The History of Black Tea
The origin of tea brewing originated many thousands of years ago. The simple act of putting leaves into hot water has provided ancient societies with medicinal benefits, as well as a tasty beverage to enjoy by itself or with a meal.
Many attribute the discovery of tea to the Emperor Shen Nung, a Chinese ruler in the 2700s BC. A leaf accidentally dropped into a glass of hot water, or so the story goes, and tea brewing as we know it was born.
By the 1800s, tea had spread across the world, from China to Europe, and from there to a New World full of tea drinkers in the far west, where the Boston Tea Party and other events in American history show the power of tea in the marketplace.
As the ancient Chinese began to produce more and more tea, they realized that with a special fermentation process, tea leaves became darker. The tea made from these leaves was more potent, and the leaves could be stored for longer periods of time without losing their potency. These tea types were called black tea because of the change in coloration of the leaves through the fermentation process.
The fermentation in black tea brewing is really a process that oxidizes the tea leaves: it also increases the amount of caffeine by weight, making black tea a unique energy source.
Black Tea in Trade
Because of the way black tea is made, the finished product holds its flavor and potency well, making it a hot commodity for generations before our modern methods of food preservation.
The ancient tea sellers made black tea into compressed bricks and sent it on long journeys, trading it with foreign merchants for other materials. In some cases, black tea has even been used as a kind of currency, and over some parts of Asia, experts say, that persisted even into the 19th century. Black tea eventually made its way to the West, where today tea drinkers enjoy black tea in a variety of hot and iced specialty drinks.
Throughout the ages, black tea was used for medicinal purposes; specifically, it was often used to give ailing patients energy and to keep them alert or awake.
Another use of black tea was in dyes for clothing: the compressed pigmentation caused by the process of making black tea was found to be an effective dye, and became a popular color shade Eastern citizens would wear on the streets.
These days, black tea is popular across the world in many prominent brands and flavors, and health-minded individuals still experiment with black tea brewing, adding ingredients like bergamot and citrus to black tea varieties for special tastes that millions of tea drinkers enjoy hot or cold.
The pages of Blacktea.com help detail more about how tea drinkers use black tea brewing in various concoctions, and why many consider it their beverage of choice.