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Black Tea - The lucky discovery: Going back to the history, origin, and production of Black Tea 

Green and oolong teas had long been dominating the tea market before black tea arrived on the scene. Black tea was not even a product of experimentation and new master blending prior to this. This tea type was a fortunate discovery between the late 16th century and mid-17th century China when the Jianxi army had camped at a nearby area where tea was made in the Wuyi Mountains of the Northern Fujian Province. This unexpected visit caused a delay in the production of tea in the factory and the tea leaves had been left out in the sun for a longer period of time than normal. This brought about the leaves' lengthier oxidation process that produced a dark red color. A farmer was off to rescue the tea leaves and speed up the drying stage by placing them over a flamed pinewood. With this, the birth of the first and original black tea, commonly known as Lapsang Souchong was recorded. Lapsang is the name of the place where this black tea was discovered and Souchong means small tea leaves. Black tea is also referred to as Red Tea or Hong Cha in China. Hong Cha infuses a deep red colored liquid, matching the name it was given.  

This new process gave way for the smoky flavor of black tea, opening up more places for black tea cultivation in China and in the Western part of the world. Further research and innovations emerged from black teas and led master blenders to uncover other variants of black tea, such as the Assam and Keemun teas. More varieties of the Camellia sinensis plant would also pave way for the discovery of the Darjeeling tea in India and the Pu-erh tea in China's Yunnan Province.

The acceptance of the Hong Cha in its early years in the tea market would not be lucrative in China. However, this didn't hinder black tea's evolution through time as flavored fusions turned out to be successful collaborations for this type of tea. Its bold taste, ability to adapt, and boosting properties as an energy drink continue still to this day, filling cups of tea-loving people on a daily basis.     

Tea plant cultivation and processing methods of black tea leaves

A great-tasting black tea needs a healthy harvest of its two main Camellia sinensis plant components and an expert involvement in both of its two production processes. These C. sinensis alternatives are 100% oxidized. The Chinese Camellia sinensis-sinensis plant variation has small tea leaves and usually makes most tea types, including the Lapsang Souchong, which uses plucked fourth and fifth leaves of this plant. The variant from India, Camellia sinensis-assamica or Assam Tea, produces bigger tea leaves than the Chinese tea plant. It is typically grown to make black tea but has been used in recent years to also serve as an ingredient in green and white teas. 

This plant grows in warm, moist regions that experience 100cm of rainfall annually, with altitudes up to 2,100m above sea level. The balance in temperature plays a significant role in cultivating tea plants. Too hot temperatures exceeding 35ºC can have an effect on the black tea's tanning process and result in burnt tea leaves. Too low a temperature is also not good for raising tea plants as it alters the chemical and physiological makeup of the buds, affecting the plants' growth and quality.

Once the leaves needed to make black teas are extracted from the plant, these leaves are withered, rolled, oxidized, and dried. Black teas undergo either of two processing techniques depending on the region where they are produced, These are the Orthodox Method and the CTC or the Cut-Tear-Curl Method.  

The most popular method used by black tea makers is the Orthodox technique. Picked tea leaves are set out to wilt under the heat for a maximum of 18 hours, This procedure eliminates the water content of the tea leaves, making them soft and flexible after the prescribed duration. After this routine, the withered rolled leaves are pressed and curled for oxidation. This practice oxidizes and cuts the leaves to prepare them for their second oxidation cycle in the open air and helps the development of polyphenol levels and the flavor of the black tea. Machine drying is the concluding phase in this process. This traditional tea production style involves more time and human effort to preserve the strong quality of the tea leaves and provide better authenticity and health benefits for people's black tea drinking experience.   

With the consumption of black tea in tea bags, the CTC or Cut-Tear-Curl Method was developed in the 1950s to make massive amounts of black tea in finer pieces fit inside a tea bag. The procedure follows the first and last phases of the Orthodox technique but does not include the rolling stage in the traditional method. The tea leaves are cut, torn, and curled right away in a rotor-vane machine. The CTC method is a faster way to produce tea in tea bags, conforming to the high demand of this tea on the market today.

What does Black Tea taste like?

