Relax And Help Your Heart With Black Tea
Black tea is my favorite type of tea. I like strong flavor, very little aftertaste, and subtle hints of other ingredients or flavor notes from the tea leaf. Black tea does all of that for me and a lot more, as you will see as you read this article. According to “The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook” by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss, black tea is the least consumed class of tea in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan, and the most widely consumed tea in India, Sri Lanka, and the West. It is the most popular tea, hot or cold, in the United States. This is due to the early influence of tea drinking England and Europe on our developing nation in the eighteenth century.
Black tea comes from the Camellia sinensis, or tea plant, and is the most processed of all the teas that originate with this plant. The leaves undergo a four step process of withering, rolling, fermenting and firing that produces black tea leaves. The withering of the leaves allows them to become pliable so they can be rolled. Rolling breaks the cells of the leaf and releases the juices and makes the leaf sticky. Then the leaves are spread out and the juices of the leaf are exposed to oxygen and allowed to ferment. Oxidation changes the chemistry of the juices and develops the characteristic dark color and more intense flavor of the liquor. Firing dries the leaves and halts the oxidation process. The flavor and color of the tea depends on many factors such as the variety of the tea bush, country of origin, the elevation where the bush is grown, the soil it’s grown in, the length of oxidation and so on. That is why so many black teas of distinction are recognized by the regions in which they are grown and processed, like Darjeeling, Assam, Keemum, and Yunnan. Tea from those regions are always consistent in flavor and color so you can count on the quality of the product.
There are countless blends of black tea and other flavorings, such as, vanilla, caramel, bergamot oil, orange, coconut, chocolate, and fruit flavorings that are heavenly in both aroma and taste. Black tea contains about 50mg of caffeine, or half the caffeine as a cup of coffee. That means you can have a lot of different flavors and still get the caffeine boost you need to wake up and stay alert. I’ve never had the jitters from the caffeine in tea and I usually start the day with three cups and then have a cup or two later in the day.
Black tea has other health benefits but is most widely known for it’s impact on heart health. The antioxidants, thearubigins, are most prevalent in black tea and are responsible for blocking the absorption of “bad” cholesterol. This prevents the build-up of plaques on the artery walls and reduces the risk of heart attack. These antioxidants also destroy cell-damaging free radicals in the blood lowering the incidence of cancer, diabetes and infections from viruses or bacteria. This tea also reduces anxiety and can relax and restore your emotional well-being.
Not only do I get the enjoyment of flavor and aroma from the black tea I drink, but I benefit from positive effects on my health from these soothing and satisfying brews.