How To Make Black Tea Taste Better

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Black Tea can be harsh for some people. It is a strong drink. Depending on what type of black tea you are drinking some people might find it much too strong.

So how do you get the overall great taste of black tea and still make it drinkable for just about anyone?

In short.

How To Make Black Tea Taste Better? There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. From Proper preparation to adding another flavor of tea to your black tea. Adding an herb or flower or other ingredients that can add to the flavor of the black tea.

Let’s take a look at 17 great ways to make this fine beverage more palatable for anyone who thinks it’s too strong and too bitter.

Or for people who love the taste of black tea and just want to spice things up a bit and try new flavors. There is a little something for everyone on this list.

If you are interested in a great black tea to use as a base for these flavor infusions then I recommend Buddha Teas Organic Loose Leaf Darjeeling Tea.

Let’s get into it.

black tea white cup

Use The Right Water Temperature

Right off the bat is one of the most important and often overlooked aspects of making a great cup of tea. The water temperature. You must keep it within an appropriate range for steeping your tea.

Some teas, like some of my favorite green teas, require the water temperature to be well below boiling to avoid a bitter brew.

Black Tea is much less delicate than more of the other teas. But even the hardy black tea needs to have a water temperature below boiling in order to make a good cup of tea.

Every black tea is going to be different and everyone’s taste is going to be different. However, as a general rule, you should not go above 200°F for your black tea. Around 93 or so degrees Celcius.

Use The Right Water

The water you use to brew your tea is going to play a huge part in the overall taste of your tea.

Tap water is going to kill any chance you have of making a decent cup of tea most of the time. Unless of course, you have filtered your tap water as suggested by the Tea Association of The USA, then you might be ok.

Mineral water and distilled water will also affect the overall taste of your black tea. so you will want to avoid those as well.

Springwater and filtered tap water are your best options for getting the perfect flavor from your black tea.

The Right Steep Time

Just as the steep temperature is crucial to a good cup of tea, so is the time you steep for. Black Tea typically calls for longer steep times.

This is only a general rule and you should be sure to check the time for each type of black tea you intend to brew.

Many black teas can be steeped for up to 5 minutes in order to draw out the full flavor of the heavily oxidized black tea leaves.

Other black teas can get a perfect brew at around 3 minutes. Still much longer than many of my favorite green, white, or oolong teas.

The Flavors

So you made the perfect cup of black tea. Steeped at the right temperature. Check. The right amount of time? Check. You used the perfect spring water, too.

But it is still not what you want. The flavor just isn’t right for you. Nothing to be ashamed about. Different tastes for different people.

Don’t worry. I have you covered. Here are some flavors you can add to your black tea to make it the best it can be for your tastes.

Many of these flavors add no calories or sugar to your black tea. You can read more about the benefits of unsweetened black tea in this article I wrote.


Vanilla is another classic addition to a cup of black tea. You can add a couple of drops of imitation vanilla flavoring to your tea and it will be a decent cup of vanilla black tea.

But it won’t quite be the real thing. For that, you are going to need to find the best vanilla beans you can and cut them up yourself.

Add the chopped beans to your loose leaf black tea and store it in an airtight container for a few weeks.

The vanilla will infuse itself with the tea and you will have a tin full of this flavorful vanilla tea. Use it whenever you need a delicious pick-me-up.


Another classic additive for black tea. Throw a couple of mint leaves into your single cup of tea to get a cool, refreshing jolt to your tea.

But drop some mint into your steeping pitcher of iced black tea and you have a southern classic.

Even without dumping a ton of sugar into your iced tea, the mint will be a great addition that adds a new layer of flavor to your tea.

You can also find mint-flavored black tea prepackaged in most stores. It tastes fine, but try making it yourself a few times just to compare the two.

I think you will like the homemade mint black tea much better.


The old standby when it comes to black tea. Whether its a nice cup of hot English breakfast or a pitcher of southern iced tea, lemon has become synonymous with black tea.

So adding a squeeze will cut through the bitterness and add a nice citrusy flavor to your cup of black tea.

You can find black tea pre-flavored with this citrus delight. However, nothing beats a nice fresh lemon wedge hung delicately on the side of your cup waiting to be added to your delicious beverage.

The classics are often the best.


Cloves might not be the first thing you think of when trying to add flavor to your black tea.

But they are a very potent and popular addition to a variety of black teas. Most spiced teas use cloves as a base ingredient.

This flavor is critical to recipes for drinks like Russian Tea(source). But even on its own, you can add a new layer of flavor to your black tea by simply adding it to a steeping kettle of black tea.


Cinnamon is another great flavor to add to your black tea. It is particularly popular around the holidays.

