Black Tea – History, Benefits, Recipes, and More

One of the most popular beverages in the whole wide world apart from Coffee is black tea. This post will shed light on the definition of black tea, its benefits, side-effects, and a few interesting recipes as well. Without further ado, let’s get right to it then, shall we!?

What is Black Tea?

Black tea is a strong-flavored tea made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. Black tea leaves are more oxidized when compared to the leaves used to make oolong, white, yellow, and green teas. It has a strong flavor, a rich texture, and a strong aroma that can fill up a room in mere minutes! It is generally taken without adding milk, cream, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. Although, people often play with the traditional recipe which led to the discovery of many popular drinks like iced tea, masala chai, and many more, over the years! The black tea leaves are taken from the Camellia sinensis – a plant that is typically grown commercially in countries like India, China, Sri Lanka, and Africa.

Primarily, two specific varieties of this plant are used for the mass-production of black tea leaves. (Reference - Black tea, Wikipedia, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021) They are –

  • Sinensis var. sinensis and
  • Sinensis var. assamica.
    Black tea during Pregnancy

    Black tea during Pregnancy, Vaya, Google Images, licensed under CC BY 2.0

      What is the history of Black Tea? 

      Black tea has its humble beginnings in China way back in the 17th century! The story goes like this – One day an army from Jianxi crossed the border and entered into the Fujian Province. There they camped at a tea factory which led to delays in tea production. This compelled the tea factory workers to lay the tea leaves out in the sun for a long time. This led to prolonged oxidization of the tea leaves thus giving them the signature dark red colour of black tea leaves, currently, the whole world is familiar with. (Source - The History of Black Tea, Hackberry Tea, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

      Later on, the workers with a motive to accelerate the drying process laid the tea leaves over a fire made from pinewood. This gave the tea leaves a smoky flavor. Thus, Lapsang Souchong – or the original black tea was discovered in China which eventually became popular in the rest of the world! The British Empire got their hands on black tea when Princess Catherine introduced it in the British palace. Today, more than ninety per cent of the tea leaves sold in the US is black tea which our great nation derives from countries like China, India, Sri Lanka, and Africa! 

      Black tea and Manuka Honey Image

      Black tea and Manuka Honey, Shott BeveragesGoogle Images, licensed under CC BY 2.0

      What are the benefits of Black Tea?

      Black tea benefits are many. Some of the most notable ones are as follows -

      • Black tea is rich in antioxidants that help in lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
      • Black tea is also rich in flavonoids that keep the human heart healthy!
      • As per the results of some studies, it is seen that black tea can lower the content of bad cholesterol in a person’s blood who consumes the tea regularly.
      • Black tea is also rich in polyphenols that help in improving gut health and boost immunity!
      • Studies have also shown that black tea can reduce the chances of one suffering a stroke. (Reference - 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Black Tea, HealthLine, Retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

        What does Black Tea taste like?

        Black tea is known for its malty flavor that resembles a light beer minus the bitterness of the alcohol and its acidity! The tea has a deep aroma that has a nutty hint to it. (Reference - Here’s What Black Tea Tastes Like, And How To Enjoy This Dark Brew, Coffee and Tea Corner, Retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

        What is English Breakfast Tea?

        English breakfast tea is another variation of black tea that is a blend of different tea leaves such as –

        • Assam tea
        • Kenya tea and
        • Ceylon tea.

          It has a robust and rich flavor accompanied by a full-bodied texture. It is a popular blended tea that is commonly consumed by British and the Irish at breakfast, hence the name. (Reference - English Breakfast Tea, Wikipedia, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

          What is Assam tea?

          Assam tea is yet another variation of black tea. It is mainly a product of the Indian state of Assam. The tea is manufactured using the leaves of Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica. The plant is native to this Indian state. (Reference - Assam tea, Wikipedia, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

          What is Darjeeling Tea?

          Darjeeling tea is made from tea leaves of tea plants that are grown in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal, India. It has a thin-bodied texture, with light-coloured infusion and a signature floral aroma. (Reference - Darjeeling Tea, Wikipedia, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021) One shouldn't add sugar in their cup of Darjeeling Tea as it will ruin the overall flavour, texture as well as the taste of the tea!

          Video Source: Mei Leaf, True Tase of English Breakfast. Online Video Clip. YouTube. Uploaded on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 16 Feb 2021. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 

          What are the side effects of Black Tea?

          Black tea, when consumed excessively could lead to below side effects –

          • Rapid breathing rate.
          • Increased urination.
          • Irregular heartbeat.
          • Difficulty sleeping.
          • Anxiety attacks.
          • Ringing in the ears (Reference - Black Tea, WebMD, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

            What are the different types of recipes for Black Tea?

            1. Black tea with lemon

            A refreshing cup of black tea with a slight tang!

            Ingredients

            • Black Tea
            • Lemon Juice and

            Instructions

            • Heat the water in a saucepan and wait till it starts boiling. Once it does, lower the heat and set it to ‘simmer’ mode.
            • Add the tea leaves and the mixture steep for a minute, not more!
            • Strain the tea in a cup. (Reference - Lemon Tea, Whisk Affair, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)
            • Now add lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey. Stir well and enjoy it. 

