What a complex question to describe the flavour or taste of a beverage as unique as black tea! While there are strong similarities between the various black teas you may be offered, at the same time, each tea is almost unique: depending on where the tea is grown, the weather, the harvest, the manufacturing process... Each one therefore has its own taste! Finally, black tea can also be personalised, just in the way you prepare it!
Do all black teas have the same taste?
Absolutely not. First of all, because there are plain teas (composed of tea leaves only) and flavoured teas (when tea leaves are mixed with other plants and flavours). Within plain teas, the taste of black tea can vary depending on the region, the climate, the harvesting and processing techniques, etc. For example, there is smoked black tea: the tea leaves are heated with coniferous wood after harvesting, which gives it woody notes, similar to the taste of mushrooms or barbecue. You can also try fermented black tea, in which the tea leaves have been placed in a hot, humid environment to promote their "aging". This again gives a particularly smooth, earthy flavour with intense notes of undergrowth. As for flavoured teas, the possible mixtures are infinite, and some - the most famous - have passed into posterity, such as Earl Grey black tea with bergamot (also called Russian tea) or Indian black tea tchaï, very sweet and spicy, infused in water and milk.
Russian Earl Grey tea is characterised by bergamot flavours sometimes mixed with lemon. This tea is a must in the morning. It is perfect for breakfast or brunch.
Chai is characterised by its typical spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, etc. It is also suitable in the morning and is perfect for a snack or a break in the day.
What is the characteristic taste of plain black tea leaves?
Generally speaking, in order to differentiate it from other teas, black tea is said to have an intense, richly aromatic and malty taste. This means that it is reminiscent of malt (a germinated cereal), which can give notes of fresh bread and caramel. Black tea also has a full-bodied flavour that coffee lovers like.
What is the difference between the taste of black and green tea leaves?
In both cases, the tea leaves are harvested at the same time and dried, but the method differs. Black tea is left in the open air for a longer period of time to undergo natural oxidation. Exposure to oxygen will cause the tea leaves to blacken. Oxidation affects the colour of the leaves, the colour of the infusion and the taste. Black tea is generally less bitter than green tea, which is fresher and more vegetal. White tea is even less oxidised and is the lightest. It offers a soft and velvety texture, less strong than the other teas.
What to drink with black tea?
For breakfast, the most morning of all black teas, English breakfast is the perfect accompaniment to your jam sandwiches. At lunch, Yunnan black tea goes well with meats such as veal, chicken, duck breast or foie gras. Then it's time for tea time, with a black tea (Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Ceylon) accompanied by a pastry. In the British tradition, scones are served. But it can also be toast, muffins, crumpets (small pancakes) or other cakes such as Battenberg cake (made from sponge cake and marzipan) or shortbread (shortbread covered in chocolate and caramel).
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