Growing up in the South black tea was part of my daily routine. We all make sweet tea with Lipton black tea bags. When I got a bit older I always would buy Celestial Seasonings tea bags and have a cup before I went to bed. When I met my husband, he told me that he wanted to make me some tea the way they drink it in Saudi and later on he came out with a cup of mint tea that I fell in love with. Seriously still to this day I make me a cup at the end of the day.
Before moving to Saudi I had never used loose tea before, since it is not that popular in the states not a lot of places sell it that way. We Americans like to do things the easy way so tea bags just worked. My mother in law and every other Saudi uses loose tea to make the daily tea and she taught me how to do it the same way. At first I was reluctant since I had never used it and was afraid I would use too much or too less, but now after using loose tea for years I could never go back to the bags.
After researching a bit about tea, I learned that they put all the leftover junk into the tea bags so you’re not getting good quality like you would with loose tea. The two most popular teas here in Saudi are Lipton and Rabea tea. For the longest time I used Lipton since it was what I was used to, but from what I see most Saudis prefer Rabea even my mother in law. I bought a few boxes of loose tea and the difference was quite noticeable as you see. Rabea is high quality for sure and my favorite. I will be using it from now on.
About a year ago I bought an electric kettle and it’s the best thing ever. I suggest if you do not have one to run out an get one soon. They make things so much simpler in the kitchen, and they also make great tea. You will need 1 teaspoon of loose black tea per every 8 ounces of water. I use an iron teapot that my mammaw bought me years ago and it has a tea sieve that fits into it. So all I have to do is add tea and mint if I’m using it and then pour hot water on the top and allow to steep. Some people say to steep black tea for only a few minutes, but I always go with 5 since I like mine stronger.
If you’re curious about steeping other teas here is a chart and a few golden tea rules.