For Stronger Tea Don't Rely On Steeping Time - It's All In The Measuring

Are you a tea person, or do you prefer coffee? Or perhaps you drink coffee in the morning to give you a boost of energy and tea in the afternoon when you need a small pick-me-up. Drinking tea everyday has great health benefits — black tea has antioxidants and may help reduce the risk of cancer, and green tea boosts your metabolic rate and helps you burn calories. 

Despite it seeming like a relatively simple process, preparing a cup of tea is a multi-step process. There are many factors to consider when making the perfect cup of tea like which type of tea do you actually want to drink, does it require milk — some people would balk at adding milk to Earl Gray tea for example — how long it should steep for and what is the tea to water ratio to get that extra 'ahhhhh' in your cup?

Tea strength is a preference, but there is a right way and a wrong way

First steeping: Different types of tea require different steeping times for optimal flavor and, in some cases, caffeine extraction, like black tea. According to Artful Tea, rooibos tea and some herbal teas can steep for over five minutes for maximum flavor, while green tea or oolong only needs a couple of minutes at most before becoming bitter. Steep for too little time, and you have a milder cup of tea, sometimes referred to as weak, both in flavor and potency.

While most teas come with a recommended range for steeping times, it's still a personal preference. If you prefer a stronger cup of tea than what one bag and three to five minutes can give you, you may think that steeping longer or using hotter water will achieve desired results. This might work for some teas, but for your average black tea, it won't. According to Golden Moon Tea, oversteeped tea is bitter due to too many tannins being released, which in normal amounts is what gives the tea its flavor, but too much will leave a dry, unpleasant feeling in your mouth. 

If you want a black tea that has a bold flavor without bitterness, consider adding a half teaspoon of tea to your diffuser or strainer and steeping for the recommended amount of time. If you're using a teabag, add a second bag and aim for the lower end of the recommended steeping time.