            Video Source: Lemon Tea, Chef Harpal Singh. Online Video Clip. YouTube. Uploaded on 10 Feb 2018. Retrieved 16 Feb 2021. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

              2. Ginger Black Tea

              A classic cup of Ginger black tea is best brewed when you stick to the following ingredients and simple set of instructions –

              Ingredients

                Instructions

                • Boil 2 cups of water and add the ginger after slicing the knob into thin pieces.
                • Now add the teabag and cardamom into a cup along with half a tablespoon of honey.
                • Slowly pour the boiling water with ginger into the cup, cover it, and let it all steep for not more than three minutes. After 3 minutes, take out the teabag.
                • Enjoy your drink!

                  Video Source: Special Black Tea, Just Cook & Bake. Online Video Clip. YouTube. Uploaded on 16 Jan 2019. Retrieved 16 Feb 2021. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 

                  3. Masala Black tea

                  A classic cup of Masala black tea is best brewed when you stick to the following ingredients and simple set of instructions –

                  Ingredients

                  • A tablespoon of fennel seeds.
                  • A small piece of ginger root. You would need to peel and slice the same into thin pieces!
                  • About six pods of black cardamom.
                  • About six black peppercorns.
                  • About twelve cloves (whole).
                  • About two and a half cups of water.
                  • A cinnamon stick (not more than 3 inches long!).
                  • Two tablespoons of Darjeeling black tea and
                  • Two tablespoons of sweet agave nectar. (Reference Black Chai Masala Tea, Go Dairy Free, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

                    Instructions

                    • Combine the peppercorn, cardamom, fennel seeds, and cloves in a large tea ball.
                    • Add these to the water. Don’t forget to add the thin-sliced ginger pieces and the cinnamon stick.
                    • Boil the mixture for not more than 5 minutes.
                    • Remove the container from the heat source and let the same steep for about 10 minutes.
                    • Add the tea leaves, bring the mixture again to a boil then reduce the heat.
                    • Let the mixture simmer for not more than 5 minutes!
                    • Strain the mixture, into a saucepan.
                    • Serve the drink in a teacup.
                    • Add sweet agave nectar and enjoy your drink!

                    Video Source: Masala Tea RecipeMy KitchenOnline Video Clip. YouTubeUploaded on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 16 Feb 2021. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                      What is the recipe for classic Black Tea?

                      A classic cup of black tea is best brewed when you stick to the following ingredients and simple set of instructions –

                      Ingredients

                      • Not more than six ounces of water
                      • Two to three grams of loose black tea
                      • Honey – as per your taste. (Reference How To Brew Black Tea, Kitchn, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

                        Instructions

                        • Heat the water and bring it to a boil.
                        • Add the tea leaves in a teacup.
                        • Pour the water on top of the tea leaves placed inside the teacup.
                        • Cover the up and let it sit still for not more than 5 minutes.
                        • Pour the tea into another cup through a strainer.
                        • Add honey, stir it well and enjoy your drink!

                          Video Source: Perfect Homemade Black Tea, Cooking Simplified. Online Video Clip. YouTube. Uploaded on 7 October 2017. Retrieved on 16 Feb 2021. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                          Frequently Asked Questions

                          Q. Does black tea contain caffeine and if ? yes, then how much!? Black tea does contain caffeine. Around 8 ounces of black tea contains anywhere between 25 to 48 mg of caffeine. When you compare this with a cup of coffee than a cup containing 8 ounces of coffee will have more than 100mg of caffeine in it. (Reference: Answering Common Questions About Black Tea, happyteahousecae.com, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

                          Q. Does a cup of black tea have calories in it!? Black tea, when consumed without sugar, has no calories at all.(Reference: Frequently Asked Questions about Tea, Tea Cups Full, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

                          Q. Does black tea contain more caffeine than a cup of black coffee!? No, the caffeine content in a cup of black tea is less than a cup of coffee. (Reference: Frequently Asked Questions about Tea, Tea Cups Full, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

                          Q. How much Black Tea should you drink? One should not drink more than four to five cups in a day. (Reference: Black Tea, WebMD, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

                          Q. Can pregnant women and nursing mothers consume black tea? Pregnant women and nursing mothers can drink black tea given they drink not more than a cup or two. Although black tea contains caffeine, the overall content of this addictive compound is less than the caffeine content in an average cup of coffee. (Reference: Is it Safe to Drink Black Tea During Pregnancy, First Cry Parenting, retrieved on 16 Feb 2021)

                            It was high time that teacurry.com posted something about Black Tea. After all, it is one of the most popular types of tea that is enjoyed by one and all! We spend hours on research before composing a post like this one, sure, but at the same time, we are mere internet folks and not experts. Hence, consult with your doctor or at least your dietitian before you prepare your daily fix of black tea. With that stated, leave your opinions, suggestions, and personal experiences related to black tea, in the comments sections below. We love to see that our readers are connecting with us.

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