If there is one tea that rules the world of teas, it is undoubtedly the Black Tea. It is more popular around the western part of the world with black tea being an absolute favourite when compared to other teas. Black tea is consumed in different forms around the world; from regular black tea to iced tea, morning breakfast tea to evening time tea and the list keeps going. With black tea being widely consumed all over the world, there are many facets of this beverage and this is everything you need to know about Black Tea.
HISTORY OF BLACK TEA
Although Black tea is widely popular in the west, Black tea was first discovered in the eastern part of the world. The Asian community has widely consumed tea for ages. Tea is a crucial part of their lifestyle and culture. Tea originated in the lands of China and was consumed for its medicinal and healing properties. Over the years, tea spread over nearby countries and created a landmark. This led to the cultural consumption of tea. Tea has become a symbol of cultural hierarchies and communities since then, especially in the Asian continent.
The periods of colonisation and imperialism swept away the significant tokens of cultures and tea was one such beverage that was exported to European countries in the late 19th century. Black tea from China, India and Ceylon were exported and became a crowd-pleaser in the European continent. The influence of Black tea is still anchored strongly in the continent with tea being the most popular beverage in the United Kingdom.
WHAT MAKES BLACK TEA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TEA?
Tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis AKA the tea plant. Although every tea we drink comes from the same plant, the method of cultivation and oxidation is what brings variety into the tea game. The time rate and the intensity of oxidation are also influential in the colour of the tea.
Black tea is completely oxidised and this results in the dark copper colour of the beverage along with the robust flavour. The tea leaves are completely oxidised followed by heat-processing and drying. With the intensity of oxygen coming into contact with the leaves, the tea is filled with hints of robust, full-bodied, smoky flavours with rich and bright copper colour while brewing.
Other teas like Green Tea and White Tea are oxidised for lesser periods of time hence the vast difference in the flavour and colour. They are much suitable for woody and mellow beverages while Black tea can give you the hit of caffeine and energy.
TYPES OF BLACK TEA
The types of black tea are based on the kind of processing method of the leaves. The two most popular types are the loose tea leaves and the Crush Tear Curl (CTC).
LOOSE TEA - The tea leaves are plucked, dried and processed as whole leaves. The leaves are rolled and sent for oxidation which gives it a strong flavour and colour. Tea leaves are much stronger in flavour as the whole leaves are kept whole. This method of processing takes more time and involves brewing for a long time before consumption.
CRUSH TEAR CURL (CTC) - This type of black tea, the tea leaves are crushed into fine pieces for quicker oxidation. The small pieces are convenient to be packed in tea-bags and take less time to brew with optimum flavour. The CTC tea is the regular commercial tea commonly consumed on a daily basis.
BLACK TEA FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD
ASSAM TEA - The tea from the lands of Assam are a trademark on its own and is known as Camellia van assamica. It is known for its brisk, rich and robust taste and is loved by black tea lovers around the world.Assam tea is grown in lowlands near the river throughout the fluctuating cold and rainy season. The first harvest is done in the month of march followed by another harvest during the end of the year. The latter harvest is the time of “Tippy Tea” where the tea is luxurious, rich and sweeter. The tropical regions of Assam have their effects on the tea and its richness and is also a reason why it is the largest tea-growing region in the world.
Assam Tea is the most popular in the world of teas.
CEYLON TEA - Ceylon Black Tea is a symbol of cultural heritage in Sri Lanka. Ceylon tea is the fourth most widely sold black tea and is savoured by black tea lovers around the world. The tea is brisk with hints of spice and citrus flavours. The taste of Ceylon tea also varies according to the geographic area of the plantation.
DARJEELING TEA - Darjeeling tea is the most popularly brewed Black Tea. The astringency of the tea that is influenced by the Indian and Chinese terrains, helps with the bold and smooth finish of the black tea. Darjeeling Tea is complex and aromatic while being light and fresh.
GOLDEN MONKEY TEA- Black tea from the Chinese province, Golden Monkey Tea gets its name from the resemblance of the leaves to the claws of monkeys. This Black tea is one of the luxurious teas that have a sweet, peach-like flavour while completely lacking astringency. The leaves resemble golden threads that are sensational when brewed well.
