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Black Tea

Wikipedia: Black_tea | Teaviews: black-tea 
Last Updated: Mar. 12, 2014 

About Black Tea

Slightly twisted black tea leaves, olive brown color with hints of orangeSFTGFOP1, a top grade of orthodox black tea.
Black tea is tea that has been fully oxidized (sometimes referred to as being "fermented" although it is not a true fermentation process). Both the leaves and brewed tea tend to have a dark color, although some black teas are golden or greenish in color. In Chinese, black tea is called hóngchá(紅茶), meaning red tea, although in English, red tea more often refers to rooibos, an herbal tea that is not made from the tea plant.

Black tea also tends to contain more tannins, chemicals giving the tea its characteristic dark color. The tannins are actually a form of antioxidants, and are the chemicals that the catechins of green tea are transformed to when they undergo oxidation.

The most popular type of tea in the world

Black tea is the most popular and widespread type of tea in the world, and makes up the bulk of the world's tea production and consumption; outside of southeast Asia, an overwhelming majority of the tea produced and consumed is black tea. In many cultures, when people say tea, they are referring to black tea.

Victorian rose-patterned tea cup filled with black tea, with matching saucer and shiny spoon, on a pink backgroundBlack tea is the default tea of Western tea culture. Photo by Miya, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Black tea is grown in many countries and comes in many styles and grades; it is hard to generalize about the flavor or aroma of black teas. Black tea is the only type of tea that is widely classified into grades of tea using a system of letters, like OP, FTGFOP, BOP, etc. It is a widespread assumption that black teas are stronger, more bitter, and more heavily caffeinated than green teas; this is not true: green teas can be quite bitter, and black teas can be mellow. The strength of tea depends both on how it is brewed and the style and grade of tea used.

Caffeine content of black teas, compared to other teas

The caffeine content also varies greatly from one tea to the next and depends on how the tea is brewed--and it is not safe to assume that black tea contains more caffeine than green or other types of tea. In general, black teas with more tips / leaf buds such as golden monkey are the most heavily-caffeinated of black teas, and souchongs, made out of larger leaves, are less caffeinated.

Black teas used in English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast blends are usually deliberately chosen for their moderate-to-high caffeine content.
Loose-leaf Tea with golden-orange and gray-black twisted, hairy leavesA few lighter black teas can taste better with lower water temperatures, but usually, even these teas taste fine with boiling water.

Brewing black tea

Brewing tea is a complex art and is also a matter of peronal taste. In general, black teas tend to taste best when brewed with boiling water. A rare exception to this rule are a few of the lightest black teas, like some Darjeeling first flush, a few of which produce better results when brewed with water slightly below the boiling point.

The optimal steeping times of black teas vary widely; strong, broken-leaf black teas infuse quickly and often taste best with brief steeping times, sometimes only about 1 minute, whereas other teas may taste best if steeped as long as 5-8 minutes.

Storing black tea

Black tea typically stays fresh and retains its flavor longer than green or white teas. A typical black tea, properly stored in a dark, airtight container, can be stored for 2 years or more with little difference in flavor. Some more delicate black teas, however, like Darjeeling first flush, do not always store as well. See our article on storing tea for more info.

Recent Black Tea Reviews — RSS rss icon

85 / 100
Picture of Golden Kenya GFBOP/TGFOP

Golden Kenya GFBOP/TGFOP from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Black Tea – Region: Kenya
Oct. 18th, 2020

I was surprised by this tea. Once again, I think some teas grown outside of 'traditional' can have an usual taste. I have had tea from Kenya before and it was a bit of a disappointment. This tea turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Nice aroma, for has a very slight hint of fruit. The liquor is a beautiful deep ho...

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65 / 100
Picture of Bond Street English Breakfast Blend

Here is a middle of the road English breakfast offering from Upton. It is pretty smooth, with some malty notes and tannins. It is not too heavy, nor too light. The aroma is woody and a little cardboard-like. This is meant to be served with milk, and that works nicely. I tried it with lemon also, but that brings ou...

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78 / 100
Picture of Lapsang Souchong (Nr. 20)

Lapsang Souchong (Nr. 20) from Wohlenberg

Style: Lapsang Souchong – Region: China
Sep. 26th, 2020

Half-litre pot at home, made from smoked Chinese black tea leaves. Pours clear dark amber (against white china) with no sediment. Clear aroma of smoke, with notes of black tea. Bitter, leafy flavour of black tea, enhanced by pronounced smoky notes. Astringent and leafy palate, with smoky notes and malty touches in the ...

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85 / 100
Picture of Darjeeling No. 9 TGFOP1 Himalaya First Flush (No. 215)

Half-litre cup at home, made from fine small green, brown and yellow leaves. Pours clear peach yellow (against white china) with no sediment. Very mild aroma of fresh leaves, much faintier than the loose leaves themselves emit. Mild, leafy but fresh and pure flavour of black tea, with floral touches. A delicate palate,...

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68 / 100

Half-litre pot at home, made from a blend of seven different strong and flavourful black teas (the company does not specify which ones, but repeats it trice in the description of the tea that the teas are strong; hm...). Pours clear copper brown (against white china) with no sediment. Clear, malty aroma of Assam, with ...

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Most-Rated Black Tea

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Black Tea

Brand:Lipton Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
4
31 Ratings
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PG Tips Pyramid bags

Brand:PG Tips
Style:Black Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
25
24 Ratings
No image of this tea

Irish Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:Irish Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
38
23 Ratings
No image of this tea

English Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:English Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
14
20 Ratings
No image of this tea

Assam

Brand:Two Leaves and a Bud
Style:Assam
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
55
15 Ratings

Top-Rated Black Tea

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Honey Black Tea

Brand:Health & Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
98
3 Ratings
Picture of Hu-Kwa Tea

Hu-Kwa Tea

Brand:Mark T. Wendell
Style:Lapsang Souchong
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
97
6 Ratings
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Scottish Breakfast

Brand:Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd
Style:Scottish Breakfast
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
97
3 Ratings
No image of this tea

Keemun Full Leaf Tea

Brand:Foojoy
Style:Keemun
Region:Anhui, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
96
4 Ratings
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Assam TGFOP Black Tea

Brand:Arbor Teas
Style:Assam
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
95
3 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Black Tea

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