Black tea has a deep history, even though we have been familiar with it in these days. The history can’t be described just by which the development of tea producing method, but also by which has entwined the nations with each cultural, political, and religious backbone. In history, tea culture was developed in China. The ancient Chinese people drank teas as a miraculous medicine to be perpetual youth and longevity. Even after teas had been exported into Europe by the Dutch East India Company since 17th century, it was exorbitantly high-priced; therefore, black tea was luxury item only the nobility was able to taste it.
However, there were three Tomas, who contributed to make black tea popular throughout the world: Garaway, Twining, and Lipton. We can now enjoy black tea with several ways in any situations. You may drink iced lemon tea on the hammock in Hawaii. You may drink a cup of Assam teas with honey or Okinawa brown cane sugar and have a piece of toast at breakfast. However, the teas might not be used in the proper way. In order to enjoy black tea, we need to recognize it accurately. Black tea can be classified into the types of tea plant, the seasons, the regions, the grading, and the method of brewing.
First of all, black tea is classified into two categories: tea leaves and beverage. Tea leaves of black tea is defined as being fully oxidized and often yields a full-bodied amber brew. Oxidization is essential in the formation of flavor and aroma compounds, which give a tea its liquor color, strength, and briskness. Black tea usually require 100 percent oxidization by which black tea is generally strong in flavor than the less oxidized teas, such as green tea and oolong tea. Black tea is produced through five manufacturing stages: withering, rolling, oxidizing, and drying.
Withering is utilized to remove surplus water from the leaves. Rolling makes the leaves wrapped around itself by using a rolling machine, and it is also described as shaping of tea leave. During this rolling step, black tea may be added another flavor or aroma. Drying is generally the last step of producing black tea and is responsible for flavor compounds. It includes panning, sunning, air drying, and baking. Black tea is also described as beverage. There are various ways of brewing and drinking black tea depend on each country.
It makes the diversity of black tea which produced from just a type of tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. Black tea’s plant is initially classified two principal varieties of the species: Chinese plant and Assam plant. Chinese plant, in general, is small-leaved plant. The characteristic is that its flavor and aroma is finely sensibility. Darjeeling in India and high-grown tea in Sri Lanka use this type of tea, while it is usually used for the most of other types of teas. On the other hand, Assam plant is large-leaved plant and is mainly used for black tea. It includes lots of tannin which makes its flavor strong.
Black tea is further classified into seven types of black tea grading: Bohea, Congou, Souchong, Pekoe, Orange Pekoe, and Flowery Orange Pekoe. The Grading of tea leaves is based on the size and wholeness, and the level of breakage of the leaves. The size and wholeness are essential factors; they greatly influence on the taste and the brewing time of tea. The tea industry describes a basic, medium-grade black tea as orange pekoe, OP. Pekoe tea is a fine grade of tea that includes young leaves and bud, which is also referred as tips. The tea had “a rich forest-like scent with a hint of bitterness and a sweet finish. Bohea is the lowest-located, biggest leaves. Congou is the second lowest-located leaves. Souchong leaves are located upon the middle of plants. Orange Pekoe is the biggest leaves. Flowery Orange Pekoe is the same size as Orange Pekoe, but includes lots of young leaves and tips. Flowery refers to tips that are immature and not opened yet. Flowery Orange Pekoe is often considered as the most valuable tea leaves, due to its scarcity value. Tips are even further classified into silver tips and golden tips. Silver tips are natural seasoning, which means naturally dries tea leaves. Golden tips are that have silver tips dyed with tea infusion.
Flowery Orange Pekoe teas, including golden tips, turn into gold when brewing. Golden tips are even further classified into 5 tea grading: Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, Silver Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, and Silver Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe refers to that Flowery Orange Pekoe includes golden tips, and that has beautiful gold color. Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe refers to that Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe includes a lot of golden tips. Tippy refers to the golden tips.
Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe is that Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe is almost compounded of golden tips. Silver Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe is that Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe is almost compound of silver tips. Silver Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe is the most valuable tea, which includes lots of golden tips and silver ones. Those golden tips lessen the astringency of a tea; therefore, producing a sweeter and smoother infusion. Black tea leaf grading is even further classified into four scales of quality by different ways of finishing products: whole leaves, broken leaves, fannings, and dusts.
Whole leaves are produced with almost no alteration to the tea leaves. It results in a long time of brewing and in a coarser texture. Whole leaf teas are generally the most valuable and expensive, due to its scarcity value, especially if they contain leaf tips. Broken leaves refer to cutting ones. It takes less time to brew than whole leaf tea. It is further classified into Broken Orange Pekoe and Broken Pekoe. Broken Orange Pekoe refers to that cutting Orange Pekoe into fine pieces. It is even further classified into Golden Broken Orange Pekoe, which refers to that cutting Orange Pekoe, including golden tips, into fine pieces.
Broken Pekoe refers to that cutting Pekoe into fine pieces. Fannings refers to the leaves that are crashed into a powder state. It is even further classified into Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings, which refer to that crash Broken Orange Pekoe into powdered. Dusts refer to the leaves that are almost powdery, for example, Japanese green tea is produced by this method. Tea leaves are also classified into seasonal classifications: First Flush, Early First Flush, Second Flush, Autumnal, Best Season, and Quality Season. The quality of the tea depends on the time when the leaves are picked.
First Flush refers to the first picking season of the year, which is generally around March. It has a rich and fresh aroma, and even a green tint because of slight fermentation. Early First Flush is the very earliest of the First Flush teas. Second Flush refers to the second picking season of the year, which is generally around May and June. Second Flush teas are a little sweeter and smoother than First Flush teas. However, it is well-balanced and has an intense liquor color. Autumnal refers to the tea that is picked in autumn. The quality is less than Second Flush teas; leaves have less luster.
In Sri Lanka, Best Season refers to duration in which increases the amount of sending out buds. Quality Season refers to duration in which high quality tea leaves are produced. Black tea is classified into regional classifications: China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Indonesia. Chinese teas tend to be smoky and not to be bitter. It has a characteristic that is capable of being adsorbed with flavor, such as Earl Grey. Chinese teas are further classified into two major regional classifications: Keemun and Lapsang souchong. Keemun is produced in the Qimen County.
In history, the excellence of Keemun teas gained popularity and expand throughout England. It has become the most essential ingredient of the English Breakfast tea blend. It has fruity aroma, with scent of pine and dried plum, and floweriness which is well-balanced; however, it is not as floral as Darjeeling tea. Depending on the way of processing, Keemun teas can be more bitter and smoky in taste. Keemun tea is even further classified into four typical classifications: Keemun Congou, Keemun Mao Feng, Keemun Xin Ya, and Keemun Hao Ya.
Keemun Congou is produced with special skill called “Congou” in order to create thin, tight strips without breaking the tea leaves. Keemun Mao Feng is compounded with slightly twisted tips, so it brings out unique flavor by brewing up to seven minutes. Keemun Xin Ya uses the early tips to bring out less bitterness. Keemun Hao Ya is generally compounded with fine tips and described as the highest grade. Lapsang souchong is literally referred as “Small plant from Lapu Mountain. ” It is usually smoked tea, because the tea leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fires; therefore, it is different from all other types of black teas.
Lapsang souchong has strong and smoky flavor, and high grade one has a taste of longan for the first brew. In India, they cultivate both Chinese plant and Assam plant. Indian teas are further classified into nine regional classifications: Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, Sikkim, Dooard, Arunachal Pradesh, Travancore, Terai, and Kangra. Assam tea has briskness, malty flavor, and bright color. It is commonly sold as breakfast teas. Assam tea is generally classified into first flush and second flush. Because of the gold tips, the second flush is sweeter and more full-bodied than the first one.
