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Black Tea

Tea - A Stimulating Beverage
The most popular beverage in today's stressful professional world, tea has always been characterized by its energy giving elements, making it one of the most versatile and highly preferred beverages throughout the globe, next only to water. Associated with low calories, it helps in proper digestion of the food, contributing in our growth and vitality. The wide variety of teas available in the market is all designed to keep us healthy and fit with due importance to our preference and taste. Among this variety is the black tea, a mass favorite of people who are conscious about their health and fitness and wanting to maintain their vitality and strength during and after a stressful day at work.
What is Black Tea?
Black tea is one of the many variants of tea that people have been consuming for many years throughout the world. It is more oxidized than the other varieties of tea. It is made from the leaves of 'Camellia Sinensis', a tea plant having an evergreen shrub. Like other forms of tea, it also contains caffeine, a stimulant that acts to invigorate our senses immediately. It also contains other important ingredients like polyphenols, vitamins, etc. Black tea is also referred to as a tea which is completely devoid of milk.

Varieties of Black Tea
The varieties of black tea available in the market has made it the most preferred beverage  in the world. The various types of black tea that can be found in the market are:
  • Assam Tea: It is named after Assam, the region of its production. Its leaves are grown at sea level and are high on briskness, malty flavor, shape, etc. The tea or their blends are known in the market as breakfast teas or 'wake-up' teas as it is filled with nutrients enough to give you strength throughout the day
  • Yunnan Tea: Produced in the Yunnan region of China, it has a high content of malt and pepper in it. The Yunnan black tea has two major varieties, namely, Yunnan congou black tea and Yunnan broken black tea
  • Darjeeling Tea: This variety of black tea is produced in Darjeeling, in West Bengal. Among all the other forms of black tea, this tea is considered to be the best. A light colored liquor, with sweet aroma being formed when its leaves are properly brewed. A cooling and sweet sensation is felt once this drink is consumed
  • Nilgiri Tea: Known for its briskness and tantalizing flavor, this tea is grown in the  hills of the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu. It is distinctively aromatic
  • Ceylon Tea: It is yet another form of black tea, grown in Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. It has a citrus taste to it and is used in the form of a blend as well as in unmixed form.
The basic sauces of ancient civilizations may have consisted of ingredients like vinegar, salt and oils with flavorings of olives, maybe figs or fruit pulps, or crushed seeds of plants like the sesame.

Today there are countless recipes of chili sauces in the world which differ on the basis of their ingredients, and the only thing they share in common is the use of chili peppers. To add extra heat, some additional ingredients are often used such as pure capsaicin extract and mustards.

Blends of Black Tea
Black tea can also be blended with various other plants to get beverages that are tasty and soothing to the senses. Some of the many blends of black tea are:

  • Earl Grey Tea: This blend is obtained from the oil extracted from the rind of citrus fruit known by the name of bergamont orange. It was named after the 2nd Earl Grey, the British Prime Minister of the 1830s. The flavor and aroma of this blend is distinct due to the presence of the bergamont oil
  • English Breakfast Tea: Described as rich, robust or full bodied blend, it is one of the most popular morning teas across the world. It is often described by the Indians as bed tea, due to the fact that it greatly strengthens the metabolism rate of the human body and keep one active throughout the day. The addition of milk and sugar gives it a distinctive taste and aroma

  • Irish Breakfast Tea: It is a blend many different varieties of black tea like Assam Tea, Darjeeling Tea, etc. The Irish breakfast tea has a malty, brisk brew. It can either by consumed with milk or even with lemon or without any added ingredient
  • Nepalese Afternoon Tea: Compiling blends of lotus, honey and sandalwood, this blend of black tea is found in the base of Mount Everest in the Himalayan region of Nepal.

Processing of Black Tea
The processing of black tea goes through several stages. These stages are:
  • The tea leaves are air blown to make them wither right after the harvest
  • To get the black tea, either of the two methods are made use of. The first method is known as Crush-Tear-Curl or CTC. The second method is known by the name of orthodox. The CTC method helps in extracting the best quality tea products from medium or low quality tea leaves. In the orthodox method, hand processing is done to process high quality teas. This results in a kind of tea, the taste of which is sought by many tea lovers
  • The next stage is the oxidation of the tea leaves which is done under controlled temperature and humidity. Various factors determine the quality of tea such as the quality and level of oxidation, the time taken to complete the stage of oxidation right from the stage of rolling of leaves, etc.
  • The leaves are then dried to stop the process of oxidation
  • The last stage involves grading of leaves according to their size, i.e., as whole leaves, brokens, fannings, dust, etc. The grading of leaves is done with the help of sieving and can be further divided as per certain other criteria
Grades of Black Tea Leaves
The black tea leaves are graded according to their length. As per this criteria, we have four different grades of black tea leaves. These are:
  • Whole Leaves: The whole tea leaves are of the highest quality and are used without any alteration in them. The presence of leaf tips make them the most valuable of all forms of tea leaves
  • Broken Leaves: They are sold as medium loose black teas and their varieties may also be used sometimes in tea bags
  • Fannings: Fannings are the small particles of tea that are left after the larger tea varieties have been produced. These leaves are sometimes exclusively manufactured for the production of tea bags
  • Dusts: They are the most finely grounded and powdered tea leaves left after the production of these aforementioned variety of leaves. Both fannings and dust have dark colors, completely devoid of sweetness, and have a strong flavor when brewed.
Health Benefits Associated with Black Tea
Black tea contains many health benefits and is therefore, a recommended source of drink. Some of the major health benefits associated with black tea are:
  • According to research, it helps in preventing asthma attacks as the presence of caffeine clears the air flow to the lungs
  • Black tea also helps in reducing the level cholesterol and works as a perfect antioxidant
  • Black tea also helps in curing patients suffering from diabetes. The consumption of black tea has shown a decline on the blood sugar level in diabetic patients and an increase in the insulin level in healthy patients
  • It also helps in improving mental alertness and keeping the sneeze clam and composed
  • Researchers also hold the belief that black tea might help in avoiding cavities and heart attacks
  • The preventions of osteoporosis is also possible in case of older women as it helps in  improving their bone density.
Major Producers of Black Tea
India is amongst the five major producers of black tea that also includes Japan, China, Sri Lanka and the Russian Federation. The companies that produce the largest quantity of black tea in the world are Unilever-Lipton with 17.6% production, Tata Tea-Tetley, with 4% production,  among others.
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