Black Tea Benefits and Tips for Brewing the Best Cup of Tea
The Perfect Cup of Black Tea
Are you a hot tea drinker?
Benefits and Cultural Origins
Regardless of the calendar season, a real tea lover can savor a piping hot cup of black tea at any time of the year.
A hot cup of black tea can be one of the most relaxing outlets to relieve stress and tension.
Whether it is taken as a morning boost, an afternoon pick-me-up, or for an evening pause, hot tea is the traditional way to maintain equilibrium the natural way.
It is said that black tea consumption is also good for maintaining good cholesterol levels and overall cardio-vascular health.
In westernized cultures, particularly in the United States, an uber-sized cup of coffee or cola is the drink of choice for most.
This is in stark contrast to the rest of the world where more people drink tea than any other beverage except water. Hot tea is the norm in many countries, taken on a daily basis, usually in the morning.
Regions in Asia, India, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Great Britain, and Eastern Europe all regard hot tea as a way of life, encompassing cultural and societal tradition.
The most commonly used is black tea which comes in many varieties and is defined by the region from where it originated.
[DISCLAIMER: It is not the intention of this writer to promote the use of tea for any treatment of high cholesterol or cardio-vascular disease. Check first with your physician for the medicinal uses of black tea for these ailments. When sipping tea, be careful to check the water temperature first to avoid burns.]
A Gourmet Selection of Fine Teas
Classic Cup and Creamer
Popular Varieties of Black Teas and Black Tea Blends
"Traditional Sipping Teas"
- Assam - a heavy, malty flavor, with a rich body referred to as the "coffee drinkers" tea (Assam, India)
- Ceylon - a full-bodied, bright, medium tea with a long-lasting aroma; also a lighter version that is crisp, flowery, and commonly a breakfast tea (Sri Lanka)
- Darjeeling - thin-bodied, floral, and fruity, referred to as the "traditional afternoon tea" or the "champagne of black teas" (Darjeeling, India)
- Earl Grey - a black tea flavored with bergamot oils from Mediterranean oranges
- English Breakfast - a blend of Assam and Ceylon teas
- Irish Breakfast - a blend of several black teas, primarily Assam
- Lapsang Souchong - a strong tea with a smoky flavor (Fujian Province, China)
- Nilgiri - a strong taste and aroma with a bright color (Tamil Nadu and Kerala, India)
An Essential Assortment of Choices
The Cup Makes the Tea
Honoring Cultural Traditions of a Hot Cup of Black Tea
Drinking hot tea has been looked upon as ceremonial, spiritual, and sacred in Asian cultures. It is seen as a high social event or "high tea" in British culture.
Brewing technique and serving utensils are of utmost importance for ultimate enjoyment and deference to tradition.
As a "Jah-merican" ( a first generation American of Jamaican descent), I developed a high respect and appreciation for drinking a hot cup of black tea.
Growing up in a Caribbean household, black tea, served with sugar and milk or condensed milk, was the standard. My father played cricket and we would attend cricket matches on the weekends in Buffalo, New York and Ontario, Canada.
The cricket team members included men of Caribbean, Canadian, and East Indian descent. Hot black tea was served at break times during the matches. So I've been conditioned culturally, from an early age, to love my cup of hot tea.
The Wanderers Cricket Club of Buffalo, New York traveled to Ontario, Canada, sipping hot tea with other club members in cities around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
Take Time to Make the Best Hot Cup
"Hot Tea and Me"
We got a thing, hot tea and me,
Suits my taste naturally.
My drug of choice I do salute,
Oolong, rosehips or licorice root.
Piping hot with perfection,
That first sip is like an injection.
To my tongue as smooth as silk,
A touch of sugar and a bit of milk.
In gold-trimmed bone china I'm served up,
Stainless-steel spoon, saucer and cup.
In the morning, noon, or at night,
Just one hit and I'm feeling alright.
A strong cup of tea is what I need,
Its power over me, to thee I heed.
Orange Pekoe or Darjeeling,
Tucked in a bag on a little string.
Green is divine and bitter sweet,
Herbal flavors are a special treat.
English Breakfast and Earl Grey,
Keep me tempted everyday.
The whistling sound a kettle makes,
My waiting, bated breath it takes.
It's time to slowly pour my tea,
Inside my cup it steeps for me.
A rich deep hue blended well,
Compliments the aroma and the smell.
Boiling hot water is the way to achieve,
The best cup of tea you'll ever receive.
A glass of ICED TEA? Oh my word,
Sacrilegious and absurd!
Once you've tried a cup of hot tea,
You'll be hopelessly addicted just like me.
A Tea Lover's Closet
Adding Milk or Cream is Heavenly
Brewing and Serving the Perfect Cup of Black Tea
- A superior cup of tea begins with the water. Never use tap water as it negatively alters the taste of the tea; use filtered or bottled spring water.
- Boil fresh water on the stove top, preferably in a stainless steel kettle. Never microwave water for hot tea, as it also alters the experience.
- Serve in your favorite bone china cup with saucer.
- For black tea, pour steaming hot water directly into you tea cup or teapot for more servings, either on the tea bag or loose leaves. Follow directions on package for amount of tea per serving. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes, covering for best results. Or dunk the tea bag 50 times for a similar result.
- If your preference, add sugar and milk or condensed milk to taste; it is preferable in some cultures to have hot tea straight, without sugar or milk.
- Sip your tea carefully, while it's hot; savor the taste, and enjoy the moment.
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© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans