A Guide to Black Tea

Fancy getting to grips with the basics of black tea? Discover what makes this tea type an all-day, everyday favourite in the West…
Did you know?
In China, black tea is known as "red tea" due to its deep red colour.

What Is Black Tea?

As with oolong, green, yellow, white and puerh tea, black tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Where it differs is how the leaves are processed after being picked. Black tea is fully oxidised, meaning that molecules in the tea react with oxygen to give the leaves a rich, robust flavour. Aside from that, black tea is produced across the globe and can vary hugely in taste: a delicate Darjeeling could hardly be more different from a malty Assam or a smoky Lapsang Souchong.
Many of our black teas are flavoured with fruit, spices or even flower petals, or infused with essential oils to complement the flavour of the tea. Their natural depth and richness makes them the perfect base for a wide range of different flavour combinations.

 


How Is Black Tea Made?
Black teas are unique for being the only completely oxidised type of tea, giving them a distinctively full body and rich, malty taste.
Some teas are finally fired to achieve smoky, roasted flavours.

 

 


How Do You Brew Black Tea?
Black tea is more robust than other tea types, so don't hold back: we recommend brewing in freshly boiled water for 3–5 minutes and adding a splash of milk if you wish. An exception is First Flush Darjeeling, which is unusually delicate for black tea and should be brewed at around 96-100°C for no longer than 3 or 5 minutes.

1 teaspoon  96 - 100 degrees 3 - 5 minutes

 

A Note From Our Tea Expert
“When I need a kick-start in the morning, I brew a mix of our Assam TGFOP1 and Chelsea Breakfast. Both are really lovely breakfast-style teas in their own right but the combination of thick, malty Assam and the bright, smooth Kenyan tea in the Chelsea Breakfast works really well... both on flavour and waking me up.”
Linda, Tea Buyer

 

Our Bestselling Black Teas

ENGLISH BREAKFAST

Our number one bestseller: rich and malty.

EARL GREY

An English classic with hints of bergamot

ENGLISH ROSE

Black tea blended with delicate rosebuds

DARJEELING

Distinctly delicate with a dessert wine sweetness.

PICCADILLY BLEND

A classic black tea base layered with floral flavours.


EXPLORE BLACK TEA
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