27 Add-ins to Make Black Tea Taste Better

Tea cup on desk with notebook

Looking to spice up black tea? Interested in making your daily cup of Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or Irish Breakfast taste better? Browse below to learn the best way to make black tea including the steep time and brewing temperature for black tea.

Add bergamot orange flavoring.

Bergamot oranges are the key ingredient in one of the most popular teas: Earl Grey. Unfortunately, it's tough to find bergamot oranges at a grocery store. The easiest way to enjoy Earl Grey tea is to buy pre-flavored tea. Here's a few of our favorites:

Other citrus flavors like lemon will make black tea taste better, too.

Create your own chai spice mix.

Chai is another type of very popular black tea. Unlike Earl Grey tea, it's ingredients vary a lot and depend on your personal preference. Here's a few of the most common ingredients in chai:

Make a homemade black tea latte.

Thickeners like milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, or macadamia milk will make your black tea taste smoother.

Add some chocolate or vanilla.

Vanilla is a popular add-in for black tea that's found in some pre-flavored teas like Pure Leaf Black Tea with Vanilla or Tazo Vanilla Bean Macaron Black Tea. You could also make your own homemade, vanilla black tea by using any of the following:

Chocolate is another popular flavor to add to black tea. It not only makes black tea taste better but also adds an energy boost since it contains caffeine. You could also make your own chocolate black tea by adding chocolate or cacao powder. Cacao powder is better for you but likely more bitter since it's free of excess sweeteners.

Sweeten your tea.

A few options to make black tea taste sweeter include honey, organic cane sugar, and stevia extract.

Steep at the right temperature with filtered water.

Steep time and brewing temperature matters less for black tea than it does for green tea or white tea. For black tea you want to get the water close to boiling and then steep for around 5 minutes.

If you steep longer, it'll extract slightly more caffeine and will taste stronger with both good and bad flavors amplified.

  • Black Tea Steep Time: 4 minutes to 7 minutes
  • Black Tea Brewing Temperature: 195°F to 205°F --- 90°C to 96°C

Filtered water is also less important since black tea tastes strong but it might make your tea a little bit healthier.

Use a high-quality strainer for loose-leaf black tea.

It's easy to find a simple, metal ball infuser for loose-leaf tea at a grocery store. However, we think grocery store steepers are usually inadequate for a few reasons:

  • They're difficult to open and close.
  • They sometimes don't stay closed, which causes tea leaves to accidentally spill into your drink.
  • They only hold a very small amount of tea.
  • They're not fine enough, which causes tea leaves to accidentally leech into the water.

For this reason we highly recommend the Stainless-Steel Mesh Finum Brewing Basket. It holds more tea than you'll ever need, fits perfectly over a tea cup, doesn't require opening/closing, and can handle finer tea leaves than grocery store steepers. It even makes half-decent cold-brew coffee.

When in doubt, go with popular, pre-flavored tea.

Here's a few of our favorite, reasonably priced black teas:

Looking to make other types of tea taste good?

Check out some of our other guides on making tea taste better:

Trying to eat healthier but craving food that tastes better?

Try our free Diet Optimizer Quiz and get quick, customized ideas like:

  • Healthier options than soda that taste better than water.
  • Alternatives to french fries, potato chips, or other fried foods.
  • How to get your chocolate fix without the junk ingredients in candy bars.
Last Updated