Advertising
Advertising

Black Tea: Origins, Health Benefits and How It Differs From Green Tea

Black Tea: Origins, Health Benefits and How It Differs From Green Tea

Some like it hot, and some like it cold, but cultures around the world agree: black tea is an incredible beverage. From Chinese tea ceremonies to British tea-time, this drink has shaped the way that people live their lives for centuries. Although black tea may look humble as it steeps in your cup, it has a storied past and impressive list of health benefits associated with it.

Black tea has a rich past

Black and green teas actually come from the same plants: Camellia sinensis assamica and Camellia sinensis sinensis.[1] Green and black tea are processed differently, which results in distinct color and flavor profiles.

China has been brewing green and oolong teas for thousands of years, but black tea didn’t come about until the 1730s. After a green tea factory’s production was held up, green tea leaves started to oxidize.[2] The oxidization led to the distinct flavor and color of black tea, and the accident became one of the most popular drinks worldwide.

There was lots of money to be made in the tea trade in the 1700s, but green tea didn’t retain its quality as well in transport as black tea. This is why most British tea culture revolves around black tea, while Eastern traditions favor green tea.

The West’s insatiable desire for tea led businessmen to take tea plants and seeds from China so that they could start tea plantations in other countries. India was among the most well-known of these locations, and tea became one of the main imports from the British East India Company.[3]

You’ve probably had black tea before, but you may not have realized it

Iced tea, sun tea, Earl Grey tea, Ceylon tea, and English breakfast tea are all variants of black tea. Black tea is served hot, cold, sweetened, and unsweetened. People often add milk, sugar, lemon, or honey to their drinks.[4]

Advertising

All the varieties of black tea have different flavors, and taste preferences can define a region. The American South, for example, is known for its sweetened iced tea. The British have hot tea and pastries in the mid-afternoon. In Turkey, black tea is served hot in small glasses with the option to sweeten it with sugar cubes.

Many black teas are named for their region of origin. For example, Ceylon tea comes from Sri Lanka, and Darjeeling tea comes from India. Other designations, such as sun tea, refer to the manner in which the drink was prepared.[5]

Black tea vs. Green tea

As two of the most popular varieties of tea, you might be wondering what the difference between black and green tea is. As previously mentioned, green tea is made from unoxidized tea leaves, while black tea is fully oxidized. Green tea leaves are dark green in appearance, and when they are brewed, they produce a light greenish or golden drink.

The oxidization process gives black tea leaves their dark color. When brewed, the resulting beverage is a dark reddish-brown color. This is why black tea is often referred to as “red tea” in China. Green tea has a light flavor, while black tea tends to have a more robust taste.

Flavor can also change depending on the way that the leaves are prepared. Some of the highest quality green and black teas are loose-leaf varieties, which produce a better taste than bagged teas. Matcha, tea made from powdered leaves, is another fine variant.[6] Most often, matcha is made from green tea leaves, but it is possible to get black matcha as well.

Tea bags were an accidental invention that became popular for people on the go, but if you’re a tea aficionado, it’s worth looking at the quality of the leaves packaged in that manner.[7] Often these are finely chopped, and they tend to be low-quality compared to loose leaf varieties.

Advertising

Black tea contains 25-48 mg of caffeine per eight ounce glass compared to green tea’s 25-29 mg per cup.[8] Depending on the quality of the leaves and the preparation methods, green and black tea can have roughly equivalent amounts of caffeine, but you’re more likely to get a bigger jolt from drinking black tea. These teas have significantly less caffeine that coffee, which averages about 95-165 mg per cup.

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Black Tea

1. It’s rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, catechins, thearubigins, and theaflavins. Antioxidants can reduce illness and signs of aging by preventing damage to your DNA.[9] These same antioxidants may lower your risk for getting certain types of cancer.[10]

2. It’ll wake you up. Black tea contains caffeine and theophylline, both of which have a mild stimulant effect.[11] Some sources suggest that consuming black tea can prevent osteopoerosis, and Type II diabetes but more research is necessary to verify those claims.[12]

3. Black tea is good for your teeth. As long as you don’t pour yourself a glass of sugary sweet tea, you’ll experience improved dental health when you drink black tea. Black tea prevents plaque build up and kills bacteria that causes cavities.[13]

4. It’s an excellent way to support cardiovascular health. Reaching for a cup of tea can ward off headaches, lower cholesterol, and relieve high blood pressure.[14] Regular consumption of black tea is also known to prevent atherosclerosis (clogged arteries).

5. It supports your digestive health. Surprisingly, black tea can also have a soothing effect on the digestive system.[15] The tannins in black tea make it valuable for treating diarrhea and other digestive conditions.

Advertising

People have been using the stems and leaves of black tea for medicinal purposes for generations. As more research on black tea is published, we’ll learn even more about its potential benefits.

