Black tea has helped to revolutionize the beverage market. Over the years, the exotic drink has become the world’s most popular tea. In fact, 80 percent of the tea consumed in the U.S. is actually of the black tea variety.
Perhaps black tea is so popular because of its boldness–it is darker and stronger than green tea is.
The Preparation Process
After plucking, black tea leaves are spread out so that they can dry. Then, the leaves are rolled and fermented. As little as two hours later, the leaves are heated so that the moisture can be removed. The quality of black tea varies according to a number of different factors.
These include the origin of the black tea, the conditions in which it’s grown, and the competence of the manager of the tea estate. Therefore, a quality black tea garden is dependent as much on the skill of the grower as the soil conditions of the actual plot of land.
In general, black tea grows best in areas that are warm and are of altitudes of anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 feet. Because teas at high altitudes tend to grow more slowly, they produce a tea of greater flavor. The tea gardens of India’s Darjeeling region and Sri Lanka’s Uva district are greater than 6,000 feet high. Although tea grows best in a dry season, rain is necessary for the tea leaves to survive.
Taking a Closer Look at black tea Varieties
Fortunately, there are a number of tantalizing tea varieties you can try that are as rich in quality as they are in flavor. For instance, you might consider Honey Pear, a version of black tea which combines the fruity taste of the pear tree with the sweet taste of honey. Served hot or iced, Honey Pear is reminiscent of an exotic dessert.
An intriguing alternative would be Nepalese Afternoon Tea, a tea which is derived from the base of Mount Everest in Nepal. This loose-leaf tea combines lotus, honey, and sandalwood to form a delicious, memorable blend.
Yet another possibility is Pu-erh, a loose-leaf tea which is among the most popular tea blends in Asia. Pu-erh is known for its sweet, earthy scent and its multitude of health benefits.
One of the key points to keep in mind about black tea is its distinctive flavor. Because of the manner in which it has been processed, it can easily be differentiated from other forms of tea. Once you’ve sampled black tea, chances are you will never be nostalgic for other types of tea. While black tea may be an acquired taste, once you’ve become accustomed to it, you’ll probably want to make black tea-drinking a lifelong habit.
Research indicates there are many health benefits associated with black tea. For instance, since caffeine can improve airflow to the lungs, drinking black tea may be beneficial to individuals with asthma. Some research also indicates that the polyphenols in black tea have antioxidant qualities which may make them helpful in the fight against cancer.
In addition, researchers believe that black tea may be helpful in preventing cavities and heart attacks. There are some indications that the beverage may enhance memory, improve mental performance, and enhance alertness. Interestingly enough, drinking black tea may also help to prevent osteoporosis by improving bone density in older women.
The Safety of Black Tea
It should be pointed out that the Food and Drug Administration does not monitor the safety of herbs and supplements. As a result, it is important that you check with your doctor before radically changing your daily diet to include copious amounts of black tea.
In general, people who have an allergy to caffeine or tannin should not drink black tea, since such consumption may lead to a skin rash or hives. The caffeine in black tea may also increase urine output, decrease blood sodium/potassium levels, and can worsen incontinence.
In addition, caffeine can increase the amount of acid in the stomach, leading to ulcers and can increase blood sugar levels. As a result, black tea may not be appropriate for people who suffer from complications from diabetes. Individuals who have serious liver disease may also be impacted negatively by the caffeine in black tea.
Some Final Thoughts
Finding a high-quality black tea is really not that difficult, considering all the various varieties that are available today. Once you begin drinking black tea, you may find that you are hooked for life. The more you drink this unusual beverage, the more you’ll come to appreciate its many attributes.
Even the most finicky tea connoisseurs tend to have high praise for black tea. While it may not be called the beverage of champions, it certainly is a stellar brew that can appeal not only to your taste buds, but to your desire for good health as well.