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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.

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.

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)
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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

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