Black tea has the most selections in terms of flavor and as well as other tasty collaborations with different ingredients. But one of black tea's distinctions from other tea types is its rich taste. This beverage puts forward a bold and malty mouthfeel with smoky and earthy notes to satisfy your palate. Thanks to its intricate oxidation process, black tea has a uniquely strong and full-bodied flavor that tea and coffee aficionados like to savor. Don't over-steep your black tea because doing this may result in an intensely strong brew. Infuse your black tea within the prescribed amount of time and enjoy this drink as it is or with sweeteners, such as milk or sugar. 

In loose-leaf or tea bags, what makes a strong Black Tea healthy, and what are the nutritional benefits of its antioxidants and nutrients?

There is no denying that consuming cups of black tea do contribute to one's healthy body. This beverage is, indeed, a good supplement to take in to support and maintain the vigor of your entire system. Black teas are cultivated from the Camellia sinensis plant, known to give positive effects when taken on a daily basis. The tea plant rose to popularity due to its ability in sharing its health benefits through its leaf extracts that are richly packed in bioactive compounds, such as catechins, caffeine, L-theanine, B vitamins, lipids, and trace minerals.

Catechins are flavonoids, one of the most common polyphenols from a huge category of compounds that produce formidable antioxidants in the body. Caffeine is a widely known stimulant to increase body energy and mental alertness when consumed mindfully. This tea compound can help prohibit the development of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart attack, high blood pressure, dementia, and, Alzheimer's disease. L-theanine is a non-protein amino acid that plays a part in producing the tea's flavor and aroma. This compound shares a relaxing effect not only in black teas, but is most prevalent in green teas as well. L-theanine is also responsible for improving the body's immune system and the release of anti-inflammatory properties. 

So you see, black teas are excellent supplements to furnish your much-needed health components regardless of the brand you favor.

Is Black Tea good for one's health?

If you are still wondering if the consumption of black tea is good for you, The answer is yes, this supplemental beverage is good for you! Apart from the numerous benefits already mentioned, research shows that drinking cups of black tea on a daily basis can give you better dental health, bone density, skin rejuvenation against UV exposure, weight loss, and aid the digestive system. Black teas also control the risks of cancer cell growth, tumor progression, and acquiring cardiovascular diseases. Increase your chances of having soundness of body and mind with every sip of this refreshing and invigorating health drink.  

Manage your blood pressure and heart condition by drinking hot Black Tea

But wait, there's more! Black tea is one of the perfect remedies for high blood pressure and bad cholesterol management as it relaxes the blood vessels, improving their function inside the body. Black tea takes care of the tips of the cardiovascular system to its main beating organ, the heart. The regular consumption of black tea extracted from loose-leaf tea or tea bags helps minimize the threat of having a heart attack and reduces the risk of stroke. Black tea's compounds also reduce the possibilities of heart enlargement and other heart diseases that are detrimental to one's well-being. Love your heart and experience what black tea has to offer your body.

Calorie-count and caffeine content

Black tea is a calorie friendly drink for every weight-watcher. If you are counting the calories you take with each cup of this delightful beverage, every 100-gram or 100ml serving of black tea infuses one calorie as your computation basis. Therefore, an 8-ounce or 240ml cup of black tea, freshly brewed with only hot water, serves 2.4 calories that you can burn with just a minute of walking at five km/hour or by simply doing some house chores.

This tea type gives 20mg of caffeine for every 100g infusion. Your plain brew shares 48mg of caffeine using this formula to calculate the caffeine content of your 8-ounce black tea helping. Black tea has a lower amount of caffeine than brewed coffee but has caffeine content similar to caffeinated sodas. The ideal daily caffeine intake should be below 500mg. It may be consuming numerous cups of tea to reach the daily caffeine limit, but in case you're getting deep into conversations at a tea party, it is still better to keep in mind and to drink it in moderation.         

Is Black Tea healthier than coffee?

The healthiness black tea and coffee bring to your body is unquestionable as long as you control yourself in imbibing their great taste. These beverages are undeniably good for you and both present their own unique characteristics to keep you in tip-top shape. Black tea, for example, has a reliable property to support you in weight loss, while coffee is an excellent provider of caffeine to boost your mornings with the necessary energy and mental focus to get you through the day. The question of which is healthier really depends on what your body needs from these two beverages. 