KEEMUN TEA - The Keemun Tea also known as qimen, is a type of black tea from Anhui, China. It is known for the subtle fruit-like flavours of stone fruit combined with floral notes of flavour. It is known for being a light and subtle drink while giving off a smoky sense of taste.
LAPSANG SOUCHONG - This black tea is unique in its own ways and has a very intrinsic flavour. The tea leaves are smoked-dried over a pinewood fire. The double smoking process gives the tea a complex smokey flavour while not being too bitter. Lapsang Souchong is a well balanced black tea and is from the mountain ranges of Fujian in China.
KENYAN TEA - Kenyan Black Tea is one of the most popular black teas in the world. The tea is similar to the Assam Black Tea in taste and also has a bold and brisk flavour. The taste is very distinct and rich flavour is owed to the mineral-filled Kenyan soil that influences the taste of the tea.
POPULAR BLACK TEA BLENDS
EARL GREY TEA - A classic in the world of black teas, there is nothing that can go wrong with an Earl Grey Tea. Commonly made with the Keemun Tea, the infusion of Bergamot Oil gives the tea a complex citrus flavour that has grown popular among tea lovers. The Earl Grey Tea is one of the widely sold black teas and is in constant demand. Along with the tea, the flavour of Earl Grey has gained a following with the introduction of Earl Grey flavoured baked goods like cakes and chocolates.
MASALA CHAI - The Masala Chai is a revolution on its own. The blend is made of Assam black tea with an infusion of many spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, star anise and other spices. Masala Chai is a staple drink of India and is loved with milk. The Black tea is spicy, well balanced and has a refreshing end to it.
ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA - A staple beverage of the English, this black tea is a blend of Assam Black tea. It is widely consumed with the addition of milk and sugar. The English Breakfast Tea is a treasured staple in the English land and has been a practice for the past centuries.
TIPPY ASSAM HANDMADE TEA - An orthodox black tea from Assam, the tippy handmade tea is a luscious and luxurious, handpicked and hand rolled to extract the fine and smooth taste of the tippy leaves. Aromatic and sweet, Tippy Black teas are wondrous in every way.
PHANAP/KHALAP - Heritage Tea from the lands of Assam, Phanap is the cultural token of teas. Traditionally dried, fried and smoked in bamboo cylinders, the black tea is filled with bold and ancient flavours. Phanap is one among the ancient teas that influenced communities and still live up to their name to this day.
BENEFITS OF BLACK TEA
Black tea consists of a bundle of benefits. It is refreshing yet filled with many vital properties that repair our body. Black tea is loaded with antioxidants,helps in cell-repair and prevents long term chronic diseases.
- IMPROVES HEART HEALTH - The polyphenols in the black tea help in preventing heart attacks while lowering the cholesterol levels that can affect the heart. Consuming black tea has been proved to improve heart health and overall cardiovascular health.
- CONTROLS SUGAR LEVELS - The presence of flavonoids has been found to decrease the risk of diabetes in consumers. It helps in controlling insulin and glycemic levels.
- LOWERS RISK OF CANCER - Black tea is said to have anti-carcinogenic properties due to the presence of theaflavins and thearubigins. The studies show that these compounds may prevent cancer growth.
IS THERE CAFFEINE IN BLACK TEA?
Black tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The presence of caffeine in tea is natural. Although the intensity of the caffeine content fluctuates on the basis of oxidation, Black tea contains 15-70mg of caffeine in a cup of tea made with one tea bag. This level of caffeine is natural and stimulates concentration while helping you focus. Hence Black teas are refreshing and help in stimulating concentration.
THE BEST WAY TO MAKE BLACK TEA
Black tea is a work of art and brewing it in the right manner can change your life for the good. While brewing the tea plays a vital role, steeping time is also crucial to make the perfect black tea. The perfect cup of black tea is brewed in hot water of 200- 210 degrees for 3-4 minutes.
The addition of lemon can give the black tea a zesty twist. If you love milk, then add a dash of milk to your black tea with the right blends.
The rise of Black tea is a testimony of its beauty. Black teas are indeed a part of nature and bring you the touch of purity. A beverage like Black tea is a source of solace during difficult times and helps to bring you one step closer to a touch of nature. And that is what makes Black tea the best beverage in the world.