Black Tea Facts – Learn About Your Favorite Tea
Black tea, the foundation of the tea world in Western culture. Sweet tea, sun tea, iced tea, morning tea, or afternoon tea, these are all types of black teas made popular in the West.
To contrast, Eastern culture, leans more towards the green tea variations. Why the difference? And what even is the difference between black and green tea (and so many others)? Read on to find out these answers and learn more black tea facts!
Black tea, a sibling to green, oolong, pu’erh, and white teas! Why? They all come from the Camellia sinensis plant! The Camellia sinensis plant gets it origins from China and other Asian countries.
As people began discovering the deliciousness of steeping these wonderful leaves, the warm beverage began to explode across Asia, and then neighboring cultures, across seas and the whole world!
While many Asian cultures are known for their love for and art of green tea, black tea became huge in further cultures. Why? It was soon discovered that due to the processing of black tea, the leaves actually lasted longer in transit.
Most black tea was harvested and processed in China and shipped around the world in the 1600s! You may be thinking, but the UK and Europe is so well-known for its black tea consumption, what’s the deal with that?!
In 1610 black tea was introduced to Europe via the Dutch and soon after expanded to England in 1658. A snowball effect occurred and the Americas soon followed suit in the 1700s. When England began really growing in the sugar industry this only added to the whole black tea boom! Black tea has a more bitter taste to it than that of the delicate green tea. So as the sugar industry boomed in England, so did the black tea industry!
Nowadays black tea is huge in the Americas, the United Kingdom, India and many more places! Now one of the largest producers of black tea is India!
While variations on where the Camellia sinensis plant is grown and when the leaves are harvested are important to the overall kind and taste of tea, the biggest factor is the processing of the tea. If you understand how the leaves are processed, then you can understand so much more about the tea!
What exactly makes the black tea process different from all the other teas? Well it all (well mostly) comes down to oxidation! Oxidation is the magic ingredient to the tea types. Oxidation is the step of subjecting the tea leaves to oxygen and allowing the oxygen to chemically react for a certain amount of time. Each tea requires zero to full oxidation and anywhere in between!
Black tea is processed one of two ways, orthodox or non-orthodox/CTC (Crush-Tear-Curl).
Orthodox: This is the normal process of making tea, as described below. It is more time-consuming than the CTC process, but results in a more authentic and smoother tea.
Non-Orthodox/CTC: This has the same steps as orthodox tea, but prior to beginning the of the process the tea leaves are cut into finer pieces. This is to expedite the oxidation process and create greater yields. This typically results in a bolder and darker taste in the tea. It also is common for bagged teas due to the ease of bagging the leaves over orthodox.
Overall, there are 4 steps to process black tea for both orthodox and CTC:
- Withering: Post harvesting of the leaves, they are set out in the sun to begin to shrivel and wither.
- Rolling: After they have reached their desired withering level, the leaves are rolled and bruised to begin the oxidation process. This also shapes the leaves which alters the final flavor.
- Oxidizing: The leaves are then laid out in a cool room and exposed to oxygen to allow full oxidation to occur. This process ultimately gives black tea the robustness that it has. This process takes several hours.
- Drying: Finally, the leaves are taken and dried. This halts the oxidation process and reduces the moisture in the leaves so that they will last longer.
Black tea is currently grown and produced all around the world. This ultimately results in different types of black tea! Below is a list of black tea types:
- Assam: This is an Indian tea from the Assam region. It has a bold and malty flavor and mixes well with milk and sugar.
- Darjeeling: This is also an Indian tea grown in a smaller more mountainous region. It is a softer and more herbaceous than the Assam tea.
- Ceylon: This is a tea from Sri Lanka. It is known for its strong and brisk flavor with hints of spice, like cinnamon.
- Kenyan: This tea obviously, or not so obvious, comes from Kenya. This tea is known for its bold and full-bodied taste.
- Congou: This is from the Fujian province of China. This toasty tea is smooth and sweet, almost comparable to unsweetened baked apples.
There are also blends of black teas that are very popular! Those are listed below:
- English Breakfast: This is a blend of several black tea, most predominantly Ceylon.
- Irish Breakfast: This is a blend of several black tea, most predominantly Assam.
- Earl Grey: This is a straight black tea flavored and scented with the oil of bergamont. Bergamont adds a citrus like flavor to this dark tea.
- English Afternoon: This is a blend of Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan tea. This produces a medium bodied, lighter tea.
- Masala Chai: This is a Darjeeling tea steeped with spices including cardamon, cinnamon, clove, star anise, and more!
Pick up your black tea from Buddha Teas black tea selection here!
Other Quick Facts
Here are some more black tea facts!
- There is typically about 40 – 70mg of caffeine per serving.
- Black tea has a host of health benefits from supporting heart health, boosting gut biome, lowering blood pressure, and more!
- A British person consumes 265 Liters of black tea per year, spending about $16,500 in their lifetime.
- The worlds black tea production is expected to grow by 2.9% annually resulting in 4.17 million tons by 2023.
- One study found drinking black tea for 12 weeks reduced triglyceride values by 36% and blood sugar levels by 17%.
- Drinking black tea for 3 months may significantly reduce your LDL cholesterol if you are hypercholesterolemia.
- So much more!
The Magic of Black Tea
Black tea, while one of the most popular in the United Kingdom, actually originated in China! It has spread to all cultures across the world including the Americas, India, UK and more!
Of all the Camellia sinensis teas, it has the longest oxidation process which results in its dark, bold flavors.
Due to its popularity across the world, there are so many varieties out there including, but not limited to Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon and more!
If you want to get some of the amazing black tea benefits for yourself, try Buddha Teas black tea by clicking here!
Let us know in the comments below what your favorite black tea fact is!