Black tea is more popular in the West than in Asia. English breakfast is one of the most common names in the tea industry for black teas. Made from the same leaf Camellia sinensis, black tea is generally more oxidized than green, oolong and white tea.
To make the finest black tea, the tea leaves are first withered until they are soft enough to be rolled. The pliant leaves are then rolled, which releases juices and enzymes that are ready to react with oxygen. The oxidation process starts after the bruised and sticky leaves are spread out to allow the juices to react with oxygen. After ample oxidation, the leaves turn brown, just like a freshly sliced apple would. The oxidized leaves are then fired/dried to stop further chemical reactions and seal/lock the flavors and enzymes.
The oxidation process is what changes the properties of the tea leaves and provides the black tea with its unique color and brisk flavor.
- Flavor Profile
The characteristics of the black tea depends on various factors such as the tea bush type, harvest season, elevation, climate and the level of oxidation.
KTE black tea has a distinct brisk flavor with deep and vibrant reddish brown infusion. The high elevation of the tea bushes results in a fresh fruity/flowery aroma with hints of caramel. The malty flavors and taste notes such as raisins and dark chocolate is prominent in all flushes of KTE black tea.
- Brewing the Finest Cup
The complexity of black tea production and the leaf sizes create a wide variety of ways of brewing KTE black tea. According to the leaf-size, black tea can be further categorized into Full-Leaf, Broken-Leaf and fannings.
Full-leaf black tea consists of full tea leaves which are not broken into pieces during processing. They are generally brewed at higher temperature than green tea. To brew the finest cup of black tea, use about two grams (the amount of a single tea bag) of tea per 100 ml of water of temperature 95℃ (206℉). In general, use not quite boiling water or let the water cool down for not even 30 seconds after boiling. Steep for about 4 to 6 minutes to enjoy the brisk flavor of black tea.
*Full-leaf black tea is best served without added milk and/or sugar. However, it is common to add sugar and/or lemon according to one’s preference.
On the other hand broken-leaf black tea is generally more brisk and higher in caffeine, which makes it a perfect morning tea when blended with milk and sugar.
Furthermore, the fannings are the third level of tea in terms of their size and are mostly used in tea bags.
- Health Benefits
- Potent antioxidants (especially theaflavins & thearubigens) present in black tea have cholesterol-lowering abilities.
- Black tea particularly has cardiovascular benefits.
- Since all teas come from the same plant Camellia sinensis, black tea shares most of the same health benefits properties as green tea.