What is Black Tea?

Black tea is the most well-known tea type in the West and Europe, with Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea being especially popular. It is also the most intensely processed type of tea. The leaves are allowed to fully oxidize, producing their black colour prior to being dried. This contributes to its complexity, increased astringency and fewer vegetal tones than are found in other types of tea. Astringency is the “dry mouth” presence left by tannins in tea, familiar to drinkers of Cabernet Sauvignon, or other wine. It is this very astringency that partners so delightfully with dairy and a sweet accompaniment. Obtaining the proper balance of astringency is one of the leading indicators of quality in a black tea.

Though the name refers to the leaf colour, the liquor produced from steeping is a rich copper-tone or golden-amber colour. Good quality black tea can usually be steeped hotter, longer and stronger than other tea types, which is one reason that black tea contains the most caffeine per cup.

Many of our black tea offerings are straight and pure, while others are custom blended with hints of vanilla, cardamom, rose, and bergamot. All of Sloane Tea’s black teas come from the leading black tea producing nations of India and Sri Lanka.