What is Black Tea? A beginners guide to the most popular tea.

What is Black tea?

Black tea is a tea made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The new leaves from a tea bush are plucked and then processed to make the highly consumed beverage. Black tea is processed differently from other teas which gives it a stronger flavor and darker color. It is a more Oxidized tea. All tea comes from the same tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. The only exception would be herbal teas which may not contain any tea leaves at all. 

In the South, Black tea is more commonly drank as a cold tea. Depending on your tastes it will either be a unsweet cold tea or a sweet cold tea. Check out Timmy's great recipe for making a true Southern sweet tea

Cold Sweet Tea

Now, the most popular way to drink Black tea worldwide would be hot. In the traditional hot cup of tea. To make a great cup of tea you want to ensure you follow the instructions. For example with our Black Magnolia Black tea we recommend 1 rounded tsp per 8 oz. of 200F water. Steep for 5 minutes. Steeping it too long or boiling your tea water too hot can make your tea bitter.

So how does one get Black tea if it all comes from the same tea plant? Processing is the difference. 

Here is how we process Black tea in the US.

The simplified history of tea.

Tea first originated in China. It is the leaves taken from the Camellia Sinensis plant and processed into a cup of tea. All tea leaves come from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis). It eventually reached the United Kingdom where it would become the popular beverage that it is still today.

Tea has a huge history. In the 1700's as it gained popularity it was recognized that it could bring in money for others wanting their share. Duties and taxes were added, greatly impacting the ability to make tea affordable to people. This resulted in events such as the Tea Act of 1773 and the Boston Tea Party. These events would force tea companies to search for new markets in the US.

At this time tea was being delivered to the US by ships in chests with more than 600,000 pounds of tea. Ironically today, most of the tea is still imported into the US which is where The Great Mississippi Tea Company has had a mission to change that and bring tea closer to home. Only took 309 years. But it is still heavily imported. reports that $531 million dollars in tea was imported into the US in 2021. We are the second largest importer of tea next to Pakistan. Ironically, due to economic challenges Pakistan's government is asking its citizens to drink less tea as it battles with economic issues. Needless to say, Pakistan's government asked its people to cut back on their tea, it did not go over well.

What makes Black tea so popular?

A good part of why Black tea is so incredibly popular just stems from its history. Black tea originated in China. Then Britain would later discover it and they believed that the tea was the secret to extending life. It caught on first with royal family and then later would spread to the rest of the public. Over the years tea has become a traditional drink to have all over the world. 

They key reasons tea is so special is the perceived health benefits. May studies have shown tea to contain many beneficial qualities. 

Tea also contains caffeine. Most of us enjoy the pick up a little caffeine gives us.

Black tea when you have not added milk or sugar is considered a low calories beverage. Especially, in comparison to soda or juice.

And for those Americans in the South, well, Black tea is at the heart of sweet tea. Which is a very popular summer beverage.

What does Black tea taste like?

First, not all Black teas taste the same. Tea flavors can vary depending on where they are made. The terrain they are grown in will affect their flavor and how they are processed will also affect their flavor. A Black tea grown in Japan will not taste the same as Black tea grown in Mississippi. 

In general though, Black teas are said to have a malty taste. For our Black Magnolia Black tea it has flavor notes of sweet potatoes, molasses, malt, and stone fruit. 

Now of course when you add sugar and milk you change the taste.

What makes our Black Magnolia, Black tea so special?

Our Black Magnolia Tea won first place in the non-commercial division of the Tea of United States Awards in 2015. Since then, it has continued to build a following of loyal tea fans, making it one of our most popular teas. It has been masterfully developed to be lightly oxidized, to allow for a more delicate flavor. 

It can be enjoyed both hot or cold and with a hint of different flavors such as malt and molasses, it is loved by many.

It is made with 100% US grown tea leaves.

To learn more, visit: Black Magnolia Tea

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