What is Black Tea?
Black tea is a variety of tea that comes from the Camelia sinensis plant. Other teas, including oolong, green, yellow, and white tea also come from this plant, however, what makes black tea unique is that black tea is the only tea that is completely oxidised.
This means that the molecules in the tea leaf react with oxygen, and this is what gives the leaves a rich, robust, malty taste, and gives black tea its signature full-bodied flavour and smooth aroma.
Black tea originated in China in the mid 17th century. It was the first type of tea to be introduced to Europe and it has continued to gain popularity ever since to become the most popular type of tea in the west.
How Is Black Tea Made?
- Mature tea leaves are picked from the Camelia sinensis plant.
- The leaves are laid on racks to dry out for several hours in a process called withering.
- The leaves are then rolled in large drums to trigger the oxidation process.
- During oxidation, enzymes in the leaves react with oxygen, turning the leaves brown and altering their taste.
- Finally, the leaves are dried, sorted, and packed, ready to be brewed, drank, and enjoyed.
Black Tea Varieties
There are many different varieties of black tea that are produced across the globe, each with its own unique flavour and aroma.
Assam - this type of black tea is from Assam in India and has a bold, malty, rich flavour with a refreshing aroma.
Darjeeling - this variety is from the mountainous region of Darjeeling in India and is delicate, fruity, floral, and light.
Ceylon - Ceylon originates from Sri Lanka and has a bold, strong, rich taste with sweet notes and a refreshing citrus aroma.
Keemun - this black tea comes from China and is fruity, mellow, and light with a smooth, floral fragrance.
Lapsang Souchong - this is a type of Chinese black tea that is very strong and smokey with notes of tobacco.
Earl Grey - a black tea blend which infuses black tea with bergamot to give a light, delicate, smooth and refreshing tea with a fragrant, zesty citrus lift.
Masala Chai - a flavoured tea from India made by blending black tea with spices such as cloves, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom.
English Breakfast - black teas are blended to create a British favourite that is strong, full-bodied, robust, rich, smooth, and malty.
How to Brew Black Tea
Boil fresh water to 100°C and pour over the teabag. Leave the teabag to infuse for 5 minutes or longer if desired for a fuller, stronger taste. Once the tea has finished steeping, immediately remove the teabag and stir. Serve with a splash of milk.
Boil fresh water to 100°C. Using an infuser, add 1 teaspoon of tea per person and pour water over the tea leaves. Leave the tea to infuse for 5 to 7 minutes or longer if desired, for a fuller, stronger taste. Once the tea has finished steeping, immediately remove the tea and stir
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