How to Choose the Best Black Tea for You

Black tea is one of the most popular types of tea, and is a common gateway into the world of tea for beginner tea drinkers. Whether you drink black tea on a daily basis and are interested in expanding your tea collection, or if you’re new to tea and aren’t sure where to start, we have plenty of black tea options to choose from.


Choosing a Classic Black Tea

Classic black teas are made from the camellia sinensis tea plant, and don’t contain any added flavors or ingredients. These classic teas are fully oxidized, which turns the leaves a blackish-brown color. They tend to be full-bodied and moderate to high in caffeine.

If You Want: A Robust, High Caffeine Black Tea

Hearty black teas that are high in caffeine are a great choice if you’re looking for a tea to start the day with. They’re also a great base for making tea lattes and milk tea. Indian black teas tend to be more robust than Chinese black teas. Here are our top picks for high caffeine black teas:

1. Assam Black Tea

Our organic Assam is a robust black tea with tremendous flavor. This 2nd flush tea has a grade of FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe). It brews up a rich coppery color with a full body, hints of malt and toast, and moderate astringency. Assam is high in caffeine, containing about half as much per cup as coffee.

2. Irish Breakfast Black Tea

Our organic Irish Breakfast makes a rich cup of tea that’s sure to get you going in the morning. This stout, robust blend of Assam, Ceylon, and Tanzanian teas creates a full-bodied, malty tea that pairs well with milk and sugar.

3. English Breakfast Black Tea

An aromatic English Breakfast blend of high-grown Ceylon leaves, fine Assam, and robust Tanzanian teas. It is slightly lighter than Irish Breakfast, with toasty, malty notes and a nice natural sweetness.

If You Want: A Mellow, Medium-Caffeine Black Tea

Chinese black teas are a great choice if you’re looking for black teas with a medium body, nuanced flavor, and moderate caffeine. Chinese black teas are typically produced from the camellia sinensis var. sinensis tea varietal, which has a slightly lower caffeine content than the Indian camellia sinensis var. assamica varietal.

1. China Keemun Black Tea

Grown in China's Anhui Province, China Keemun has a medium body and brews up a beautiful amber red. This tea has smokey, toasty notes and slight astringency.

2. Golden Yunnan Black Tea

Gold Yunnan is a bright, coppery tea from the famous Yunnan province of China. This tea brews into a soft, rounded cup with pleasant, slightly peppery notes, and is a wonderful example of a high-grade Chinese black tea with abundant golden tips. Like other Chinese black teas, it’s mild enough to enjoy on its own without any milk or sweetener.

3. Vietnamese Golden Tips Black Tea

From the Ha Giang Province in northern Vietnam, our Vietnamese Golden Tips is grown and produced at a family-run estate near the Cao Bo mountain, at an elevation of 4,600 feet. This tea is harvested from Shan Tuyet heritage tea trees that are over 50 years old. The light brown leaves have abundant golden tips, and brew into a beautiful copper-colored cup. Smooth, yet full-bodied and aromatic, the taste is lightly floral with hints of caramel.

If You Want: Something Unique

We carry many unique, hard-to-find black teas that stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking to expand your tea repertoire or try something new, these teas are great options.

1. Nepalese Gold Black Tea

Grown in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, Nepalese Gold is a rich and mellow black tea with notes of honey and stone fruit, mild astringency, and a clean finish. This award-winning tea is a lovely reddish-golden hue and brews up into a flavorful and well-balanced cup.

2. Japanese Wakoucha Black Tea

Wakoucha is a rare black tea produced in Japan. It is a mild tea with a medium body, notes of honey and spice, and a smooth finish with just a hint of astringency.

3. Nigiri Black Tea

A strong organic black tea from southwest India. Nilgiri is a region that's rapidly becoming known for rich, well-rounded teas with intensely fragrant aromas. The environmental conditions in Nilgiri are perfect for growing quality, full-bodied teas.

4. Lapsang Souchong Black Tea

Our organic Lapsang Souchong is a smoky, aromatic tea with a smooth, crisp character. Reminiscent of woodsmoke or even expensive cigars, this classic tea has a hint of natural sweetness and is perfect to curl up with on a cool day. Like a campfire in a cup!


Choosing a Flavored Black Tea

In addition to classic, unflavored black tea, black teas also come in a variety of flavored blends with added herbs and spices. Popular flavored blends include Masala Chai, Apricot Brandy, and Vanilla Velvet.

If You Want: A Fragrant Spiced Black Tea

Spiced black teas are flavored with spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. These blends are rich, aromatic, and go great with a splash of milk and honey.

1. Masala Chai Black Tea

This traditional chai blend includes cinnamon, cardamom, ginger root, and cloves, all blended in perfect proportion with a premium Ceylon tea. Add milk and honey for the classic drink, or try it alone for a spicier cup.

2. Solstice Spice Black Tea

A spicy blend of black tea with apple, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange slices, and pink pepper – with a taste reminiscent of the holidays. A classic spiced tea!

