Varieties of Black Tea

Irish Breakfast Tea

Varieties of black tea and green tea could help you get rid of colds or boost your immune system. Did you know that the major difference between green tea and black tea is not the plant, but the fermentation process?

All teas grow from the same plants.

  • Green tea is steamed to prevent fermentation before being dried and rolled.
  • Black tea is allowed to ferment until the leaves turn a rusty red then the leaves are dried and rolled.

Black Tea Health Benefits

Here are some of the health benefits associated with drinking black tea:

  • Theanine, an amino acid present in the tea plant, boosts the disease-fighting capacity of gamma delta T cells.
  • In 2003, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital released details of a research project comparing coffee and tea drinkers and the response of their immune system when fighting infection. The results indicated that the tea drinkers had an anti-bacterial count up to five times higher than those who drank coffee.

So, drinking black tea is a healthy habit!

Most varieties of ‘plain’ black tea are particularly well-suited to cut the “fatty intakes” that a typical western breakfast offers (e.g., fried eggs, sausage, buttered toast, etc.) but flavors like vanilla, coconut, berries, etc. can also be infused through various techniques if you’d like to experiment with a bit more variety.

I personally prefer a ‘plain’ black tea in the morning, and a ‘flavored tea’ in the afternoon, along with some tasty tea biscuits.

Varieties of Black Tea

Here are a few common varieties of black teas:

  • Assam: Assam Tea comes from northeastern India. It’s a deep colored and rich tea that creates a full-bodied cup.
  • Ceylon: Ceylon Tea originates from Sri Lanka and when not blended with other teas or essential oils, it’s amongst the world’s favorite tea. It makes a great iced tea too.
  • Darjeeling: Darjeeling Tea is grown in plantations on the slopes of the Himalayan Mountains and is considered to be one of the finest teas on earth. It makes a bright golden red colored cup with a flowery aroma.
  • Keemun: Keemun Tea is a type of Chinese black tea with tightly curled leaves, and it makes an excellent breakfast tea. It makes a full and strong, red-colored cup with a smoky aroma.
  • Lapsong Souchong: Lapsang Souchong Tea originates from South China. The leaves are smoked over pine woods, which creates a very smoky flavor.
  • Pu’erh: Pu Erh Tea is another tea from China. This tea has a very earthy and strong flavor created by allowing bacteria to enter the leaf. The leaves are buried in the ground where they age.
  • Yunnan: Black Yunnan Tea comes from southwestern China. Its long green leaves have golden tips and create a rich spicy taste with a hint of floral aroma. It makes a good iced tea and goes well with spicy food.

Loose or Bagged Tea?

Black loose leaf tea existed way before black tea bags came along. Tea bags were invented by Thomas Sullivan, a tea and coffee merchant from New York City in 1904, as a way to make tea drinking more convenient.  I personally prefer the loose-leaf variety, whenever possible.

Here are some common “off-the-shelf” tea names that you will recognize:

  • English Breakfast: English Breakfast Tea is a blend of teas from India and Sri Lanka. English Breakfast is perfect if you like a full bodied flavor and it goes well with milk.
  • Irish Breakfast: Irish Breakfast Tea contains more Assam and Sri Lanka teas than the English Breakfast blend, and as such, it is heartier. You can add milk and sugar for a different taste.
  • Earl Grey: Earl Grey Tea is my favorite regular blend of black loose leaf tea. It contains bergamot essential oil whose strength varies from one supplier to the next. Delicious in the morning!

All of these are available through Adagio Teas. I highly recommend them for their quality teas, tea equipment and fast service. I’m one of their biggest fans and I’m a regular customer because they provide delicious fresh teas at a reasonable price, and they ship to Canada!

If you’re unsure which variety would best suit your palate, a good place to start would be to get a black tea sampler kit like the one shown below.

Varieties of Black Tea - Black Tea Sampler