Different Black Tea Types

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There are typically 4 main grades, based on flush, leaf size, and method of processing. They are Orange Pekoe (OP), Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP), fannings, and dustings. Orange Pekoe consists of full leaves, with no tips or buds. Each of the four types can also be designated flowery, tippy, or golden. 

Assam Black Tea

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This tea is primarily grown in the Assam region in India. Good Assam tea is boldly fragrant but not overpowering. A first sip may uncover astringent and tannic qualities. However, a rich aftertaste of roasted malt and creamy chocolate makes for a smooth finish.

Darjeeling Black Tea

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This exclusive black tea is grown only in Darjeeling, India. First flush Darjeelings are pure heaven. As the first pluckings of the season, first flush Darjeelings yield the freshest, most fragrant teas. Today’s Darjeelings may also be derived from the assamica/sinensis hybrids developed by Lord William Bentinck and his Tea Committee in the 19th century. 

Ceylon Black Tea

The first tea plants in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) originated from the Chinese sinensis variety, which the British brought over in 1824. By 1840, the British were importing Assam tea seeds to the island colony in spades. They were so successful in their tea hegemonic goals that Ceylon emerged as the world’s leading tea exporter in 1965. Ceylon black teas boast full-bodied citrusy flavors, with subtle chocolaty nuances.

Chai Kee Mun

Kee Mun is primarily grown in China’s Anhui province. There are four basic types of Kee Mun: the Mao Feng, Hao Ya, Xin Ya, and Gong Fu. The Mao Feng and Xin Ya varieties are said to be the mildest and sweetest of the four. With Kee Mun, you get a range of floral, fruity, malty, piney, and smoky flavors, depending upon the variety you choose. This tea also has a bright, attractive wine-like color and is currently featured on China’s most famous tea list.

Scottish, English, Or Irish Breakfast Tea

These black tea blends often accompany full European-style breakfasts of eggs, sausages, cold cuts, cheeses, fried tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and baked beans. Conventionally, English breakfast tea is milder than the Scottish or Irish varieties. All three breakfast blends contain a combination of Indian Assam, Ceylon, or Kenyan black teas. You may also find Kee Mun, Sumatran, Java, or Darjeeling mixed in. 

Earl Gray

This pleasant tea is mainly Assam or Darjeeling tea infused with bergamot oil. Bergamot is a type of citrus grown in southern Italy and is said to derive from a fusion of bitter orange and lemon. Often, Earl Grays are combined with vanilla, giving the tea a citrusy natural sweetness and warmth. 

Lapsang Souchong

Known for its luscious, pine smokiness, Lapsang Souchong is the quintessential king of all teas. Today, it still flourishes in the Wuyi mountains of Fujian province and is much favored by tea connoisseurs everywhere. Tea historians maintain that Lapsang Souchong is the earliest of the black teas. 

Dian Hong Cha (also known as Yunnan Red)

This exquisite tea is primarily grown in Yunnan province, China. Dian Hong comes in four varieties: Broken Yunnan, Yunnan Gold, Yunnan Pure Gold, and Golden Needle. Of the four, Yunnan Pure Gold distinguishes itself by its “golden tips” (fine leaf buds): this variety is considered the most exclusive of the Dian Hong teas. Dian Hong is rich and well-balanced in flavor, with no astringent aftertaste.

Kenyan Black Tea

Currently, Kenya is the third largest tea producer in the world, after China and India. In Kenya, tea is mainly grown in the districts of Thika, Maragua, Kericho, Bomet, Nandi, Kiambu, and Kakamega. Today, the Kenya Tea Development Agency promotes the advancement of tea horticulture among native tea farmers.

These are the main types of black tea.

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