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Black Tea Flavors, Brewing Tips, and Cultural Origins

Janis loves to occasionally post original recipes, influenced by the creative cooking skills inherited from her mother and aunts.

The Perfect Cup of Black Tea

Pouring the water while boiling hot is the first step to a perfect cup of tea. See complete steps below.

Pouring the water while boiling hot is the first step to a perfect cup of tea. See complete steps below.

Wellness and Benefits

Regardless of the calendar season, a real tea lover can savor a piping hot cup of tea at any time of the year.

Some benefits include:

  • Stress relief
  • Tension reduction
  • Energy boost
  • Healthy cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health*

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 cardiovascular health.

[*DISCLAIMER: It is not the intention of this writer to promote the use of tea for any treatment of high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease. Check first with your healthcare provider for the medicinal uses of black tea for these ailments. When sipping tea, be careful to check the water temperature first to avoid burns.]

An Essential Assortment

Assorted teas are essential to have on hand to give the tea lover a variety of choices.

Assorted teas are essential to have on hand to give the tea lover a variety of choices.

Cultural Origins

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.

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.

The most commonly used is black tea which comes in many varieties and flavors. Teas are defined by the regions from where they originated.

Popular Varieties of Black Teas and 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)

A Gourmet Selection of Fine Teas

Gourmet teas come in many different flavors.

Gourmet teas come in many different flavors.

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.

Classic Cup and Creamer

It's fun to have tea with matching cup, saucer and creamer. It's not the same otherwise.

It's fun to have tea with matching cup, saucer and creamer. It's not the same otherwise.

Brewing and Serving to Perfection

  • 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 the water, as it also alters the experience.
  • Serve in your favorite bone china cup with saucer.
  • For black tea, pour steaming water directly into you 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 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 it straight, without sugar or milk.
  • Sip carefully, while it's hot; savor the taste and enjoy the moment.

The Right Cup Elevates the Experience

My favorite opulent china cup enhances my tea experience.

My favorite opulent china cup enhances my tea experience.

Honoring My Personal Cultural Traditions

Drinking 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 regard and appreciation for drinking this beverage regularly.

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. The tea was served at break times during the matches. So I've been conditioned culturally, from an early age, to appreciate this ritual.

Take Time to Make the Best Cup

Just a spoon full of sugar provides the perfect sweetness.

Just a spoon full of sugar provides the perfect sweetness.

I cover my cup to steep for the best flavor.

I cover my cup to steep for the best flavor.

"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.


JLE 2006

A Tea Lover's Closet

My tea cupboard is chock full of many varieties.

My tea cupboard is chock full of many varieties.

Adding Milk or Cream is Heavenly

Tea with milk is a stress outlet for me, sometimes up to 3 cups a day.

Tea with milk is a stress outlet for me, sometimes up to 3 cups a day.

English Teatime by Bigelow is one of my favorite black teas.

English Teatime by Bigelow is one of my favorite black teas.

A boiling kettle whistles to let me know it's tea time.

A boiling kettle whistles to let me know it's tea time.

Serving Sets are Favorite Tools of the Enthusiast

Cream and sugar servers complete the experience.

Cream and sugar servers complete the experience.

© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans

Comments

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 23, 2014:

Please do, thanks for stopping by.

sujaya venkatesh on July 23, 2014:

need to try

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 22, 2014:

LOL! Thanks for stopping by to see the tea cupboard. From one tea fiend to another, enjoy!

Marcy J. Miller from Arizona on July 22, 2014:

Jan, I enjoyed this just as you suspected I would! Your tea cupboard resembles my own. I'm a tea hoarder. I'll admit it. In addition to the boxes and loose teabags of various ilk, there is the attendant tea paraphernalia -- pot cozies, various utensils for straining whole-leaf tea, and a collection of pots themselves -- wait, I've just talked myself into another cup -- gotta go brew!

Mj

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 13, 2013:

Thanks for the tea chat. I'd love some of my mom's fruit cake with some tea. I discovered loose leaf later in life, green is nice. Thanks for reading this hub that is dear to my heart. I appreciate the comments and the sharing.

Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on August 13, 2013:

What a delightful tea-time hub. Thank you.

I've just finished a 'cuppa' of loose leaf tea (Yorkshire Gold, a company based here in my native Yorkshire) and very good it was too. I recall the days when all tea was loose leaf - I'm not that old, I am that old - but T bags put an end to all that messing about, getting rid of the waste leaves. Now I like to go through the ceremony of tea at a slower pace.... with a huge piece of fruit cake at hand the combination is deadly!

Votes for this and a share. Cheers.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 10, 2013:

Glad you liked it, travmaj. My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read it.

travmaj from australia on May 10, 2013:

Mmmmmm - yes indeed. More tea information and loved the poetry to accompany it.

I really cannot face the day until I've had my cup of hot black tea. That's my English heritage.

I enjoyed reading your take on tea - voting up, awesome, interesting.

Thank you.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on April 15, 2013:

Thank you, My Cook Book. I appreciate the visit. I love green as well.

Dil Vil from India on April 15, 2013:

Great hub on Tea. I drink several cups of Green tea a day.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 17, 2012:

So nice of you to give those comments, Break of Dawn. I'm so happy you enjoyed this hub and the poem.

Break of Dawn on October 17, 2012:

As a big tea drinker, I enjoyed reading this tea-hub. I like any kind of tea, as long as it's loose leaf tea. Charming poem, I liked it. Thank you for a well-written and well-researched hub.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 05, 2012:

Marlene, thank you sooooo much for reading this hub. It's very close to my heart. The poem became my signature when I would read in the community. So glad you liked it and appreciate the specialness of tea :-)

Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 04, 2012:

The brewing of tea seems so precise, even to the point of covering the teapot to contain the flavor. I'm a coffee drinker by day and a tea drinker by night. I add sugar and cream for a real treat. My favorite teas are English Breakfast and Earl Grey. I really enjoyed the poem. Great instructions on how to brew the perfect cup of hot tea.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 01, 2012:

Thanks Rich and Alisa (sorry for group thank you, that glitch again),

So glad you appreciate the poem, Rich. That was a hidden surprise. Thanks for the tip, Alisa, about the teeth. I'm having ginger green tea right now. Thank you both for stopping by and reading.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 01, 2012:

Thanks Rich and Alisa (sorry for group thank you, that glitch again),

So glad you appreciate the poem, Rich. That was a hidden surprise. Thanks for the tip, Alisa, about the teeth. I'm having ginger green tea right now. Thank you both for stopping by and reading.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 01, 2012:

Thanks Rich and Alisa (sorry for group thank you, that glitch again),

So glad you appreciate the poem, Rich. That was a hidden surprise. Thanks for the tip, Alisa, about the teeth. I'm having ginger green tea right now. Thank you both for stopping by and reading.

Alisa Arishina on October 01, 2012:

Black tea is probably my favorite type of tea, but I try to switch to green often, as it is better for the teeth.

Rich from Kentucky on October 01, 2012:

Janis -

Very informative hub and cute poem! Have had my periods with tea, but tend to go back to coffee most of the time. Actually had a cup the other night, but was in the mood for a change. Great Job!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on September 30, 2012:

You're quite welcome, that's my favorite green. Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed your visit.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on September 29, 2012:

Thank you for this. I am a big tea drinker. My favorite is jasmine.