Tea 101: What is black tea?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Earl Grey, Nepal Black, Orange Pekoe – what would teatime be without black tea? It’s easy to associate black tea with British high tea, but it was actually introduced to British traders by the Chinese hundreds of years ago. Because black tea isn’t as delicate as green and white teas, ancient Chinese tea merchants compressed them into bricks and sent them with traders on long journeys. In fact, bricks of black tea were used as currency along the old trading routes between China and the West.

Dark, bold and rich in flavour, black tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and represents approximately 90% of the tea consumed in the Western world. Why do we love it so much? It’s fully oxidized during processing, which is why black tea leaves are so dark in colour. The fact that the leaves are exposed to oxygen for so long gives them a stronger, sweeter, more full-bodied flavour. Maybe that’s what makes rich blends like Organic Cream of Earl Grey and Organic David’s Breakfast Blend so popular.

Bold and cozy, black tea is also used as the base for so many of our favourite fall drinks – from warming chai tea lattes to comforting London Fogs to dreamy Lavender Earl Grey Lattes. With amazing ingredients like Saigon cinnamon, bergamot and passion fruit, our wide selection of black teas is a delicious way to explore everything this tea category has to offer.

What are the benefits of black tea?

Black tea is high in caffeine, meaning it’s packed with energizing benefits that’ll help boost alertness and get your motor running. Like many other tea types, it also contains antioxidants – tiny powerhouses that help fight against free radicals. Pair a mugful of black tea with your breakfast for the ultimate morning fuel or sip it as a tea latte pick-me-up to beat the afternoon doldrums.

How much caffeine is in black tea?

Our black teas range from 10-100 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup, while coffee contains on average 140 mg per cup. Black tea is naturally high in caffeine, which is why it’s such a great alternative to coffee. Love an espresso shot in the morning? Wake up your senses by steeping an extra strong shot of Kenyan Tinderet with an optional splash of milk. Delish!

What does black tea taste like?

Depending on where it was grown and how it was processed, black tea can taste anything from sweet and rich to fruity and astringent. Full-bodied breakfast teas like Organic David’s Breakfast Blend and spiced blends like Organic Saigon Chai are delicious with a splash of milk and sugar, while delicate Darjeelings are best straight up. Black tea also has a boldness some java lovers crave.

There’s a whole world of black teas to discover, from classic afternoon teas to fresh and fruity blends that taste amazing on ice. We also have a tasty assortment of organic black teas to choose from. Explore our wide selection of premium black teas, traditional teas with a twist and amazing new black tea blends to find the one that makes your taste buds sing.

Find the black tea that’s right for you

TRADITIONAL

Organic Nepal Black

There are good things brewing in the Highlands of Nepal. Like this handmade, honey-scented black tea, from a family-owned tea garden named Jun Chiyabari.

Organic David’s Breakfast Blend

This sweet, full-bodied blend of organic Assam and Ceylon black teas might be the best breakfast blend ever. Amazing solo but even better with a splash of milk.

Orange Pekoe

We’ve polled the entire country and this is, in fact, the perfect pekoe. With its rich hints of malted grain and dark honey, it’s the classic of all classics. The ultimate pick-me-up.

FRUITY

Maracuja Mango

Looking for a sunny pick-me-up? This refreshing blend of sweet black tea, creamy mango and exotic passion fruit is a delicious tropical delight.

Organic Blueberry Jam

This fruity black tea blends blueberries with elderberries, cornflowers and stevia. It’s the perfect companion to your morning toast.

Organic La La Lemon

With tangy lemon oil, bright orange oil and real bits of zest, this organic lemon black tea might just be the smoothest, most refreshing citrus tea on earth. Amazing hot or iced.

SPICY

Organic Saigon Chai

This organic Assam black tea with Saigon cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and pink peppercorns is on another level of delicious. Try it iced, Viet-style, with sweetened condensed milk.

Pumpkin Chai

This fan fave spiced black tea has it all: the warmth of cinnamon and cloves, plus the sweetness of caramel and pumpkin candy. Top with frothed milk for a comforting pumpkin spice latte.

Organic Glitter & Gold

Looking for a little star power? Try this sweet, spiced black tea with aromatic clove, creamy vanilla and pretty little gold star-shaped sprinkles.

SWEET

Organic Choco Chaga Detox

With all the cleansing goodness of chaga, this detoxifying black tea with cocoa, carob and chicory root is like the healthiest hot chocolate ever.

Chocolate Macaroon

There’s nothing quite like a classic coconut macaroon cookie. And with black tea, toasted coconut, cacao nibs and pecans, this rich, nutty blend is just as good as the real thing.

Cardamom French Toast

With black tea, cinnamon, cardamom and cane sugar, this rich, sweet, lightly spiced blend is as decadent as it gets. Who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast?

Pistachio Ice Cream

This nutty, creamy black tea is so tasty, you’ll definitely want two scoops. And since it has next to no calories, it’s one indulgence you can feel great about.

FLORAL

Organic Jasmine Black Pearls

Black pearls, black jasmine teas and Chinese black teas are all extremely rare. So what do you get when you combine all three? A seriously special, super-rare, once-in-a-lifetime tea – a DAVIDsTEA exclusive!

How to make black tea perfectly

To make the perfect cup of black tea every time, steep 1-2 Perfect Spoons of loose leaf in hot 95oC/200oF water. If you have long tea leaves or jasmine pearls, we recommend using our stainless steel infuser to give your tea leaves plenty of room to expand.

When it comes to steeping time, we recommend letting your tea leaves infuse in hot water between 3-5 minutes. This will give the tea enough time to release all of its wonderful flavours and aromas without it turning bitter. Use these steeping guidelines and your cup will be rich and deep in flavour, without being too astringent. Happy sipping!

Shop all black teas here .

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