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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

76 / 100
Picture of Devonshire English Breakfast

"Devonshire" has one of the most full-bodied dry-bag aromas I've gotten from a breakfast tea, and unusually, it nearly matches the flavor for intensity. I detected virtually no difference between dry-bag scent, in-cup scent, and taste, the latter likewise being straightforwardly well-constructed within a nice, dark br...

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75 / 100
Picture of Breakfast Blend (Morning Rise)

Breakfast Blend (Morning Rise) from Numi Organic Tea

Style: Black Tea – Region: Blend
Jan. 19th, 2019

Smells earthy, like a pu-erh, or one of the less sweet Yunnan blacks.

Numi's website says that this tea contains Keemun and that's the first impression I get from the flavor; it's full of dark molasses and and prunes or raisins with a bit of cocoa. The finish is dryer, and the earthiness I noticed in the aroma linge...

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70 / 100
Picture of English Classic Cold Brewed Iced Tea

English Classic Cold Brewed Iced Tea from Twinings

Style: Black Tea – Region: ?????
Jan. 18th, 2019

When I was in England... the English gifted me with this tea. They said to me, "Here. Our tea of England. Drink it, and become English." And that I did... The truth is, this tea carries some spiritual essence of England within it's leaves. I don't know if England intentionally grows spiritual tree's in their lands, but...

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25 / 100
Picture of Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales from Twinings

Style: Black Tea – Region: China
Jan. 18th, 2019

I'm no big fan of this tea. This tea is not for me..... Anywho! I don't know what I was expecting. The taste of a prince, the taste of a wale... It did not taste like either. Trust me, I know.

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55 / 100

Himalayan Bliss SFTGFOP1 CL from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Black Tea – Region: ?????
Jan. 18th, 2019

(Retired) An interesting tea that is good with just a little sugar and it can take milk as well. Lemon is doable too but not the best. There is a light prunelike sweetness that comes thru in the moderately robust flavor.

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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
30
28 Ratings
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PG Tips Pyramid bags

Brand:PG Tips
Style:Black Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
53
24 Ratings
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Irish Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:Irish Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
21
23 Ratings
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English Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:English Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
61
18 Ratings
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Assam

Brand:Two Leaves and a Bud
Style:Assam
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
80
15 Ratings

Top-Rated Black Tea

Picture of Hu-Kwa Tea

Hu-Kwa Tea

Brand:Mark T. Wendell
Style:Lapsang Souchong
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
99
4 Ratings
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Honey Black Tea

Brand:Health & Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:Taiwan / Formosa
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
99
3 Ratings
No image of this tea

Assam TGFOP Black Tea

Brand:Arbor Teas
Style:Assam
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
98
3 Ratings
No image of this tea

TB05: Mincing Lane Breakfast Blend

Brand:Upton Tea Imports
Style:Black Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
97
3 Ratings
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Keemun Full Leaf Tea

Brand:Foojoy
Style:Keemun
Region:Anhui, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
97
4 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Black Tea

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