It goes well with milk, because of its sweet flavor and strong taste. Darjeeling tea is produced in West Bengal, India. It has a thin-bodied and light-colored infusion, with a floral aroma. Darjeeling tea is also described as “muscatel” because of its musky, spicy flavor. Darjeeling tea is even further classified into two specific types: Darjeeling white tea and Darjeeling oolong. Darjeeling white tea has a delicate aroma and a pale golden color. Darjeeling oolong is lighter in flavor than Darjeeling black tea, because it is semioxidized. It is even further classified into two types: Chinese and clonal ones of Darjeeling oolong teas.
Chinese Darjeeling oolong tea has very slight muscatel flavor. Clonal Darjeeling oolong tea has flowery and spicy taste. Nilgiri tea generally has a dark color and aromatic fragrance. It is produced in the southern part of the Western Ghats Mountains of Southern India. Dooard tea is produced in the northern part of India. It has a strong taste, so goes well with milk. Sikkim tea is also produced in the northern part of India. Although it is similar to Darjeeling tea, it is less bitter than Darjeeling tea. Sri Lanka tea is generally described as Ceylon tea, because Sri Lanka used to be Ceylon.
Sri Lanka tea is further classified into three classifications: high-grown tea, medium-grown tea, and low-grown tea. High-grown tea is that produced in the factories which are located above 4,000 feet. It has unique flavor and refreshing bitterness. It is even further classified into three different regions: Uva, Nuwara-Elliya, and Dimbula. Uva tea is produced in the southeast part of Ceylon and described as one of the three greatest black teas in the world, as well as Darjeeling and Keemun. The flavor is referred to as “Uva flavor. ” It has slight bitterness and a scent like a rose.
Nuwara-Elliya tea is produced in the central part of Ceylon. It has bright orange color and fresh flavor. Dimbula tea is produced in the central part of Ceylon. It has a strong flavor. Medium-grown tea is that produced in the factories which are located from 2,000 to 4,000 feet. It has rich flavor and strong bitterness. It is suited for blend teas. It is even further classified into two different regions: Kandy and Ruhuna. Kandy tea is produced in the central part of Ceylon. While it has less flavor and bitterness, it has a strong taste and a bright red color.
Ruhuna tea is produced in the southern part of Ceylon. It has dark red color and an unique, smoky flavor. Low-grown tea is that produced in the factories which are located beneath 2,000 feet. It is even further classified into two different regions: Galle and Ratnapura. Galle tea is produced in the southern part of Ceylon. It has bright orange color. It goes well with milk. Ratnapura tea is produced in the middle part of Ceylon. The tea has a dark red color. It has like chocolate flavor. It is commonly used as Chai. Russian tea is famous for Georgie, which has sweet flavor. Turkish tea is famous for Rize.
Although black tea is produced in Africa, such as Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique, those teas are used as blend tea. Blended tea is basically classified into two types. To blend teas give a tea some advantage which is possible to create a well-balanced and unique flavor which is not able to be created by the original teas. Companies conduct the process of blending, so each type of black teas is named after the companies. One type is blended tea that compounded with several types of teas which come from different regions. The other type is blended tea that compounded with several types of teas which come from the same regions.
Blended tea is even further classified into three varieties: Breakfast, Afternoon tea, and Russian Caravan. Breakfast tea is robust and full-bodied. It goes well with milk. It is even further classified into three well-known types: English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, and Scottish Breakfast. English Breakfast tea is a traditional blend originated from Assam, Ceylon, and Kenya. Some well-known brands of English Breakfast tea are Twinings, Dilmah, Taylors of Harrogate, Ahmad Tea, Qualitea, and Darvilles of Windsor. Irish Breakfast has strong taste, so that it is commonly served with milk and sugar.
Some well-known brands of Irish Breakfast tea are Lyons, Barry’s, Nambarrie’s, and Punjana. Afternoon tea is generally lighter in flavor than Breakfast tea. The most famous brand is Prince of Wales. Russian Caravan often contains a few smoky Lapsang souchong, while it is basically blended with Keemun. Scented tea is produced by the extra additions. It is classified into three classifications by the ingredients: flowers, herbs, and other flavorings. Flavor teas are usually combined with a variety of flowers. Jasmine tea is the most common flavor tea, which makes people relax with floral scent.
