What is Black Tea?
Black tea is a type of tea produced from the camellia sinensis plant that is highly oxidized, resulting in a dark reddish-gold hue, a hearty, slightly astringent flavor, and a moderate amount of caffeine.
While black, green, oolong, and white teas all originate from the camellia sinensis plant, different varietals of the plant, in addition to different processing techniques, result in very different kinds of tea.
How Black Tea is Made
Black teas are typically produced from two different varieties of the tea plant, camellia sinensis sinensis and camellia sinensis assamica. After the leaves are harvested, they are withered through exposure to air. The leaves are then rolled or crushed, and then oxidized, resulting in a black colored leaf and a higher level of caffeine. The tea is then dried, sorted, and packaged.
Black Tea Health Benefits
Like other teas produced from the camellia sinensis plant, black teas have a wide variety of health benefits, and are a great addition to a balanced diet. Black teas are very high in antioxidants, and help to promote wellness and prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease. Black tea also helps boost the digestive system and nourishes the hair and skin.
Containing a moderate amount of caffeine, as well as the anxiety-fighting chemical l-theanine, black tea can help contribute to clarity, focus, and energy, while also promoting calm and concentration. While everything should be consumed in moderation, research shows that black tea has a wealth of health benefits and is a beneficial addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Chinese Black Tea vs. Indian Black Tea
There are two main categories of black tea, based on the areas in which different teas are grown and produced. Chinese black teas originate in China, where they have a rich history stretching back centuries. Chinese black teas tend to be slightly lighter and milder, and are lovely when taken on their own with no need for milk or sugar. In China, these teas are called “red tea,” with “black tea” referring only to aged and fermented teas such as pu-erh. Chinese black teas include teas like China Keemun, Golden Yunnan, and Lapsang Souchong.
Indian black teas are grown and produced in India, often in famed growing regions like Assam and Darjeeling. Black teas grown in India are typically grown from camellia sinensis assamica, and have a darker, richer, and more full-bodied character. Breakfast blends such as English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast are often made up of Indian black teas. Other teas grown in India include Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri. For those interested in exploring Indian teas, our Star of India is a wonderful introductory tea that blends the Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri together.
Other Classic Black Teas
While India and China remain the two largest exporters of black tea, both historically and in the present day, a variety of other countries also grow and produce premium black teas. Ceylon is a classic black tea grown in Sri Lanka and is similar to an Indian black tea in taste and body, with a bold flavor. Nepalese Gold, produced in Nepal, is a rich and luxurious black tea with notes of honey and stone fruit. Vietnamese Golden Tips, grown in Vietnam, is similar to a Chinese black, and has notes of leather and burnt sugar.
Flavored Black Teas
In addition to our classic black teas, we also carry a carefully cultivated selection of flavored black teas from all over the world. For those looking for a little added spice and sweetness, flavored black teas can be a great way to explore different flavor profiles. Flavored black teas also stand up well to being served over ice, and are great with milk and honey.
We carry classic flavored black teas like Earl Grey and Masala Chai, as well as a variety of other teas including Solstice Spice, Apricot Brandy, and Vanilla Velvet. No matter what kind of tea you’re in the mood for, we’re sure to have a black tea that will suit you!