Black Tea

Black tea is the most popular tea in the Western world. It can be served hot or over ice, with or without milk. This popular tea has a rich red-brown color and full-bodied taste that …

Black tea in a spoon.

Black tea is the most popular tea in the Western world. It can be served hot or over ice, with or without milk. This popular tea has a rich red-brown color and full-bodied taste that ranges from fruity and flowery to spicy and nutty.

To make black tea, the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, go through an extensive oxidation process after harvesting. It is the most oxidized of the teas.

The leaves will sometimes be blended with natural flavors, such as fruits or flower petals, to add a unique taste to the brew.

Black tea in a spoon.
Black tea.

How is black tea made?

The tea leaves are dried on racks for around 18 hours following harvesting until all the moisture is removed.  

The leaves are then crushed and exposed to air, causing oxidation that allows the natural juices to emerge and causes the leaves to darken. 

Finally, the tea leaves are “fired.” The tea leaves are then heated to prevent further oxidation and seal in the distinctive flavor and aroma.

Types and taste of black tea

There are many different types of black tea. Here are some common types and their flavors:

• Assam: rich, dark, slightly malty

• Ceylon: medium-strength

• Darjeeling: light and delicate, with a slightly flowery aroma; also made with green blends

• Earl Grey: light with a slight fruity flavor

• English Breakfast: medium-strength classic blend

• Irish Breakfast: more robust than English Breakfast

• Lady Grey: similar to Earl Grey with added lemon and orange oils

• Keemun: smooth Chinese blend

• Jasmine tea: scented with Jasmine flowers

• Lapsang Souchong: infused with pine smoke

• Nilgiri: robust flavor

• Russian Caravan: strong and rich, hearty taste

• Yunnan: peppery flavored variety

How to prepare black tea

To brew black tea, we generally recommend using a teapot or teacup with a large, reusable infusion basket. A large infuser allows for easy separation of tea and leaves while allowing enough room for the leaves to unfold. 

You can also use a teapot without an infuser, but you want to use a tea strainer to catch the leaves as you serve the tea into cups. 

Measure the tea into the infuser or pot. Around one teaspoon per cup of tea is a general recommendation. However, the amount you need depends on the type of tea and how fine the leaves are, so check the recommendation from the brand you are using. 

Heat the water to a rolling boil, which is around 100°C/ 212°F. Then pour the water over the tea leaves and place the lid on the pot. Leave the tea to brew (or “steep”) before serving. 

The time it takes to brew tea depends on the size of the leaf in your blend-the larger the leaf, the longer the brewing, or steeping, time. As a guide, the steeping time should be 3-5 minutes. 

When your tea has finished steeping, immediately remove the infuser of tea (or the tea bag) from the pot or cup, and lightly stir. Then serve the tea while the tea is still fresh and hot. 

How to serve black tea

People enjoy black tea in many different ways, and the best way to serve it comes down to personal preference. Some common ways of serving black tea are: 

  • Add a small amount of milk, which adds body and smoothness to the tea. This is how it is often served in Britain. 
  • Add sugar, honey, or raspberry jam for sweetness. 
  • Add slices of lemon. peach or other fruit
  • Serve hot or over ice

Making tea is all about the personal experience. How you take your tea is a matter of individual taste and what you enjoy. Please experiment with serving it in different ways until you find a combination that suits your palate. 

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