Black tea comes in a variety of different sorts
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different varieties of black tea around the world. And these are constantly being joined by new ones. Each tea-cultivation area produces dozens of different varieties. EILLES TEE offers a great, well-balanced mix of popular classics, fresh innovations and characterful rarities.
What does black tea taste like? From mild to strong, from floral to tart, from fresh to malty: every black tea has a unique taste and there is something for everyone. This variation in taste is influenced by the different countries of origin, the respective cultivation areas and the local climates. Even the tea plant itself and the degree of fermentation have an effect on the taste. The biochemical process affects the colour, fragrance and taste of the black tea.
In addition, the brewing time and the quality of the water used to brew the tea of course also contribute to its flavour. Finally, the addition of sugar, milk or lemon to the cup also modifies the taste in turn.
Black tea is grown, plucked and processed in more than 40 countries. The main tea-producing countries include India, China, Kenya and Sri Lanka. The majority of areas containing tea gardens are found between the tropical and subtropical regions, where monsoon winds are frequent. The tea plants require high rainfall, high humidity and, of course, plenty of sunshine. They are particularly fond of high altitudes. The tea’s name often comes from the tea gardens in which it is grown.
The various varieties of black tea have one thing in common. The cultivation areas for black teas are generally at high altitudes in the subtropics and tropics. Tea plants require uninterrupted warmth and an average annual temperature of at least 18°C to flourish. The climate and soil conditions are very important for the cultivation of tea plants. One exception to this rule is Darjeeling, which grows on the mineral-rich soil of the southern slopes of the Himalayas.
Black tea has four harvesting periods corresponding to the classic seasons. If the tea is picked after winter, between February and around the end of April, the harvest is known by the term first flush. This black tea has a rather mild aroma. The second flush, between June and July, produces the stronger teas. The harvests between these flushes are known as in-betweens and those in late autumn as autumnals. Take a look at EILLES TEE’s extensive range, which includes the right picking for everyone.
Put the loose black tea in a filter or infuser. Furthermore, one traditional method of preparation which originated in England is the classic two-pot version, which is well known from high tea. In this method, water is poured over the loose leaves in a pot, where they are allowed to “dance” freely, and then, once the brewing time has elapsed, the infusion is poured off into another preheated pot.
The quantity of tea leaves determines the taste and flavour intensity of the beverage. The average is 2.5 g per cup (one slightly heaped teaspoon) or 5 g for fruit teas (one teaspoon). The tea is covered with hot water; the softer the water, the better for the result in the cup. If the black tea is brewed in a pot, the pot should be preheated.
Black tea is an excellent accompaniment to a whole range of dishes. It is great with breakfast or lunch, but also with cake on an afternoon or with dinner. As black tea contains tannins, it can modify, highlight and refine the original taste of the food. It can be combined well with meat dishes, spicy food and recipes containing curry. Classically, it also goes well with anything containing chocolate, syrup and preserves.
When is black tea drunk? There are no set rules on the time of day when black tea is drunk. The caffeine in black tea can have a stimulating effect, depending on how long the tea is brewed. As such, drinking it on an evening before going to bed may prove a recipe for a restless night. If the black tea is steeped for a little longer, it has a soothing effect on the gastrointestinal tract.
There is no simple answer to that question, as it depends considerably on how the tea is stored. Loose black tea in an unopened packet can be kept for around three years in proper conditions, flavoured tea for about two years.
Once the packet is opened, the black tea should be consumed quickly. In all cases, it is important that the tea leaves be protected from light at all times and not stored at too high a temperature. You should also observe the best before date printed on the EILLES TEE packaging.
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