If You Want: Something Fruity

Fruity black teas are flavored with fruits like apricots, peaches, oranges, and more. These teas are great hot, and also make excellent iced teas.

1. Apricot Brandy Black Tea

Organic apricot pieces and natural brandy flavor give this black tea blend a delicious full flavor and luscious sweetness. An aromatic and visually appealing blend, it’s also our best selling flavored tea.

2. Ginger Peach Black Tea

In our Ginger Peach tea, the spicy character of ginger is mellowed perfectly by the sweetness of peaches. A smooth, classic black tea with a bright, flavorful taste that’s refreshing served hot or iced.

3. Orange Peel Black Tea

This tangy-sweet organic Orange Peel black tea is quickly becoming our newest best seller! We've blended organic black tea with organic orange peels for a delicious drink that's loaded with citrusy flavor.

4. Pomegranate Lemon Black Tea

This enlivening blend of pomegranate and lemon is equal parts sweet and tart, and it's naturally loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. A crisp, tasty black tea that is refreshing hot or iced.

If You Want: Something Sweet

While these black teas don’t actually contain any sweeteners, they’re flavored with ingredients like cacao nibs that are naturally sweet. Like dessert in a cup!

1. Vanilla Velvet Black Tea

Vanilla Velvet brews up into a decadent cup of rich vanilla tea with a full body, and buttery, slightly floral notes. This tea is great on its own or with a splash of milk.

2. Coco Loco Black Tea

Our Coco Loco tea is a velvety smooth and decadently rich treat! We've blended organic black tea with organic shredded coconut and organic cacao nibs for a delicious drink that is rich, chocolatey, and naturally sweet.

Black Tea Caffeine Content

Black teas tend to be high in caffeine, containing about half as much caffeine as coffee per cup. The caffeine content present in tea is influenced by several factors, including:

  • Tea varietal - Black tea can be produced from either the indigenous Chinese or Indigenous Indian tea varietal. The Indian varietal tends to be slightly higher in caffeine.

  • Leaf size - The smaller the leaf size, the higher the caffeine content tends to be, since the tea is more concentrated. Many black teas are produced using the CTC or cut-tear-crush method, which results in a smaller broken leaf.

  • Water temperature - The hotter the water, the more caffeine will be present in your tea. We recommend preparing black tea using boiling water.

  • Steep time - The longer you steep your tea, the higher in caffeine it will be. We recommend infusing black teas for about three to five minutes.

Black Tea Benefits

Like other types of tea produced from the camellia sinensis tea plant, black tea has a variety of health benefits. These include:

  • High in antioxidants - Like other types of tea made from the camellia sinensis plant, black tea is extremely high in antioxidants. Antioxidants work to reduce free radicals in the body and promote cellular health, and can even help prevent degenerative diseases and certain forms of cancer.

  • Good for your heart - Black tea has been shown to help boost heart health in a variety of studies. Black tea contains flavanoids, which are a special compound that holds the key to many of black tea’s important health benefits.

  • Good for digestion - Black tea has been shown to help improve digestion and soothe stomach troubles.

  • Helps lower blood pressure -Drinking black tea on a regular basis has been linked to a modest reduction in blood pressure, making it a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Lowering blood pressure can help to improve heart health and reduce the risk of illness and disease. Black tea has also been shown to help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can also positively affect blood pressure.

  • Good for energy - Whether you’re looking for a good cup of tea to get you going in the morning, or to give you a boost throughout the day, black tea is an energizing tea that can help to increase alertness and focus.

  • Good for your skin - Black tea is high in a variety of vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin, including zinc, magnesium, and potassium, all of which can help to protect and rejuvenate the skin.

  • Reduces inflammation - Black tea can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can soothe muscle soreness and chronic pain, as well as ward off inflammation-related diseases like arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and IBS.

  • Good for your teeth - Studies have shown that black tea contains compounds that attack harmful bacteria within the mouth, which can help prevent the buildup of plaque. Black tea also limits the production of acid that can wear away at teeth and eventually cause cavities.

  • Helps ward off colds - If you’re feeling under the weather, a cup of black tea can actually help to ease symptoms of the common cold, or even ward off colds entirely. Black tea contains catechins with antiviral properties that may contribute to the prevention of common illnesses such as colds and the flu.

  • Good for headaches - Black tea is also known for soothing minor headaches, due to its moderate caffeine content. It constricts blood vessels that are often responsible for headaches, which can help to soothe symptoms and reduce pain. The caffeine present in black tea can also help increase the effectiveness of pain medication like aspirin and ibuprofen.

Preparing Black Teas

To brew black teas, we recommend heating your water until it reaches a full boil (approximately 212 degrees.) Use one teaspoon of tea leaves for every six ounces of water in your pot or cup, and infuse your tea leaves for about three to five minutes. If you like a stronger black tea, you should time your infusion closer to five minutes, and stick closer to three minutes if you like a mellower cup. As with all of our loose leaf teas, we recommend using a teapot, tea infuser, or tea filter to give the tea leaves enough room to expand as the tea steeps.


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