Did you know that aside from water, black tea is the most consumed beverage worldwide? The art of drinking tea is a powerful ritual that many cultures enjoy, but what is black tea? And what makes it so brilliant?
Derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, black tea leaves have a lengthened oxidising process, giving the tea its signature full-bodied flavour. Rich, aromatic, and delicious, black tea is commonly blended to create some of our most well-loved brews, including English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Chai.
These days, many people have become accustomed to the low-quality, tasteless tea bags that seem to be the norm, the kind that requires a few teaspoons of sugar and plenty of milk to make it taste alright. However, we're determined to inspire a new love for proper black tea. Trust us; it's like tea you've never tasted before. The incredible flavour, variety and quality of organically sourced, loose-leaf black tea will completely rock your tea-drinking world!
But first, let's break it down for you. In today's journal post, we share all the distinguishing factors regarding black tea. Keep reading to discover where it comes from, its health benefits, and how to best prepare yourself a fantastic cup at home.
Where did black tea come from?
The first history of black tea comes from the tea-drinking capital of the world - China! In the 17th Century, the story speaks of a green tea farmer who accidentally left tea leaves out in the sun for too long, causing them to turn a dark red-brown. Rather than waste the leaves, he let them dry, discovering a dark and delicious new tea variant!
You see, black, green, and oolong tea are all sourced from the same plant; the difference lies in how the leaves are prepared and how long they are dried or fermented for. Once farmers discovered that the darker, more oxidised tea could be stored for more extended periods, while continuing to improve in flavour, the Dutch and British importers at the time went crazy for the stuff.
Reserved only for those who could afford it with an eye-watering price, importers began to seek out where else they could find this plant responsible for such delicious tea. They found it in India, with a greater yield and wider varieties to choose from.
Fast forward to now, and black tea is still being produced in these indigenous regions. Here at Webster's, all of our organic black loose-leaf teas are sourced from the areas best known for superior flavour, India (Assam and Darjeeling), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and China. You'll find them in our English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Chai blend.
What is black tea good for?
1. Many people enjoy black tea for the sense of alertness it gives. We like to think of black tea as a gentle pick-me-up. A fantastic alternative for those who are looking to drink less coffee. When compared to green or herbal tea, black tea typically has the highest caffeine content; however, it's still considerably lower than coffee, with approximately half the amount you would find in a cup of coffee. Furthermore, who doesn't want to feel more focused when getting stuck into work mode? Black tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which brings mental clarity and longer-lasting energy when combined with the naturally occurring caffeine. To learn more about caffeine in tea, read our previous journal post here.
2. There's many reasons why health-conscious sippers can't get enough of this nourishing beverage. Black tea is rich in antioxidants, providing many wonderful health benefits, including improved heart, gut and overall health. Studies also show that antioxidants in black tea can naturally help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, overall reducing risk for many well-known diseases.
3. Not only is black tea good for you, but what about all the delicious ways you can serve it? From a slice of lemon and mint added to your hot brew or a splash of milk and a smidge of honey, getting creative with black tea will undoubtedly make a true tea connoisseur of you. On a hot day, you might like to serve it over ice with slices of orange or a handful of pomegranate, or if you're feeling indulgent, add a dash of condensed milk and a touch of cinnamon. We encourage you to get creative!
How to brew the perfect cup of black tea
Alright, alright, brewing a cup of tea might seem absurdly simple, but we have a few tips that will elevate it to the next level.
Because the leaves in black tea have been fully oxidised in the drying process, the result is a darker and much more robust flavour than other teas. Because of this, the tea requires a good rolling boil and should be poured on top of your leaves immediately so the flavonoids can be released instantaneously.
Depending on your desired strength, add 1-2 teaspoons of tea per 250ml cups of boiling water, then allow brewing for 3-5 minutes only. If you brew your tea longer, this might result in a bitter brew that leaves a dry feeling in your mouth.
And lastly, to serve, make sure you choose your most cherished mug, and take a moment for yourself to enjoy with love.
Ps: We exist to offer better-tasting tea for those who desire more from their tea experience. If this is you, you'll have fun browsing our fantastic lineup of teas and accessories.