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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

90 / 100

Edglets Loose Leaf Tea from Edglets Tea

Style: Black Tea – Region: ?????
Jul. 10th, 2018

This tea is a full bodied tea with an excellent taste. Not as cheap as some and not as expensive as others especially when stocks of it got lower and lower.

I have drunk this tea since I was little and once it was no longer in the shops I was able to get it direct from Bell Tea, however it seems like they have run ...

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70 / 100
Picture of Republic Darjeeling

The tea is made up of large, but broken pieces of leaf. The description says that the tea is graded TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe), though, which should be mostly whole leaves. There is a reasonable proportion of tips, so it is decent quality tea, but not as good as I expected from the description or the pri...

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85 / 100
Picture of Tonganagaon Broken

Tonganagaon Broken from Harney and Sons

Style: Assam – Region: Tinsukia, Assam, India
Jun. 28th, 2018

Nice deep amber liquor, very pleasant aroma and taste. This is a great every day tea. Good flavor makes it easy to sip all day. I will be buying more in the future.

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40 / 100
Picture of English Teatime

English Teatime from Bigelow Tea

Style: Black Tea – Region: ?????
Jun. 15th, 2018

The aroma is faint, but malty. The tea tastes thin and a bit cooked. Not offensive, just not much going on. If I take a big sip, there's a warm bitterness on the sides of the tongue that's nice.

As the tea cools down, it's more astringent and bitter than before. I'm trying to taste what might be in the blend and it ...

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83 / 100
Picture of Ancient Yunnan

Ancient Yunnan from Octavia Tea

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China
Jun. 9th, 2018

This is a very enjoyable tea. The twisted, tippy leaves have an aroma of raisins, wood, cocoa, and malt. When I added water I was initially disappointed to see that the leaves were were broken, as I've paid less for full leaf Yunnan. Fortunately, the taste doesn't seem to suffer from this fact, with no bitterness and o...

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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
25
28 Ratings
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PG Tips Pyramid bags

Brand:PG Tips
Style:Black Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
60
24 Ratings
No image of this tea

Irish Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:Irish Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
36
22 Ratings
No image of this tea

English Breakfast

Brand:Twinings
Style:English Breakfast
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
15
17 Ratings
No image of this tea

Assam

Brand:Two Leaves Tea
Style:Assam
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
46
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
100
3 Ratings
No image of this tea

Honey Black Tea

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

English Breakfast

Brand:Harney and Sons
Style:English Breakfast
Region:China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
99
4 Ratings
Picture of Laoshan Black

Laoshan Black

Brand:Verdant Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:Shandong, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
96
4 Ratings
Picture of Ancient Golden Yunnan

Ancient Golden Yunnan

Brand:Rishi Tea
Style:Yunnan Gold
Region:Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
92
3 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Black Tea

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