What is Black Tea?
A staple of British households for decades, black tea is a warming drink that gets its name from the colour of the tea leaves.
Derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant, its leaves and buds are harvested to produce black tea, as well as green tea and white tea. Then, through a process called oxidisation, the green tea leaves turn into a dark brown colour, which gives black tea its name.
The origin of black tea goes back thousands of years and is most commonly grown in China, India, Kenya, and Sri Lanka.
How Was Black Tea First Discovered?
Introduced to England through coffee houses, black tea made its entrance to the UK market around 1657. By the start of the 1700s, black tea had grown in popularity, especially with the upper classes, as they could afford to drink it. The upper class started adding milk and sugar to sweeten the slightly bitter taste, which increased its popularity.
How is Black Tea Made Today?
The process of making black tea is much the same as it has always been. The tea leaves are grown at a tea plantation, and when ready the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant are cut in a system called ‘plucking tables’. Tea plucking is a fine art and tea pluckers know exactly when the tea leaves are ready, and often do this by hand.
Once harvested, the tea leaves are then withered, crushed and exposed to oxygen in the oxidisation process. The way the leaves are processed will have an impact on the flavour. Once processed, the tea leaves are then graded and sorted.
That's only the short version though. Find out more in our guide to tea production processes.
What Types of Black Tea Are There?
There are many types of black tea, each with different qualities, flavours, and ways of drinking. Thanks to its long history, there is great debate on how to drink black tea. Black tea has a lot of depth, with a wide range of tasting notes, from earthy and spiced to mellow, malty, sweet and even leather.
We celebrate variety at Twinings and offer many types of black tea to suit different drinkers and moments. Take your pick from a wide selection of loose leaf black tea and teabags, plus caffeinated and decaffeinated options too.
• English breakfast black tea: A full bodied and well-rounded tea with a light finish.
• Earl grey black tea: A citrusy blend with flavours of lemon and bergamot.
• Assam black tea: A rich, strong tea with notes of malt and earth.
• Loose leaf black tea: Create a sense of occasion with loose leaf tea. A great way to elevate the everyday.
• Decaffeinated black tea: Sensitive to caffeine or being careful with your intake? Our decaffeinated range is full of all the rich flavours without the caffeine hit. Read more about caffeine in black tea.
How to Drink Black Tea
The way you drink your tea is all down to preference, but as black tea specialists, we have ways for you to get the maximum enjoyment from every brew. Depending on whether your black tea is loose leaf or in a tea bag will depend on how long you brew your tea. Our top tips are:
• Always use freshly drawn cold water.
• Never pour boiling water over loose leaf tea or tea bags.
• Use one black tea bag per drink.
• Flavour with milk and sugar, depending on your taste.
Why Choose Twinings' Black Tea?
With over 300 years of tea blending behind us, you can count on Twinings black tea for the perfect cup, every time.
• Exceptional quality: Our Master Blenders rate hundreds of samples every week from all over the world to make sure we only buy the best. We don't own any tea gardens either, so we're free to partner with the best producers around.
• Broad selection: We've innovated since day one to introduce people to new tastes and experiences. From our diverse black tea to our decaffeinated options, there's a perfect blend for every home brewer.
• Preferred by tea drinkers: Looking for the best black tea brand in the UK? Don’t just take our word for it. We're the number one choice for Out of Home Tea, with people considering our tea to be higher quality and better tasting than others.
• Committed to care: All our teas are sourced with care, from looking after the environment they grow in to treating suppliers and pickers fairly. Learn more about our commitment to communities.