According to research, coffee and black tea have antioxidants to shield your body from free radical changes and chronic sicknesses. The theaflavins and thearubigins in black tea prevent cancer cells from growing in the lungs and colon, and even prevent against leukemia. Coffee's anti-cancer properties come from its chlorogenic acid content to prevent gastrointestinal and liver cancer. Black tea and coffee also inhibit the development of other cancerous diseases that are likely to grow in the bladder, rectum, and breasts.

These two popular beverages contain polyphenols to relax your blood vessels and manage your blood pressure. Their polyphenols hinder the emergence of new blood vessels that feed cancer cells and block plaque formation in the blood vessels to reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.

Coffee and black tea are energy boosters to jumpstart your day due to their caffeine content. However, black tea has a lower caffeine content and has an L-theanine antioxidant that stimulates the brain and gives an anti-stress effect. L-theanine balances the reaction of caffeine to help achieve mental alertness, focus, and sharpness without feeling jittery. 

Both offer, typically, the same health benefits if you look at the entirety of their composition. However, you may consider black tea a healthier choice in certain aspects your body requires. Don't deny the health benefits black tea puts forward to your body. Add a cup to your day's diet and experience what it has to offer your system.        

Is it ok to drink black tea everyday?

Not all good things are better when taken in large amounts. Take black tea in this instance. This drink may be refreshing and good for one's health, but always remember to consume black tea within the required limit of four cups per day. This moderate amount of black tea intake is safe enough for most tea drinkers. Experts advise not to go beyond the number of allowable number of cups a day to hold you back against possible side effects, such as headaches and unsteady heartbeat or palpitations, brought by its caffeine content. Pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers may enjoy the goodness of black tea, having a maximum of three cups daily to evade the threats of miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, irritability, and increased bowel movement in breast-fed babies. 

Keep in mind to always eat first before drinking your black tea as it is very acidic in nature. Consuming tea on an unfilled stomach may cause indigestion, hyperacidity, and upset in the acid-base balance of your digestive system. Black tea also possesses high amounts of soluble oxalates that attach to the calcium, leading to crystal build-up that eventually develops into kidney stones.

Black tea, when taken with moderation everyday shares more health advantages for your well-being than not having a cup at all. If you have medical conditions to take into consideration, ask your doctor for the applicable dose of black tea that is going to be best for you.

See differences between Black Tea with other tea types

Although most types of teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant, they serve varying tastes and effects depending on how each tea is processed and the ingredients it uses to come up with its signature brew. Learn how black tea sets itself apart from other tea types to help you decide on the suitable tea for your palate.

Which is better? Black Tea vs. Green Tea

Black and green teas are harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant but undergo different processing methods to give the best infusion tea enthusiasts love. Black tea is oxidized, which gives a darker liquid and bolder flavor, while green tea does not go through an oxidation technique that results in a lighter-colored brew. These types of tea have different polyphenol compositions because of their oxidation level. Green tea has stronger antioxidant properties than black tea, however, their antioxidant capacities perform efficiently to the same extent in one's body. Both teas contain levels of caffeine, but if you need an energy kick, then black tea is perfect for you. Green tea has more L-theanine amino acid, making this beverage a more calming drink.

Both teas are rich in groups of polyphenols to keep you away from the risks of stroke, leading to the cause of death. So while you're alive and kicking, always go for healthy living and experience the wonderful benefits these teas have in store for you. All types of teas have something different from one another, but unless you're looking for a specific benefit from it, you'll know which of these two types is the best to fulfill your needs.

Black teas have a wide range of blends that you can indulge in. These flavorful black tea blends feature some of the world's favorite infusions, like the English Breakfast and Earl Grey variants. Green tea has the most popular Japanese Sencha Tea, relished by many across the globe because of its mild body and light savory taste.  

Black and White

The light white tea, just like the bold black, also comes from the Camellia sinensis plant but undergoes a different production technique that produces a contrasting flavor from black tea. White Tea uses the youngest tea buds and leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, while black tea processes the fourth to fifth plucked leaves. In terms of oxidation methods, white tea goes through a minimal procedure to make a subtle, refined taste with notes of sweet, floral flavors in a mild-bodied pale yellow or light green colored infusion. Black tea, compared to white, has a lengthy oxidation process that ends with a darker color and stronger flavor. 

