Black Tea

By EAT-SMARTER
Updated on 08. May. 2020

Though not as popular as coffee, a cup of black tea is a treat in the afternoon with a lot to offer, especially in terms of health.

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Black Tea

Black Tea...

  • ...can be stimulating. If you need help waking up in the morning or want a pick-me-up in the afternoon, black tea can be as effective as coffee. It also contains caffeine, which is most effective if the tea is only steeped for 1 to 2 minutes. A cup then contains 20 to 50 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the amount of tea leaves and the type of tea.
  • ...can also have a calming effect. If black tea is steeped for up to 5 minutes, it has a different effect. The caffeine then combines with the tannins to no longer stimulate the body but rather calm it down.
  • ...helps with diarrhea. The tannins mentioned above make black tea a natural remedy for diarrhea. They have an astringent, antibacterial and soothing effect on the intestinal mucosa. Leave the tea to steep for at least 8 to 10 minutes to allow the tannins to dissolve, and drink without milk.
  • ...contains important nutrients. In addition to secondary plant substances and essential oils, the drink also contains significant amounts of B vitamins, minerals and trace elements. But, black tea at mealtimes can hinder the absorption of iron in the body.
  • ...can irritate the stomach. People with sensitive stomachs can feel discomfort from black tea, mainly due to the otherwise so beneficial tannins.
  • ...can cause migraines. Those prone to getting migraines or headaches should be careful with black tea for several reasons. Too strong of teas in large quantities trigger stress and thus possibly migraine.
  • ...is not compatible with medicines. In combination with medicines, the tannins can have a negative effect by hindering the optimal absorption in the body. Therefore, pills should never be taken with black tea!

What You Should Know About Black Tea

You don't have to be British to love black tea. This invigorating or relaxing drink tastes great with with milk, lemon or simply black.

Black tea isn't just a different variety of green tea, white tea or oolong tea — while all these teas are made from dried tea leaves, they are processed differently.

Black tea, for example, is made by after harvesting the fresh leaves, allowing them to wilt and soften. Then, the withered tea leaves are rolled by a machine to break open the cell walls. The tea leaves are then moved to a fermentation chamber, where they go through a maturation process that gives them their taste. Finally, the tea is dried at about 90 to 95 degrees, giving it its black color. At the end of this process, the black tea is packaged so it's protected from air and light.

Origin

The home of the tea bush Camellia sinensis is in East Asia, with the largest areas of cultivation being China, Indonesia, Japan and Sri Lanka.

Season

There is no special season for black tea.

Taste

Black tea can taste different depending on the quality, origin and processing of the leaves. Some black teas taste delicate while others are strong.

Here you can find all black tea recipes.

How Healthy Is Black Tea?

Black tea is quite accurately regarded as a gentle pick-me-up — it consists of about three to four percent caffeine, but at the same time it contains the slightly calming substance theanine, which slightly counteracts the stimulating effect.

The high content of tannins soothes the intestinal mucosa. They also ensure that black tea can help with diarrhea, as it has an astringent and antibacterial effect. You must steep black tea for at least 8 to 10 minutes so the tannins can dissolve, and you must drink it without milk.

Black tea can also have a calming effect on the stomach; in some cases, however, the effect is the other way around, as the tannins can irritate the stomach lining and lead to nausea.

Due to its high fluorine content, black tea has a positive effect on the teeth strength, but it also discolors them.

For people with coronary heart disease, black tea seems to have a beneficial effect. Studies show that three to six cups a day can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Also according to studies, black tea may also be helpful in certain cancers.

If you are prone to migraines or migraine-like headaches, you should be careful with black tea. Too strong of tea in too large of quantities can cause stress and thus migraines; and if you are not used to caffeinated drinks, black tea can be a trigger.

If you suffer from anaemia (iron deficiency), it is best to avoid black tea or let it steep for a maximum of 2 minutes because after then the leaves release the tannins. The tannins form such strong bonds with the iron in food that the body can no longer use the mineral. 

As beneficial as the tannins in black tea are otherwise, they have a negative effect in combination with medicines because they can hinder the optimal absorption in the body. Therefore, you should never take pills at the same time as drinking black tea.

Nutritional values of black tea per 100 grams  
Calories 0
Protein 0.1 grams
Fat 0 grams
Carbohydrates 0 grams
Dietary Fiber 0 grams

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

High-quality black tea is unfortunately not cheap. Nevertheless, it isn't worth being thrifty because better cultivated teas grow at high altitudes where there are few pests. Therefore, alerts due to high pesticide residues are rare.

Storage

Black tea is very sensitive to odors and contact with oxygen and heat. Therefore, keep it cool, airtight and dry in a tightly closed container made of glass, metal or porcelain, so that it remains aromatic for at least 1.5 years.

Preparation

If you want to drink a really good black tea, preheat the pot of hot water while the tea is brewing so it stays nice and hot.

How to Make Black Tea

The classic method of brewing tea is to pour fizzy boiling water over the tea leaves (1 measuring spoon per cup), let them steep and then pour the tea through a sieve into a pot that is as preheated as possible.

How long you let black tea steep is up to your personal taste. After a short infusion, it tastes more delicate and after a long infusion it tastes stronger. It also depends on what you want from the tea: if you want it to give you energy, let it steep for just 1 or 2 minutes, because that's when it contains the most caffeine, depending on the quantity of tea leaves and the type of tea. However, if black tea is intended to calm and relax you, let it steep for at least 3 to 5 minutes. The caffeine then binds with the tannins and the body absorbs only a small part of it. Of course, this also applies if you do not brew black tea according to the classic British method, but with a tea egg, a special tea kettle or other alternatives.

Knowledge to go

Black tea can be both stimulating and calming, depending on how it is prepared. If you want to switch off the caffeine it contains, just let the tea steep longer. Black tea can have positive effects on both the stomach and the intestines thanks to its tannins.

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