Black Tea for Someone Who Hates Black Tea

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

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Nov 11th 18 4:55 am
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Black Tea for Someone Who Hates Black Tea

by MagicMirror4 » Nov 11th 18 4:55 am

I've never liked black tea. It's bitter and the taste sits on the back of my tongue. Earl Grey and English Breakfast particularly. The issue is, the blends that I would like to get often have black tea. Is there something that I'm doing wrong, or is there a specific type that I should try?

Also any recommendations for jasmine and chai (I actually dislike sweet teas, is there a way for it to not be so sweet)?

Nov 17th 18 5:34 am
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Joined: Apr 17th 18 10:11 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: Black Tea for Someone Who Hates Black Tea

by himitsu~ » Nov 17th 18 5:34 am

to reduce bitterness, you can try shorter brews. or adding a bit of milk which reacts with tannins.

you could also try venturing into unflavored teas. try some high quality black teas. like a good yunnan gold (dianhong) perhaps. i drink those plain with no sugar or anything else added. delicious.

Nov 20th 18 4:26 pm
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Re: Black Tea for Someone Who Hates Black Tea

by chapka » Nov 20th 18 4:26 pm

First of all, if you don't like it, you don't like it, and that's fine. Don't let anyone tell you you have to like something just because they think it's the best. Different people have different tastes, and if black tea isn't your bag, there are a lot of great green teas, white teas, wulongs/oolongs, and yellow teas out there.

That said...

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but flavor is notoriously hard to describe. What's bothering you might be the bitterness, but it sounds more like astringency. One of my favorite online tea vendors, Red Blossom, has an explainer on the difference here:

https://redblossomtea.com/blogs/red-blo ... stringency

Everyone's palate is sensitive to different things; if yours is sensitive to harsh astringency, you'll need to pick teas with that in mind. In general, you can reduce bitterness and harsh astringent finishes by using high-quality tea and not brewing too long.

I find Chinese-style brewing (often called "gongfu") also reduces harsh aftertastes. Basically this means using more tea but for less time, as little as thirty seconds. You can then add more water and brew again. You can adjust the amount of leaves and the brewing time to get the taste profile that suits you.

As for specific black teas, I would try some Taiwanese black and wulong teas (sometimes marketed in the West as "Formosa," an old name for Taiwan), and Yunnan black teas. They are grown for Chinese-style brewing, and respond well to it. Also consider shou (or "ripe") pu'er tea; it has a strong, rich flavor that can come through in a very short steep, and balances out the bitterness.

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Nov 21st 18 2:43 am
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Re: Black Tea for Someone Who Hates Black Tea

by MagicMirror4 » Nov 21st 18 2:43 am

Awesome! Thanks guys!!

Nov 22nd 18 10:04 pm
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Re: Black Tea for Someone Who Hates Black Tea

by WeBJammin' » Nov 22nd 18 10:04 pm

You may be steeping them too long... That will bring out a more bitter flavor. Try steeping only 30 seconds and with water less than boiling. My guess is you'll get the malty flavors without the bite. Good luck!


MagicMirror4 wrote: I've never liked black tea. It's bitter and the taste sits on the back of my tongue. Earl Grey and English Breakfast particularly. The issue is, the blends that I would like to get often have black tea. Is there something that I'm doing wrong, or is there a specific type that I should try?

Also any recommendations for jasmine and chai (I actually dislike sweet teas, is there a way for it to not be so sweet)?

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Nov 30th 18 12:07 pm
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Location: China

Re: Black Tea for Someone Who Hates Black Tea

by Teasenz » Nov 30th 18 12:07 pm

If you hate the bitterness, go for some more delicate black teas. Yunnan Gold and Jin Jun Mei are good ones to start with. Brew them at 80ºC (175ºF) to make them taste more sweet (and less bitter).