For those of you who did not know as well as those who want to refresh their memories, black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the green, oolong and white varieties. Amazingly, all four varieties are made from the same plant – or should I say leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea is known for its stronger flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas – green, oolong, or white.
Generally, unblended black teas are named after the region in which they are produced. Often, different regions are known for producing teas with characteristic flavors. The first region of teas listed below are Chinese black teas.
- Lapsang Souchong (正山小种 or 烟小种): originally from Mount Wuyi, Fujian Province, China. It is a black tea which is dried over burning pine, thereby developing a strong smoky flavour.
- Keemun (祁門) : from Qimen, Anhui Province, China, a Chinese Famous Tea.
- Dian Hong (滇紅): from Yunnan Province, China. Well known for dark malty teas and golden bud teas.
- Ying De Hong (英徳紅): from Guangdong Province, China.
- Ju Qiu Mei Hong: from Hu Fou district, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China.
I have not purchased black teas in a while, therefore the next time I do, I will refer back to this list to determine which I am drinking. The next region of teas listed come from India and Sri Lanka:
- Assam: from Assam, India. Full bodied, strong and distinctively malty.
- Darjeeling: from West Bengal, India.
- Kangra: from Himachal Pradesh, India.
- Nilgiri: from Nilgiri, Tamil Nadu, India.
- Ceylon: from Sri Lanka.
Rest assured, I plan to research my Indian Spice tea to determine which category it falls into. As always, I will keep you posted as soon as I find out. To finalize my list of teas from around the world, I discovered that several other regions offer distinctive, well known black teas.
- Kenyan: from Africa, similar to Assam.
- Vietnamese: from Vietnam, similar to some cheaper Yunnan teas, with a pleasant and sweet aroma but a more bodied and darker brew; unlike teas from Nepal or Darjeeling.
- Nepalese: from uplands of Nepal. Somewhat similar to lower grades of Darjeeling.
- Rize Tea (Çay): from Rize Province on the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey, that is crystal clear and mahogany in colour. Prepared in a samovar or a caydanlik, it can be served strong (“koyu” dark) or weak (“açik” light), in small glasses with cubed sugar.
- Thai tea: from Thailand
- Azerbaijani tea: from Caucasus in Azerbaijan
- Georgian tea: from Caucasus in Georgia
- Krasnodar tea: from Caucasus in Russia
- Java tea: from Indonesia, has got nutty aroma, very different from both Chinese and Indian teas.
- Sumatra tea: from Indonesia, similar to Java tea.
The next time you prepare to brew a soothing cup of black tea, check the label to determine from where the leaves originated and the category of black tea to which it belongs. Then return and share your experience.
Happy tea drinking!
Reference: Black tea. (2008, April 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:33, April 5, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Black_tea&oldid=202475951