Black Tea Guide

What is black tea?

Black tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world behind water. But what actually is black tea?

All black teas are made from Camellia sinensis leaf i.e. the tea plant. Processed through five key stages of plucking, withering, rolling, oxidising and drying. The more oxidation time that the leaf has gives us a blacker tea and stronger flavour.

The same fantastic plant also gives us green tea, if we process it differently. This was originally the way tea was drunk until the late sixteenth century when it reached the European market.

What is the process for black tea preparation?

To gain a better understanding, don't forget to click on the video positioned on the left hand side.

How long did it take for the first British tea to grow?

The first ever commercial tea plant to be grown on English soil took six years before we were able harvest our first 28g of tea in 2005. On average, tea bushes take 4-6 years before you are able to harvest the tea leaves. The left image is an example of a recently planted tea plantation at Halwyn compared to one of our established tea plantations.

Difference between black tea and white tea?

The most common misconception about black and white tea is that they are made from different plants. In actual fact, white and black tea are made from the same plant. Stopping the oxidisation process at different stages is what produces the different types of tea.  

White tea is generally rather expensive, as it uses only the top bud of the tea bushes rather than the bud and the top two leaves. White tea is produced at the earliest stage before it is oxidised, that’s why it tastes light and fresh. White tea has low caffeine content and is ideal to drink in the afternoon or evening, as the white tea extract prompts fat to break down in existing fat cells. 

Black tea is fully fermented, which causes the leaves to go black. Black tea possesses the highest level of caffeine and flavour.

Black Tea Benefits

Black tea reportedly offers several health benefits as it contains antioxidants and compounds.

The benefits of black tea include:

  • reduced inflammation in the body
  • may lower bad cholesterol
  • improve gut health
  • may reduce blood pressure

Making your own Tea

You can make black tea from scratch as long as you have a tea shrub (purchase a Tregothnan Tea Plant), also known as the Camellia Sinensis plant. To process leaves for black tea, you must: 

  • Pluck the youngest leaves  
  • Roll the leaves in your hands and crush them until you notice the leaves darken
  • Spread the leaves on a tray and leave them in a cool spot for 2-3 days 
  • Dry the leaves in the oven for 20 minutes at approx. 250F Store in an air-tight container and leave in a dark cupboard 

Pairings with black tea?

A classic is to add milk to a black tea to create a lighter, but popular taste. We suggest a couple of tablespoons.

Lemon or citrus oil is a good addition to brighten black tea. This extra will make the tea a little lighter.

Honey added to Black Tea is popular for its flavour but also for its ability to remove unstable body cells. Honey is often used as a sweetener instead of sugar.

How to store Black Tea?

Black tea should be stored in its original packaging or in a plastic container.

Black tea should be stored away from any UV rays, light or heat as this will degrade your tea.

The best place to store your tea is in a dark cabinet or opaque container. Tea absorbs moisture andodorso avoid leaving the tea near bins, by dishwashers or sinks.