About Black Tea
Bold and Undiscovered
The most commonly drunk tea type in the West, and yet the least understood in terms of the sheer variety and depth of black teas out there. From a light and crisp Nilgiri Frost, or Darjeeling First Flush made from the freshest spring shoots, to a deeply decadent Yunnan Gold from the rich soils of China’s Yunnan Province; there is a world of black tea beyond your breakfast brew just waiting to be explored.
The Taste of True Black Tea
Black teas can be beautifully rich and bold, or gently delicate and fragrant. Often drunk as a low quality, dust tea bag – where strength is prioritised over flavour, the true taste quality of black teas can sadly be completely overlooked.
A true breakfast tea should be rich and robust, but more importantly exhibit strength of flavour. We choose to use 100% Assam in our Assam breakfast blend because it provides the perfect combination of strength, assertiveness and rich malty flavour that is so satisfying in the morning.
At the other end of the spectrum a sweet Darjeeling First Flush exhibits all the freshness of Spring in a supremely light and floral taste, with a pleasing astringency and hints of elusive muscatel flavour. There are black teas to please all taste preferences and occasions.
How Black Tea is Made
The Key: Full Oxidisation
In the production process leaves destined to be black tea must be fully oxidised. To achieve this, after the initial wither stage the leaves are rolled or macerated to expose the inner enzymes to the air. The oxidisation reaction is then encouraged by placing the leaves in hot humid conditions for several hours. Thereafter the leaves are shaped and dried in a variety of ways, determining the final result.
Pickers carefully and quickly select suitable leaves from the tea bush.
The leaves are laid out in ambient conditions to allow them to wilt and lose moisture.
The leaves are rolled to break open the cells of the leaf and allow full oxidisation.
Allowing the leaves to react with oxygen to change the colour and flavour of the tea.
To create the unique style of each tea, such as Taiwan Red Jade.
To reduce the moisture content of the leaves to 5% for storage.
Black Tea Making Tips
Key Making Tips
Whereas for green teas cooler water is recommended to avoid extracting bitter-tasting tannins, in black teas, the oxidisation process alters polyphenols in tea from tannins (e.g. catechins) to thearubigins and gives a more delicious fruity flavour that requires 95°C+ to be fully extracted. Many high quality loose leaf black teas can be re-infused at least twice, but be sure to fully decant each infusion to avoid over-infusing. Read our carefully designed recipes on each product page.