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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
Picture of Gold Leaf Tea

Gold Leaf Tea from Akbar

Style: Ceylon Black Tea – Region: Sri Lanka / Ceylon
Jan. 15th, 2020

I was astonished by this tea's quality as well as value for its price. One of my friends recently bought this from a Russian market, and he had only recently opened the container so it was very fresh.

The dry leaf though is explosively aromatic. This is by far the most aromatic Ceylon black tea I've ever found in th...

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65 / 100

This is a new entry in Upton's growing list of breakfast blends; it was created as on of their 30th anniversary specials. It is not as robust or malty as some breakfast blends, but not extra mild either - it falls somewhere in the middle. This has a little nip to it. The price is a little high.

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85 / 100
Picture of C.T.C. Irish Breakfast Blend

A blend of Assam teas that turns out to be smooth and flavorful, and offered at an excellent price by Upton. It has been one of their top sellers, for a long time, and it is not hard to see why. This does not have the rough edges or iron notes that some breakfast teas have. It is earthy, nutty, and not a challenge t...

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89 / 100

I love this tea. I don't often purchase larger quantities of tea without trying it first, but this was on sale around Thanksgiving and I decided to give 50g a try. The leaves were nice and large. I wasn't surprised when I saw that this came from a Bai Hao tree, as the large leaves reminded me a bit of TeaVivre's Bai Ha...

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81 / 100
Picture of Storm Watcher

Storm Watcher from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Black Tea – Region: Blend
Dec. 17th, 2019

Being in Oklahoma, the name of this seasonal tea intrigued me a lot, even though the storms inspiring it are cold, wet wintertime blasts on the British Columbia coast, instead of southern Plains severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Then again, that makes sense. What would tornado tea be, and would it even matter? The...

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Review 46 teas to get on this list!

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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
3
30 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
13
18 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
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Scottish Breakfast

Brand:Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd
Style:Scottish Breakfast
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
97
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
4 Ratings
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Keemun Full Leaf Tea

Brand:Foojoy
Style:Keemun
Region:Anhui, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
96
4 Ratings
Picture of Laoshan Black

Laoshan Black

Brand:Verdant Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:Shandong, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
95
4 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Black Tea

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