Black Tea: A Beginner’s Guide

Here we are, five days in, and I haven’t even written about tea yet! I thought it appropriate to start the tea journey with a little information on the most widely known and used of all teas.

Black tea, the brew often referred to as just “tea”, is a fully fermented tea which has a strong aroma and taste, and can produce a dark coloured infusion. Fermentation of tea leaves is the process by which the polyphenols in the leaves are oxidised to form coloured compounds, giving the fresh green tea leaf a colour ranging from dark green through to black. The fermentation process used for a particular tea will determine the resulting taste.

golden darjeeling

OP (Orange Pekoe), BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe), Fannings, and Dust are the four common ways of grading black tea. The more whole the leaf, the higher the quality and the more valuable the tea – with Orange Pekoe consisting of long pointed leaves picked as the buds open into leaf, while Fannings and Dust are the highly processed small particles found in most commercial tea bags. The reason why these are favoured by large-scale manufacturers is because the smaller particle size means that the brew is strong and ready to drink in an instant. This does compromise the brew flavour – the smaller the particle, the more harsh the taste is. We prefer to keep all of our tea ingredients as whole as possible to ensure the highest quality brew.

The word “orange” in the description of black teas doesn’t have anything to do with the fruit orange, it is believed that this term comes from one of two sources:

1. The Dutch royal House of Orange-Nassau. The Dutch East India Company performed central role in bringing tea to Europe and may have marketed the tea as “Orange” to suggest a royal warrant.
2. The copper color of a high-quality, oxidized leaf before drying, or the final bright orange color of the dried pekoes in the finished tea. These usually consist of one leaf bud and two leaves that are covered in fine, downy hair. The orange color is produced when the tea is fully oxidized.

*information sourced from wikipedia.org

There is much debate as to whether black, white, or green teas are more nutritious. Considering that all three types are from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, it follows that they will be of very similar nutritional composition, with the fermentation process being the crucial factor in changing the nutrient ratios. Black tea is higher in caffeine than other teas due to the particular fermentation process used. The Chinese consider our black tea to be a post-fermented Pu-erh.

We currently have the following black tea blends available in our online store:

violetViolet Black
Let yourself drift into the serene blue with this soothing blend of bergamot-infused black tea, blue flowers and vanilla pods. Use 1 teaspoon per person. This makes a wonderful hot brew or iced summer drink.
Ingredients: earl grey tea*, vanilla pods*, lavender flowers*, heather flowers, blue cornflower petals

citrusCitrus Black
Wonderful as an afternoon pick-me-up brew. This black tea blend embraces the bright flavours of orange and lemon, with the vibrant addition of calendula petals and glorious osmanthus blossoms. Use 1 teaspoon per person. This makes a wonderful hot brew or iced summer drink.
Ingredients: orange pekoe (OP) tea*, orange segments*, lemon peel*, golden osmanthus, calendula petals*

berryBerry Black
Rich antioxidant berries harmonise beautifully with tangy hibiscus and fragrant rosebuds in this sensual black tea blend. Use 1 teaspoon per person. This makes a wonderful hot brew or iced summer drink.
Ingredients: orange pekoe (OP) tea*, dried strawberries*, dried cranberries*, dried apple*, hibiscus*, red rosebuds, rosehip shells*, strawberry leaves

vanillaVanilla Black
Simply black tea and vanilla pods. This blend is matured so that the divine flavour of vanilla is infused into every leaf. Use 1 teaspoon per person.
Ingredients: orange pekoe (OP) tea*, vanilla pods*

barleyBarley Black
A full-bodied blend which combines the hearty flavour of whole roasted barley with dandelion and chicory together in a base of orange pekoe. Use 1 teaspoon per person.
Ingredients: orange pekoe (OP) tea*, roasted barley, dandelion root*, chicory root*

 

outbackOutback Brew
This blend combines the medium rich Australian Daintree black tea with the bright flavours of striking rosella flowers and lemon myrtle leaves. The perfect morning cuppa. Use 1 teaspoon per person. From the heart of North Queensland, the Daintree tea plantation produces a medium strength black tea which is low in caffeine and tannin.
Ingredients: Australian Daintree black tea, rosella*, lemon myrtle*

 

darjeelingGolden Darjeeling
This tea is from the Namring Upper Estate in the mountainous Darjeeling region of India, and is often referred to as the “Champagne of Tea”. A smooth, medium-strength tea with malty and smoky undertones. TG FOP grade, 2nd flush. Use 1 teaspoon per person.
Ingredients: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (TGFOP) tea (Camellia sinensis)

russianRussian Caravan
A very smoky brew reminiscent of starry nights and stories around the campfire. For those who like a strong and full-flavoured tea. Use 1 teaspoon per person.
Ingredients: orange pekoe (OP) tea (Camellia sinensis)

turkish teaTurkish Black
A medium strength, spray-free black tea from Turkey. Not bitter even if overbrewed. Black tea is traditionally served with sugar cubes in Turkey. Although these leaves are cut rather than whole, this blend creates an infusion which is not bitter, even if over-brewed. Use 1 teaspoon per person.
Ingredients: black tea (Camellia sinensis)
*denotes certified organic ingredients

Click here to purchase black teas from Wildflower Botanicals

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