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What Makes Black Tea Different?

Aug 17, 2007
Black tea is a variety of tea obtained from the Camellia sinensis plant. Of the four different varieties of teas produced from the plant - namely White tea, Oolong tea, Green tea, and Black tea - Black tea is the most popular. In fact, black tea is part of the basic tea mix that is commonly sold in supermarkets, which makes it the default tea of choice in most homes and restaurants.

The tea owes its dark color to the fact that it is allowed to fully oxidize. This gives this tea its strong and full-bodied taste. After the harvest, the leaves are withered under blowing hot air. There are two methods to produce this kind of tea, by hand or machine. Machines process the tea leaves in the CTC method - Crush, Tear, Curl - especially where lower-grade leaves are concerned. Efficient and effective for processing the lower to medium grade leaves, these will usually end up in tea bags. The hand method of processing is considered the orthodox method, and is generally reserved for the high quality teas. Such processing gives the loose tea that soothing flavor which is highly sought after in connoisseur circles. Fermentation and oxidization then take place under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. The leaves are then dried to stop the oxidization. Leaves are then sorted and graded according to size, and can also be sub-graded within various categories.

Some of the most popular and sought after black tea leaves are from regions of Assam and Darjeeling in India, Ceylon in Sri Lanka, and Yunnan in China. There cannot be said to be that wide difference between the tea available from each region, since each tea is given its name because of the district from which it is produced and harvested, to create a distinction.

Black tea owes much of its popularity, especially in the US, to the fact that it is most widely available as tea bags, and is the tea used to make iced tea. It is also being touted to have much health benefits, since the tea is a host for high antioxidant content. The tea also holds traces of quite a number of trace elements needed by the body.

Black tea should be infused in water that has just come to a boil. Leaves should be steeped for 3-5 minutes. The longer end of the spectrum should be followed if the tea is to be taken with milk, as this will result in a warm creamy drink that is ideal to enjoy with tea cakes, or even crusty bread and butter.
About the Author
Mayoor Patel is the writer for the website http://leaf-tea.tea-universe.com. Please visit for information on all things concerned with Black Tea
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