What Is Black Tea?
Black tea, as the Western world is familiar with, is tea leaves that are oxidized not just dried like green tea. Due to this oxidation, the tea leaves turn black hence the nomenclature of “black tea”. The actual tea brew is more red, which is the reason why many Asian cultures refer to these types of teas as “red tea”. For simplicity, we will use the Western reference of “black tea” for what we will be describing here.
Black tea itself, is the type of tea the English have made popular in the world. As oxidized tea leaves retain it’s flavor for many years, unlike regular green tea which will only retain it’s flavor for a year, black tea was commonly used as currency or trade for many years. Black tea also accounts for over 90% of teas sold in the West.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
Black tea, like green tea contains polyphenols and antioxidants. These properties in black and green tea have attributed improved heart conditions, healthy bones, cancer prevention, stress relief, and increased energy. Some things that are unique to black tea is better oral health. Black tea helps reduce plaque formation and restricts bacterial growth that causes cavities. Black tea can also reduce the risk of diabetes, improve your immune system, and improve your digestive system.
Types of Black Tea
|Earl Grey||Named after the 2nd Earl Grey, created in the 1830’s as a tea blend. It is a black tea flavored with bergamont (a citrus fruit). This gives Earl Grey a distinctive citrus aroma and flavor.|
|English Breakfast||A full bodied, robust, and rich tea. Blended tea comprised of Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan. In some more expensive blends Keemun is used. This tea is the most popular in British tea culture and is designed to go well with milk and sugar.|
|Irish Breakfast||Blended tea primarily of Assam teas. It is often served with milk, but can be consumed plain or with sugar.|
|Orange Pekoe||This refers more specifically to a grade of black tea. They are basic, medium-grade black tea consisting of many whole leaves of a specific size. Pekoe is used to describe the unopened terminal leaf buds.||Sri Lanka, India, and others.|
|Darjeeling||Named after Darjeeling district in West Bengal India. Although traditionally classified as a black tea, it is not always completely oxidized due to a hard wither method making them more like an oolong tea than black.|
|Assam||Named after the region it is produced, Assam, India. Known for it’s body, briskness, malty flavor with strong bright color. It is one of the mostly used in “breakfast blends”. This tea is typically grown around sea level.|
|Ceylon||Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon. The humidity, cool temperatures, and rainfall allow for ideal conditions to produce high quality tea. It has a golden color and rich intense flavor.|
|Kenyan||Grown in the nutrient rich volcanic soil in conjunction to the region’s tropical climate, Kenyan tea has it’s own unique flavor and bright color. Processed through the crush, tear, curl method making it most suitable for tea blends.|
|Thai||Locally grown version of Assam known as Bai Miang is used. Orange blossom water, star anise, crushed tamarind seed, other spices and food coloring are added. It is served chilled with condensed milk and sugar.|
|Rize||Used for Turkish tea. Has a dark mahogany taste and is served typically with beet sugar or sugar lumps.|
|Keemun||A popular tea used in western blends from China. It is a light tea that has fruity and smoky notes in aroma and a gentle, malty, unsweetened cocoa taste. May also have orchid or floral notes in flavor.|
|Dianhong||Grown in Yunnan Province, China, is a relatively high-end gourmet black tea. The amount of fine leaf buds present in the dry tea is what differentiates this tea from others. It has a sweet gentle aroma and no astringency.|
|Lapsang Souchong||Also known as zheng shan xiao zhong. This black tea from China is smoked-dried over pinewood fires which produces a distinct smoky flavor.|
|Fujian Red||Name of a collective of teas from Fujian Province. Tanyang Gonfu, Zhenghe Gonfu, and Bailin Gongfu. The tea leaves are produced into thin strips without breaking the leaves themselves.|
|Nepali Tea||Nepali tea is similar to Darjeeling tea because they are grown in similar topographical and climatic regions. Some tea connoisseurs some teas from Nepal to be even better than Darjeeling.|
Black Tea Brewing Instructions
For 1 cup use 1.5 tsp of tea leaves
For 1 pot use 2 tsp of tea leaves
Water should be near boiling for all black teas 95°C – 97°C (203°F – 207°F)
Add water to tea leaves and cover
Brew/steep for 5-7 mins
NOTE: When using milk to tea, have milk in cup before adding tea. Add sugar after.