Black tea leaves are what is referred to as ’fully oxidized’. During the oxidation process, the simple flavonoid ‘catechin' in the green leaf, slowly turn to more complex flavonoids called ‘theaflavanoid’ and ‘thearubican’, which give black tea its distinct taste and colour.
Black tea represents 90% of the tea consumed in the western world. Popular blends include: English, Irish, or Scottish Breakfast, and Russian Caravan.These blends consist of tea leaves from several origins.
Flavoured black teas are teas flavoured with fruit, flowers, herbs or spices. Earl Grey is flavoured with essential oil of bergamot and Masala Chai is flavoured with warming spices including cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and peppercorns. An example of a ‘smoked’ tea would be Lapsang Souchong from China.
Black teas can also be referred as teas from specific regions. Examples include; Assam, which is bold, malty and brisk; Darjeeling- a delicate, light, floral (1st flush), or fruity (2nd flush). Black teas from Nilgiri are known to be fragrant, while teas from Kenya are known to be dark and bold.
Black tea producing countries include China, India, Sri Lanka and Kenya, to name a few. In China, black tea is referred to as ‘red tea’ or ‘hong cha’, due to the reddish colour of its liquor.