Black tea is one of the most popular teas in the West, probably because of its variety of robust tastes and characteristics. It’s also the base for many popular tea drinks in the United States, such as Chai Tea Lattes and London Fogs (Earl Grey + Steamed Milk).
Read on to find out how black tea is made, the health benefits of black tea and tips on preparing the perfect cup.
What is Black Tea? How is it made?
We can trace the origins of black tea back to China. Its journey through the world started when it was brought by the British from China to London. From there, it was transplanted to SouthEast Asia and now, can be found amply across the world.
Just like all true teas (i.e. white tea, green tea), black tea leaves are derived from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. It is the way the shrub is processed that differentiates the unique types of teas.
To make black tea, the leaves are not only withered, rolled and heated, black tea leaves go through a special fermentation process before their final heating. Its longer oxidation process is why it has higher levels of caffeine that most types of tea.
What are the health benefits of black tea?
There are many black tea health benefits, such as that it:
- Relieves stress through reducing cortisol levels (stress hormones) and having a presence of an amino acid that aids in feelings of relaxation and focus.
- Supports Oral Health because it has fluoride and helps reduce levels of plaque.
- Supports maintenance of a healthy weight through aiding in digestion and boosting the metabolism.
- Increases energy without producing the jitters, giving just enough caffeine to increase blood flow without over stimulation.
- Helps with heart health & preventing cancer, as a lot of studies are showing a positive correlation with those that drink a lot of black tea versus those who do not.
How much caffeine is in black tea?
Black tea contains more caffeine than many of the other teas, which is why black tea can be a great coffee replacer in the mornings. It contains a fair amount less than coffee though, so it’s a great way to increase energy levels without overdoing it and crashing later. It typically has 60 – 90 mg per 8 oz cup.
What is the best way to enjoy black tea?
Here is the proper steeping technique for black tea: Use one teaspoon of black tea per 6-8oz of spring water. We recommend steeping the tea for three to five minutes in boiling water; this makes for the optimal flavors and aroma.
Remember: Do not over steep the tea because it will likely be overly strong and bitter!
Serving Recommendations: You can add milk for a homemade latte, honey for natural sweetener or additional flavorings for some nice iced tea (perfect for summer days).
Does black tea spoil?
If you are worried about black tea spoilage, good news. As long as it is stored properly (dry and not too hot) and kept out of direct sunlight, black tea can keep its flavor for a long time.