The Origin of Black Tea
When an army from Jinaxi entered the Fujian Province, they decided to rest near a tea factory. This unscheduled session caused a little delay in the tea making process and delayed the oxidization of the leaves, leaving them in the sun longer than what was planned. This process made the leaves turn into a dark red colour. A farmer thought that he could save these leaves and put these leaves on a fire over a pinewood. He wanted to speed up the drying process but ended up giving it a smoky flavour!
The Lapsang Souchong
It is the name of the original black tea, which was first found in China. It was discovered back in the 16th Century. It is named after the Lapsang, which are the mountain hills in China’s Fuiyan area while Souchong means small leaves that are used in this tea. It refers to the tea leaves plucked which are mainly the fourth of fifth leaf.
This makes the aroma of the tea. Unlike other teas, Black tea does not have as much aroma because of this specific selection of leaves which does not include the top leaves or buds.
Birth of Black Tea in India
After the black tea boomed in China, The East India Company decided to cultivate tea in Darjeeling using saplings from the former. In the process of this, The British also discovered another type of tea that grew in Assam. It was the Camellia Sinensis Assamica. This variety, simply called Assamica was a very popular local beverage, produced and consumed by the native tribes.
What separated this from the Chinese tea was the fact that it had longer leaves and a stronger aroma. Because of this, it was soon produced on a larger scale and the multiple advantages of drinking black tea came to light.
The Black Tea Process
Since all types of tea originate from the same Camellia Sinensis, the difference lies in how they are chosen and processed.
Black tea is left to oxidize completely and then taken to be heat-processed and dried. How oxidization works is that oxygen interacts with the cells of the tea leaves in order to help it get that rich dark color. Oxidization also affects how the tea tastes and according to this, it is further mixed with flavors to produce different combinations.
There are two broad types of processes that are used for making black tea :
- The Orthodox process: In this, the tea leaves are plucked and laid out in the heat to reduce moisture. This is followed by oxidization. Once this is done and the leaves are cut, another round of oxidization happens. This helps to enhance the flavor and then heated to stop the oxidization.
- The CTC process: This is also called the Crush-Tear-Curl Method where the leaves are cut into small pieces instead of being traditionally rolled. This helps in speeding up the oxidization process and the rest of the steps are common for this process as well. This process tends to produce a more flavourful and strong taste. It is mainly used for commercial tea bags.
Advantages of Black Tea
There are many benefits of drinking black tea, which can help influence and strengthen your health. Some of them are as follows:
- Can help to decrease the risk of cancer
A study conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) stated how black tea can be helpful in lowering the risk of certain types of cancer, to an extent. It can be specifically helpful for breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer and prostate cancer.
- Can help with heart problems
Like most tea, black tea also contains a powerful group of antioxidants called flavonoids. Because of this, the tea has many helpful properties. It has been found that consuming black tea can help lower your risks of having a heart attack or stroke.
- Can help regulate blood sugar
It is a common observation that over consumption of sweets is not good for the body, especially for people who have high blood sugar. Here you can find the advantage of black tea as it is an unsweetened beverage which can help keep your insulin in check.
- Can help decrease the risk of chronic diseases
One of the biggest benefits of drinking black tea is the fact that it is loaded with rich antioxidants. These powerful antioxidants such as catechins, theaflavins, and thearubigins play a major role here and can help reduce the risk of numerous chronic diseases.
- Can help reduce bad cholesterol
Our body mainly has two types of cholesterol which is LDL and HDL, out of which LDL is known as the bad one. Too much LDL accumulation can cause heart attacks and other problems. However, consuming black tea can decrease the LDL amounts in your body.
As you can see, there can be many benefits of drinking black tea. But what is important is to understand that while such consumption can be good for your body, it cannot guarantee you a massive change. Having a good and healthy lifestyle is the right way to keep illnesses at bay!