initial “wash” to remove the bitterness, you can re-brew the tea leaves as many as six times with the same amount of boiling water for 15-30 seconds each time, producing a decent quantity of pu erh tea.
Although you would think such a short brew time would result in very weak tea, this traditional method packs a surprisingly strong punch. If the “brew it longer” method doesn’t produce a taste you like, try switching it up and trying out the Chinese method of preparing pu erh tea.
Strong tea for boba lovers
Boba tea, also known as bubble tea, is a popular way to prepare tea with origins in Hong Kong and south-east Asia. A lot of people find themselves in love with this sweet, dessert-style tea drink after innocently asking, “What does boba tea taste like?”
Because of boba tea’s popularity, many tea manufacturers produce special powdered tea blends with flavors, sweetener and creamer already added.
Although this makes preparing boba tea much simpler than traditional teas, it also means brewing a stronger tea is a little more difficult.
On the plus side, you don’t need to worry about over brewing boba tea. Because it’s typically a powder, it simply dissolves when you add boiling water.
However, as anybody who’s bought their own powdered boba tea mix knows, it’s crucially important to get the proportions of powder to water to milk or milk alternative. If you get the amounts wrong, you’ll end up with a syrupy, undrinkable mess or a watered-down tea that just doesn’t taste too great.
If you find yourself wondering how to add more tea flavor to your powdered boba tea mix, try this useful hack. You’ll need your powdered mix, two cups and an assam or Ceylon teabag. It goes without saying that you can use loose leaf tea instead if you prefer it.
First, measure out the correct amount of powdered boba tea mix into a cup. In your second cup, add a tablespoon of tea leaves or your teabag.
Next, boil the water as you usually would. However, instead of pouring your water into your boba powder, you’re going to pour six ounces of it into the second cup.
Let the tea leaves brew for 3-5 minutes, and then pour the tea over the boba tea powder. The result will be a cup of boba tea with an extra-strong kick of tea taste.
While this method works with many boba tea powders, you’ll want to experiment and may need to adjust the amount of tea you pour in, or dilute it with water, for the best possible taste.
Other advice for strong tea
- Make sure you know how long loose leaf tea stays fresh and how to store it properly. Old tea leaves lose their flavor.
- Buy high-quality tea. Cheaper varieties may have more additives than actual tea leaves.