There are two main varieties of tea plants, the small leaved Chinese variety (Camellia sinesisis) and the large leaved assamica plant (Camellia assamica) both are mainly used for black tea. These tea plants can grow into a tree but are typically pruned to waist height for easier plucking.
Ceylonese black tea is produced in Sri Lanka (formally Ceylon). Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar, the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the Maldives. Ceylonese black tea is one of the most popular black teas. The black pekoe version has a unique drying process. The leaves are fermented prior to drying which causes the essential oils to be preserved. The taste of the tea may vary from region to region, the aroma of the tea is similar to that of citrus.
Ceylon black teas come in numerous varieties based on the region. Dimbulla and Dickoya teas are cultivated at a level of 3,500 feet or higher. The Kandy variety is a district of tea grown at 2,500 feet or more. The Morawk Korale tea is grown at 2,500 feet. The Nuwara Eliya is grown at a high altitude of 6,000 feet or more and Uva is cultivated at 2,800 feet or more. Each region produces a distinct taste and uniqueness to the tea. Ceylon black teas are very good for blending teas and are specifically good for iced tea because they don't have the bitterness and the cloudiness that comes from brewing certain types of black tea.
Chinese black teas are divided into two main categories: Northern Chinese (Keemun teas from Anhui province and similar teas such as Golden Monkey) and Southern Chinese which are the black teas from the Yunnan province. The Chinese black tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis, this tea bush produces a flavor that is a lot brisker and lighter then the Indian and Ceylon black teas.
Pu-Erh is a special kind of tea which is made from green or black tea, fermented (using a secret process passed down for centuries), and pressed into cakes or bricks and stored for several years before being offered for sale. Aged Pu-Erh is also available as a loose tea. Like a fine wine, Pu-Erh's flavor mellows and improves over time – some highly prized (and very expensive!) Pu-Erh Cakes are over 30 years old!
Indian black tea typically comes from Assam. Assam is the world's largest tea-growing region, lying on either side of the Brahmapura River, and bordering Bangladesh and Burma. Assam black tea is produced from the plant Camellia assamica which is a little different from the Chinese tea plant Camellia sinesisis. The leaves of the Assam tea bush are dark green and glossy and fairly wide compared to the Chinese tea plant. It produces delicate white blossoms.
This black tea is known for its body, briskness, malty flavor, and strong bright color. This black tea is harvested twice, a "first flush" and a "second flush". The first flush is picked during late March. The second flush is harvested later and is sweeter and more full-bodied. The second flush is generally considered superior to the first flush tea. There are three major tea producing areas in India: Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri. Black teas are also available from Sikkim, an area bordering Darjeeling.
English Style black teas are a blend of teas originating from different regions. English breakfast tea is traditionally a blend of teas from Assam, Ceylon and Kenya. It is one of the most popular blended teas and the most common in the British tea culture.
It has not been proven that drinking black tea can prevent or treat any health conditions but many studies have shown that drinking black tea may offer some health benefits. Always consult your doctor and do your research but black tea has been used for centuries for social, medical and cultural purposes.
My name is Tara Olson, I live with my never failing husband and two amazing children
in the high mountain desert
of Southwest Colorado. I enjoy healthy living, photography, cooking, gardening, the outdoors, yoga, spending "tyme" with the family, and drinking great tea! Life is complicated, so I try and simplify as much as possible in order to enjoy my tyme. Please join me in this journey called life!