Some flowers are occasionally left in the tea as a decoration. Osmanthus tea is produced by blending dried Sweet Osmanthus flowers with black tea leaves. The flower gives the tea a mild peach flavor. Rose tea gives the tea luxury appearance. Regarding the classification of herbal teas, they might be used as medicinal teas because of the effect of herbs. Other flavorings are classified into citrus oil, smoke, spice, rum, roasted grain, and quince. Regarding citrus oil, although it can produce vast types of flavor teas, with any suitable citrus oil, the most famous one is Earl Grey tea.
It is typically a mix of bergamot essential oils with black teas. Lapsang souchong is produced by drying black teas over smoking pine needles, which gives the tea a striking smoky flavor. Regarding chai of India, it is flavored with sweet spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, anise, nutmeg, and vanilla. There is even an alcoholic tea that blended rum with black tea, which is called Jagertee. Quince gives sweet taste and flavor. Regarding the way of making a cup of tea, it is a factor making various differences to black teas from a type of tea plant.
It is classified into four ways: brewing method, boiling method, stewing method, and filtering method. Brewing method is the most common way and brewing by putting tea leaves into a pot and by letting them steam for a while after poring boiled water. It needs boiled water because lukewarm water is not enough to abstract tea, so that it is better to pre-heat a pot especially in winter, in order to avoid letting boiled water tepid. With brewing method, powdered teas, such as Broken Orange Pekoe, takes 2 minutes to abstract, while whole leaf teas, such as Orange Pekoe, require 5 minutes at most.
Boiling method refers to that puts black teas into a pot and boil in it. The advantage of this method is possible to make a large amount of tea at once and easily to change the flavor by the alternations of the abstracting time. The black tea brewed by boiling method is generally classified into milk tea or spice tea. Milk tea is defined as by which cold milk put into black tea. Spice teas are defined as by which put milk into black tea after abstracting it with boiled water and then add spices such as cinnamon or ginger.
Stewing method is similar to boiling method, but it is defined using milk to abstract black tea, while boiling method uses water to abstract. Stewing method takes more time to abstract than boiling method, because it uses milk instead of water. Indian chai is the most famous tea that adapts stewing method. The crucial difference between stewing method and boiling one is that while boiling method regards scent as the most important point, so stops firing before the tea is completely boiled; stewing method regards thickness of milk and flavor of spices, so boils the tea again and again.
Filtering method is the worst one, because it is difficult to adjust the thickness of the tea. In conclusion, it is not possible to produce the very same tea as well as wine. The quality of black tea is extremely easy to be influenced by various factors, such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, and so on. Moreover, the difference of drying time also affects it. Even though it is a small difference, the flavor and aroma of teas are largely dependent upon those factors. On the other hand, there are also unique ways of drinking teas depend on each culture, which result in the further diversity of black tea.
Many people enjoy black tea with their own favorite ways. You can enjoy drinking it straight and you can enjoy its aroma with sugar, milk, or even honey. The flexibility is one of the reasons which people have been familiar with black tea for a long time. While the flexibility of black tea, there are severe manners within some tea cultures, such as afternoon tea in England and Japanese tea ceremony. Afternoon tea has a custom that people should care not only the taste, but also enjoy the harmony the traditional decor of a cop and saucer with liquor color of teas.
Within Japanese tea ceremony, people usually require several years to study its manners and to understand the meaning of each action deeply. The tea ceremony itself is almost art as well as paintings. For Japanese, the tea ceremony is not only the place in which they enjoy tea itself, but also in which they train upright, strong mind. Each tea culture deeply influences the nations. If you want to be like the Japanese empress, drink green tea; if you want to be like the Queen Elizabeth, drink black tea every day.