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 leaf i.e. the tea plant. The best specific Camellia’s are assamica or sinensis. 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 differently, mainly with less oxidation. and this was originally the way tea was drunk up until the late sixteenth century when it reached the European market.
How we process black tea
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, but 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, due to its rare. 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.
Is drinking black tea good for you?
Black tea offers several health benefits because it contains antioxidants and compounds. Benefits of black tea include reduced inflammation in the body, may lower bad cholesterol, improve gut health, and may reduce blood pressure.
Experts say that drinking over 5 cups of black tea a day can cause side effects due the levels of caffeine.
Making your own Tea with Tregothnan?
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 and turn red
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 weaker, 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 weaker.
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 and odor so avoid leaving the tea near bins, by dishwashers or sinks.