The choice of tea leaves for harvesting affects the caffeine content of these tea types. Since white tea is picked from newly sprouted buds, it tends to give about 10mg of caffeine. So if you're after a calming blend, find your best-loved flavored white tea in your cupboard or tea chest. Black tea has a higher caffeine level than white tea and serves as a more full-bodied, flavorful brew than other tea types coming from the same tea plant.   

These two tea types agree on the same aspect, and that is providing advantages beneficial to your health. White tea, however, has the highest amount of antioxidants compared to green and black teas. Its uncomplicated oxidation method maintains the catechins intact, extracting more polyphenols into your cup. Black and white teas commit to minimizing the threat of heart diseases, easing skin aging, helping with weight loss, providing dental health, and preventing bone deterioration. 

The Silver Needle and White Peony are the highest-grade variants of white teas you savor for a relaxing tea time with friends and family.

Savor Black Tea and try its wide variety of best-blended flavors

Black tea offers an array of blends to satisfy every tea lover's craving for the strength and benefits of this healthy beverage. This tea showcases different tastes, concocted perfectly throughout the years to bring fulfillment to your table. Learn more about the most famous black tea blends to assist you and find the right flavors fit for your preference. 

English Breakfast Tea

Who hasn't heard of this very popular British tea? The English Breakfast tea serves a rich, full-bodied blend with a robust kick to start your day. It is a part of the English and Irish tea culture and is enjoyed by many with a dash of milk and sugar. This blend is composed of black tea leaves from Assam, Ceylon, and Kenya.

Earl Grey Tea

The incredible balance of zesty notes and the robustness of black tea is highlighted with a cup of Earl Grey tea. This British favorite, depending on the brand, is a mixture of different black tea leaves from China, India, and Sri Lanka. Its subtle sweet and citrusy flavor combination with a pleasant bitterness, comes from the oil extracted from Bergamot orange rinds.  

Assam Tea

Assam black teas are famous for their bold, crisp, and malty relish emerging from their dark-colored liquor. This blend offers the highest caffeine content among the other black tea variants, making it an excellent inclusion in breakfast tea blends. Assam tea is one of the main ingredients in English and Irish breakfast teas. 

Black Milk and Iced Teas

Join the fad nowadays as you sip on the sweet and creamy flavor of iced black milk teas. It is a refreshing beverage, perfect to beat the heat of summer. This blend puts forward the balance of black tea's robust taste with the sweetness of milk, accentuated most of the time by chewy tapioca pearls. You can choose to brew iced black tea to savor a light astringent taste or upgrade the flavor to a dessert-like infusion by adding milk into the mix.   

Flavored Black Teas

Give your brewed black tea a twist as you enjoy its various selections of naturally-flavored fruity and dainty infusions. Try the English Tea Store's long-time favorite raspberry blend that goes well with high-grown Ceylon black tea. If you're looking for a confection in a cup, steep this chocolate or black forest-flavored black tea and take pleasure in its mouthwatering taste. It is a delectable dessert and a tea-in-one! The vanilla and vanilla cream-flavored black teas blend a cup of full decadence for you and the family to enjoy. Indulge in the savory blend of these flavored black teas, available in loose tea leaves or tea bags.

Oolong Black Tea

Oolong tea can be mistaken as a black tea variant, but it is not. It belongs to its own tea category and is neither black nor a green tea type. Oolong's similarity to black tea relies on how it is processed and the shaping of the tea leaves during the oxidation process. Its tea leaves are tightly rolled into balls or strands to produce a color and fragrance that may either be close to the taste of black or green tea. The technique used to make oolong tea is the driving force in producing a mild or full-bodied taste, floral or earthy notes, and sweet or toasty mouthfeel.       

How do you make a perfect cup of black tea?

Like other teas, infusing black tea is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Plunge one teaspoon of  black loose tea leaves into hot water that has been boiled to a full 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Steep your loose-leaf tea for about three to five minutes, or a bit longer for a stronger punch. The longer you leave your tea in boiled water, the higher caffeine content and strong flavor it produces. Experience its full-bodied taste by brewing your black tea for almost five minutes maximum. Take out the leaves from the infuser after the desired time, but don't leave the tea soaked in hot water for too long as the infusion gives a bitter taste. The same process can be used when having black tea from tea bags. Love this tea as it is or add sugar and milk to improve the taste of your blend.

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