When the word tea comes in, most of us would probably think of iced tea, sweet tea, sun tea, or afternoon tea. Well, they are some of the most famous tea flavors around the world, and they are all made from black tea. In fact, even the famous Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea blends are made from black tea leaves. That’s why we are going to find out more about black tea, from its origins to its benefits.
According to some stories, the black tea was created when a passing army entered the Fujian province and decided to take a break at a shelter that is located nearby a tea factory. The army slowed down the production of the tea company, and the workers left the leaves out in the sun, which oxidized them and became darker leaves and created the black tea. The Chinese then started to trade the black tea, and the Westerners called it red teas. Then, the Dutch got impressed by the fact that the lifespan of the tea improved over time. So they decided to bring the black tea to Europe in 1610 and England in 1658. The British demand for black tea quickly grew, and they started to explore several ways of acquiring black tea. They then discovered a similar tea plant called camellia sinensis assamica which can be cultivated by machine in India. It took the western tea industry to a whole new level and reshaped everyone’s perception of the importance of black tea today.
Characteristics of Black Tea
Generally, black tea tastes bolder, more vibrant, and bolder compared to white tea and green tea. The color of the black tea can range from red to dark brown when brewed. Its flavor can vary from sweet to savory depending on how the tea was heat processed and how long it was oxidized. Compared to white tea and green tea, black tea has more bitterness and sharpness. If it is brewed the right way, it can deliver a smooth and flavorful experience.
Types of Black Tea
Today, black tea is processed and grown all across the globe in different climates and geographies. The three most prominent producers of black tea are Africa, Sri Lanka, and India. But according to statistics, almost half of the world’s tea is produced in India. And these are the most popular types of black tea:
Darjeeling – The Darjeeling tea is a more herbaceous and softer type of black tea. This black tea can change from season to season along with the climate. This is often used as a tea base for India’s popular spiced drink, Chai.
Assam – Assam is India’s most extensive tea growing region in the world. It’s rainy and tropical climate produces tea leaves that taste malty and bold that stands out when mixed with milk and sugar.
Ceylon – Today, a large part of Sri Lanka’s economy depends on its half a million-acre of tea gardens that can be found in different locations that range from mountainous and cold places to tropical and humid sites. And much of Sri Lanka’s tea export is the black tea or what they call the Ceylon tea. The taste of this black tea depends on where they grow, but in general, Ceylon tea has a brisk and robust flavor that has a hint of spice.
Kenyan – The production of this black tea started in the early 1900s. Kenya is a fast learner when it comes to the tea business. Today, Kenya is the leading tea producer region in Africa. The Kenyan black tea is known for its full-bodied and assertive taste.
Benefits of Black Tea
Here are the different benefits of black tea:
- Black tea has antioxidant properties – Drinking black tea can help decrease cell damage and remove free radicals in our body. Black tea contains polyphenols, which is a type of antioxidant that is usually found in foods and beverages.
- Black tea can help boost heart health – Consuming black tea every day can help reduce risk of heart disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and high triglyceride levels in the body.
- Black tea can help improve gut health – Black tea has antimicrobial properties that eliminate harmful substances and improve your intestine’s immunity by repairing the lining of your digestive tract. As we mentioned, black tea contains polyphenols, which also help promote the growth of good bacteria and eliminate harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
- Black tea can help lower blood sugar levels – Black tea can help improve insulin levels in the body, and research shows that it helps lower blood sugar levels.
- It can help reduce stress – Research shows that black tea contains amino acid L-theanine, which enables you to relax and concentrate better. Not only does black tea allows you to relax after a long and tiring day, but it also helps reduce stress hormones when consumed daily in moderate amounts.