What is Black Tea? - Complete guide
What is black tea?
When it comes to tea, it’s hard to go wrong with Black Tea. One of the most well-loved blends in Western culture, Black Tea is a popular drink. Made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, Black Tea is the basis of many popular teas, such as English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey Tea. All tea (besides herbal tea) is made from this plant.
There are two varieties of Camellia sinensis used for tea, Camellia Sinensis (Sinensis), which originates from China and Camellia Sinensis (Assamica), which is native to the Assam region in India. Most Black Tea is made from Camellia Sinensis assamica. The Camellia Sinensis assamica tea variety became famous in 1823 and is now the most popular variety of Black Tea.
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Black Tea health benefits
Black tea has antioxidants
Black Tea has many fantastic health benefits to offer those who partake of its tasty brew. First, antioxidants contribute a significant amount of health benefits to those who drink Black Tea. Not only can antioxidants fight off free radicals, but they can also defend against viruses and microbes. Free radicals are single oxygen atoms that negatively affect your health by attacking other molecules within the body. During this attack, cellar damage can occur, which may have long-lasting repercussions.
Black tea for your hair and skin
Besides fighting off free radicals, antioxidants can improve skin health and assist with heart health. Heart health is a substantial benefit of Black Tea. Someone who is not familiar with Black Tea might be surprised to hear that the drink can do many great things for their heart. Black Tea is packed with naturally occurring saponins, which can help to lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. By lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), Black Tea may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood vessel function.
Improved digestion with black tea
Next, Black Tea has been shown to aid digestion in some. Due to the tannins found in the brew, Black Tea has been known to soothe intestinal activity and aid in digestion, leading to it being a popular choice for those suffering from chronic stomach-related disorders, such as Crohn's, IBS, IBD, or ulcerative colitis.
Caffeine without the crash
If you're not a coffee drinker but are still looking for a daily dose of caffeine, Black Tea may be the perfect drink. Containing anywhere from 45 to 70mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup, Black Tea is one of the most caffeinated teas that you can enjoy, and it typically doesn't result in the stomach discomfort associated with coffee. Plus, Black Tea not only gives you physical energy but mental as well, helping to wake up both your mind and body in the morning or during your midday slump.
Black tea helps prevent cancer
Another surprising benefit of Black Tea? It's potential for fighting off cancerous cells. That's right! The same saponins that have been shown to help with lowering cholesterol partnered with the rich abundance of antioxidants in the drink have the potential to fight against cancerous cells and potentially limit the growth of dangerous tumors.
Boost your immunity with black tea
The same tannins we spoke of concerning Black Tea, which helped to aid in digestion, can also boost the immune system. The natural tannins and antigens found in Black Tea can work to boost the immune system, helping your body to fight off common ailments.
Black tea vs. stress
And lastly, Black Tea is a great drink to choose if you're looking for a tea that can help with stress relief. By lowering the stress hormones naturally produced by your body throughout the day, Black Tea may reduce stress in those who drink it. It is due to a natural concentration of EGCG antioxidants that allows for Black Tea to affect those who consume it regularly.
Where does black tea come from?
Tea is widely known to come from China, with both green tea and semi-oxidized oolong tea were the most popular. What westerners know as black tea is called red tea in China. Traditional black tea in China is known as fermented tea (Pu-Erh). Black tea was favored by Europeans due to its ability to retain its flavor for years - making black tea an excellent trade item.
In 1610, the Dutch brought black tea to Europe, later arriving in England in 1658. Black tea was known to improve concentration and health and was enjoyed by royal families and the common folk alike. During the 1700s, demand for Black Tea grew immensely. When the Camellia Sinensis (assamica) plant was discovered in India, Black Teas production exploded, allowing tea growers to create a wider variety of teas with bolder flavor.
How is black tea made?
Black Tea traditionally goes through a five step process:
Picking: Black Tea leaves must be picked. The bud and top leaves are selected, and then they are sorted for uniformity.
Withering: Once the leaves are plucked, passive oxidation begins, and the leaves are left out to wither. The leaves wilt and soften; this prepares them for rolling.
Rolling: Either by machine or hand, the leaves are shaped by rolling them. This process wrings out juices and helps facilitate oxidation. When the leaves are rolled, the cell walls are broken apart, hastening oxidation, just like when you cut an apple open, and it browns faster than if you hadn’t cut it.
Oxidation: To make Black Tea, the tea leaves must be oxidized. Oxidized is just a fancy way of saying that the leaves wither after they are picked as they are exposed to oxygen. In this chemical reaction, the leaves darken to a black or brown color. Oxidation can be controlled by adjusting the room temperature, and it is stopped by exposing the leaves to heat (steaming, pan-frying, or baking). Fun Fact: Black tea gets its name because of the dark color of the leaves, but in the East, what we call Black Tea is considered red tea. This is because the tea often steeps into a reddish color.
Firing: The final step is firing the leaves. Firing stops oxidation and removes moisture from the leaves. The finished loose leaf Black Tea is then ready to be enjoyed.
What does black tea taste like?
There are a wide variety of flavors that you can get from our different Black Teas. Usually savory, you will experience full-bodied flavors from sweet and malty to peppery and smoky.
Our blends use the base of Black Tea and build on it with premium herbs and spices, giving a fresh and unforgettable experience with each sip.
Is black tea acidic?
Black tea has some acidity but is less acidic than coffee.
Is black tea caffeinated?
Black tea is one of the most caffeinated teas you can drink. Depending on how strong the tea is, there can be 45 to 70mg of caffeine per 8 oz. The average cup of coffee can have around 100mg of caffeine.
Differences between black and green tea
Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea. The main difference between black and green tea is oxidization; black tea is oxidized, and green tea is not. Research has shown that black tea has fewer antioxidants than green tea. Lastly, black tea has a stronger taste than green tea.
Where to buy black tea
Black tea can be found online! Shameless plug: but as of writing this, we sell 15 different types of black teas. We’re USDA certified organic, and our products are vegan and free of GMO’s. To top it all off, we have over 10,000 positive reviews, so feel free to try us out! However, if you’re more of an in-store person (we totally get that), you can find loose leaf black tea at any organic or wellness store such as Whole Foods.
How to brew black tea
Add 1 tsp of Black Tea to an infuser or our Drawstring Tea Bags. Let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes in 8 oz of boiling, filtered water. After the tea is finished steeping, be it our Organic Masala Chai Tea or any of our other blends, remove the tea leaves from the liquid and enjoy!
If you're looking to make your brewing experience more accessible or more enjoyable, we have a few tea accessories that can improve your entire Black Tea experience. First, if you want something that will allow you to make your favorite Black Tea while on the go, then we recommend you check out our Full Leaf Vacuum Flask Tea Infuser. This unique brewing device was created to keep your tea hot all day, regardless of exterior temperature or time. With an infuser that secures inside the bottle, this specialty Vacuum Flask Tea Infuser is perfect for on the go.
To round out your brewing needs, we also offer Natural Paper Drawstring Tea Bags that are made from durable and natural fibers, as well as our Full Leaf Signature Leaf Infuser, which has a unique design perfect for casual and permanent tea consumers alike.