Here’s how to brew yourself a cup of delicious black tea

Now that you know a little bit about the history of black tea and its possible health benefits, you may be eager to reach for a cup. There are so many ways to prepare black tea, but brewing it for consumption while its hot is one of the most popular methods.

The quality of your ingredients matters

Since the primary ingredient of tea is water, you’ll want to make sure that you use good water to brew. Some tap water has a strong chlorinated flavor, which will impact the quality of your final product. Choose filtered water if you can.

There are different grades of tea leaf. The cheapest and lowest quality teas are found in flat round or rectangular bags with finely chopped leaves similar to the ones below.

    Although you can produce a serviceable cup of tea from such bags, it will have astringent and bitter qualities that you don’t find as often in higher grades of tea.

    Advertising

    If you are using a teabag, opt for one filled with loose leaves instead of chopped pieces. A pyramid-shaped bag will give leaves a greater chance to steep and infuse your water.

    Loose leaf teas that you put into a infuser or teapot will make a better drink than most bagged varieties. When you buy loose leaf tea, it’s almost always going to be a higher quality leaf. The infuser allows water to flow freely around the tea to bring out the delicate flavor notes.

      When it comes to a good cup of tea, timing is everything

      Many people over-heat their water when brewing tea today, but it’s unnecessary. Heat water until it’s almost to a boil. Add one teaspoon of leaves or one tea bag to the water, and allow it to steep for 1-2 minutes. Allowing the leaves to steep for longer will produce a bitter and unpalatable concoction.

      Enjoy a calming and refreshing drink

      After you’ve removed your leaves, you can enjoy your tea. Some people choose to add a small amount of sweetener to their cup of tea, but that depends on personal preference. While it is delightful with honey or lemon, black tea can also be enjoyed without any additives.

      Black tea is the perfect pick-me-up during a busy day, but you can also serve it with meals or a mid-afternoon snack. This drink’s versatility, the multitude of health benefits associated with it, and the cultural impact that it has had around the world make it a great addition to your kitchen.

      Reference

      [1] Teatulia Organic Teas: What is Black Tea?
      [2] Art of Tea: History of Black Tea
      [3] East India Company: Timeline
      [4] The Spruce: An Introduction to Black Tea
      [5] Republic of Tea: What is Black Tea?
      [6] Health: 7 Things You Should Know About Matcha
      [7] UK Tea and Infusions Association: The History of the Tea Bag
      [8] The Mayo Clinic: Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda and more
      [9] Smart Cooky: 10 Spectacular Black Tea Benefits You Should Know: For the Love of Chai
      [10] Web MD: Black Tea: Black Tea
      [11] WebMD: Black Tea
      [12] Livestrong: Is Black Tea Good for You?
      [13] Lifehack: 11 Benefits of Black Tea that You Didn’t Know About
      [14] Medical News Today: Black Tea: Health Benefits and Risks
      [15] Organic Facts: 5 Benefits of Black Tea

      More by this author

      Jolie Choi

      Gone through a few heartbreaks and lost hundreds of friends but I am still happy with my life.

      11 Health Benefits of Cucumber Water (+3 Refreshing Drink Recipes) Put Down Your Pizza and Find Your Healthy Diet Challenge Buddy By Using “Foodstand” Ditch Your Banana and Kale! Use “The Blender Girl” To Find Your Fun and Tasty Smoothie Recipes If You Exercise but Sit a Lot, You’re Still Unhealthy Walk While You Work, You’ll Be 10X Healthier

      Trending in Health

      1 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 2 Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain? 3 Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It) 4 How to Practice Guided Meditation for Sleep to Calm the Mind 5 How To Overcome Anxiety and Feel More at Ease (Part 2)

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on May 21, 2019

      13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

      13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

      Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

      Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

      Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

      1. Stress Eating

      I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

      While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

      I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

      If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

      How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

      2. Nail Biting

      Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

      People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

      Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

      For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

      Advertising

      3. Hanging out with Naysayers

      We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

      Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

      Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

      4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

      Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

      While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

      Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

      Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

      5. Smoking

      Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

      In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

      Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

      Smoking risks

        6. Excessive Drinking

        All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

        Advertising

        According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

        • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
        • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
        • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
        • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
        • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

        If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

        If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

        7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

        Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

        If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

        A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

        “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

        And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

        While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

        Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

        Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

        8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

        There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

        Advertising

        In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

        Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

        Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

        9. Watching Too Much TV

        I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

        Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

        Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

        It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

        10. Being Late

        Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

        Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

        Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

        11. Being in Bad Relationships

        Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

        I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

        Advertising

        Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

        12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

        Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

        Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

        Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

        By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

        Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

        13. Focusing on the Negatives

        In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

        Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

        Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

        And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

        The Bottom Line

        So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

        Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

        Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

        Read Next