Black tea is a major part of traditional British and Indian cultures and is produced mostly in China, India and Sri Lanka.
Black tea is unique because it retains its flavor longer, unlike other teas that lose flavor within a year (with the notable exception of Pu-erh). It contains caffeine, plus other compounds which benefit the body.
Black tea is more processed than other varieties of tea. Such processing is necessary to for the the full flavor that we've come to associate with it and helps the tea to retain its flavor longer.
High altitudes and regular rainfall are essential factors in producing high quality black tea. Flushes are hand-picked (even today) from tea bushes, dried under the sun or through mechanical means, and then bruised to release enzymes necessary for oxidation.
The leaves undergo oxidation ranging from 45 minutes to 3 hours. The process requires carefully controlled temperature and humidity to prevent loss of flavor and actual decomposition. The final tea product is then graded according to size, and then rolled and dried again before packing it into tea bags or loose form then shipped.
Black teas contain several compounds that can benefit the body. It contains caffeine, an effective stimulant that helps maintain alertness, improve memory and creativity. Tea contains more caffeine than coffee per weight, but because less tea is needed to prepare it, a cup of tea still contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee.
Many people find black tea a good remedy for headache. It is also good for low blood pressure and to stimulate sluggish metabolism. It can help people lose weight because it speeds up metabolism of body fat during exercise.
Black teas can handle higher temperatures (ranging from 90 C to 100 C) and longer brewing times (3 to 4 minutes) unlike other kinds of teas, which demand lower temperatures. But like other teas, black teas become astringent and bitter if brewed longer.
A teaspoon of black tea in 6 oz. cup of water is needed to brew a perfect cup of black tea. First, put loose tea or tea bag in the cup then pour freshly boiled water. Let it steep for 3 to 4 minutes, and then strain (not needed if using a teabag) before drinking. You can add sugar or milk if desired.
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