It has a nice little spicy note on your black tea and really helps to warm you up on cold winter nights.

It can be as simple as adding a cinnamon stick to your black tea as a stirrer. But for a more potent and complete cinnamon flavor, you can infuse your tea with this wonderful flavor as your steep it.

You can also find cinnamon black tea prepackaged, similar to many other flavors on this list. I always suggest making it fresh, however.


Cardamom is not the first spice you would think of when adding a new flavor to your black tea. However, it is one of the most complex that you can find.

It combines a number of flavors. It is a little spicy, like cinnamon, a little citrusy and minty. It has a somewhat licorice flavor to it as well. As you can tell it is a tough one to describe.

It can be quite expensive as well so save it for special occasions and use it sparingly.

Green cardamom, in particular, is very expensive. you can find some fantastic cardamom black teas from a variety of vendors online.

This is probably the best way to try it out. But you can make your own if you want it to be as fresh as possible. And it comes with a ton of its own health benefits (source).


Ginger is a popular infusion all by itself. It has a ton of health benefits. It can add to the already wonderful benefits of black tea.

But it can also add to the flavor of your black tea. Ginger is pretty spicy and adds a refreshing tingle to your black tea. It is not hot but it does add some kick to the proceedings.

You will find ginger tea by itself as well as a flavoring for all types of other teas. Including Black tea at your grocery store. But I recommend just adding a couple of slices of ginger to your water when you boil it.

Then pour the ginger-infused water over your black tea of choice and steep as usual. This will give you the best ginger black tea you could possibly hope for.


Black peppercorns another flavor additive for your black tea. Many people often overlook this flavoring. Black pepper adds a bit of kick to your black tea.

Giving it a nice peppery taste to go along with the traditional taste of a good black tea.

In fact, black peppercorns are being used to make their own tea. Steep the Peppercorns in water and have your own pepper tea. But as an added flavor to existing black tea.

It creates a wonderful flavor combination. It still retains all the benefits of both the peppercorn and the black tea. Definitely, a tea that you can try in your house at any time.

If you have either full fabric ones or even a little bit of pepper to put in the mix. It is one I highly recommend trying.


Here’s another herb that many people used to steep a cup of herbal tea with. Using Rosemary has the base and pouring hot water over it gives you a delicious tea in its own right.

Adding a little Rosemary tea loose leaf black tea is going to increase the flavor potential. It gives it a nice Rosemary flavor.

Almost Floral. The exact flavor is a little bit tricky. Rosemary has such an interesting flavor profile. It is hard to describe. It’s one of my favorite herbs and night use any excuse I can find to put it on to whatever I’m cooking.

And sprinkling a few freshly chopped pieces into your black tea brings a whole new level of flavor complexity to it.


Lime another great citrus fruit that pairs well with black tea. Just like it’s sister fruit the lemon. This green delight cuts through any bitterness that might be left in the tea. It’s another well-liked classic addition to black tea.

Even without any added sugar, the Citrus notes complement the black tea well. They make for a delightful and refreshing cup of tea.

Whether it’s a hot cup or a nice picture of Iced tea. The results are the same, a fantastic flavor combination


Mixing a bit of cocoa powder into your cup of black tea is always a little bonus. Especially around the holidays.

It gives your tea a bit of a cocoa flavor but not too overwhelming. Depending on how much you put in of course.

Another fun little thing to do its melt a little bit of some premium dark chocolate in your tea while it steeps.

A Splash of Liquor

There isn’t too much that is going to add more flavor to your black tea than a nice little splash of some type of alcohol.

Are there it’s a shot of bourbon or a little bit of rum is going to kick everything up.
My personal preference is a nice shot of rum in a cup of black.

The rum gives it a bit of a tropical feel to it and is very refreshing from my perspective. And of course, keep in mind that this will add calories to the black tea.

That’s not to say that you can’t put bourbon or whiskey or whatever you want into it they’re all great. Just remember to be of the proper age and drink responsibly.


This flavor additive definitely adds some calories to your cup of black tea. But it does make a good sugar substitute.

My personal preference is to never add sugar or a sweetener to my tea. But many people have to use one to make their tea palatable to their tastes.

Honey is great for that. It dissolves nicely and gives you that characteristic sweetness that compliments a black tea well.

Make You Black Tea Your Own

There are hundreds, if not thousands of flavors that you could add to your black tea. These are just a few of the more popular and interesting ones.

Be sure to experiment with anything you think might be a flavor combination for your black tea.

Just about any herb, seed or root could be added if you were so inclined. Some of them may be horrible but you never know until you give them a try.

So go forth my fellow tea explorers and find those unique flavors that can take your great cup of black tea to the next level.

Or simply make your black tea taste better.

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day.