Black tea is the most familiar type of tea on the market and the most consumed in the Western World.
When people with a British heritage ask for tea, they usually expect a black tea with milk whereas, in the USA, tea is more associated with sweet tea or iced tea.
Made with black tea, you might be familiar with the most famous of blends, English Breakfast and Classic Earl Grey that are drunk across the Western world.
This is in complete contrast to Eastern cultures. In China and Japan, where 'tea' typically refers to green tea, and most tea consumed is either at home or with friends at their homes rather than out in cafes.
So why is black tea the primary choice for Westerns? It's a strong brew that is heavily oxidised, with a browny black appearance and when brewed has an amber/red liquor. In the west black teas account for nearly 90% of all tea sales plus its brewed with water close to boiling point so you can fit in a chat with a friend while it cools down ready to be drunk.
Most tea drinking people turn to black tea in the morning as a bit of a 'pick–me–up' drink because of its high caffeine content, as either an alternative to coffee or sometimes before a coffee to help regulate coffees acidity.
Black tea is an excellent choice for a morning cuppa or a midday pick-me-up, due to its strength and caffeine levels but beware, having a black tea late in the evening can be counterproductive to good sleep.
As a pioneer of Ceylons tea industry James Taylor once said in so few words that sum it up well "Tea is health." Here are just some of the benefits black tea has:
- High levels of antioxidants (polyphenols) that can help protect your cells from DNA damage ª
- Reduced risk of some types of cancer, such as ovarian cancer
- Lower risks of diabetes, high cholesterol, kidney stones, and Parkinson's disease ª
- Tannins in tea help fight viruses such as influenza "the flu."
- Black tea also contains alkylamine antigens, which help boost immune response.
In short, as a healthy beverage in moderation, black tea can become part of a healthier lifestyle and alternative to other drinks when paired with a balanced diet and exercise. There is no wonder that it is one of the most popular beverages in the world and second only to water.
A few tips:
When brewing black tea at home turn the jug off before the water boils or let the jug cool for 5 minutes before using the water to brew the tea with. You should note a smoother/sweeter black tea by doing this.
If you want a stronger cup of tea, add more tea leaves to the cup rather than brewing it longer. This is so you don't end up extracting too many of the bitter tannins that then needs milk to help smooth it out.
Try black tea without milk, you might be pleasantly surprised!
The larger the dried tea leaf the more flavour it has as there is less surface area for the volatile oils to dissipate, this results in a flavour full cup of tea that isn't as strong as more broken leaf black teas.
Try adding a squeeze of lemon or a slice to your next cup, the lemon will help to reduce the pH of the liquor which will result in a lighter brew with a lively taste.
Check out our black teas we blend and source