The most oxidized of leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Black tea is a type of tea that is more oxidized than oolong, green and white teas. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor than the less oxidized teas. All four types are made from leaves of the shrub (or small tree) Camellia sinensis. Two principal varieties of the species are used – the small-leaved Chinese variety plant (C. sinensis subsp. sinensis), used for most other types of teas, and the large-leaved Assamese plant (C. sinensis subsp. assamica), which was traditionally mainly used for black tea, although in recent years some green and white have been produced.
While green tea usually loses its flavor within a year, black tea retains its flavor for several years. For this reason, it has long been an article of trade, and compressed bricks of black tea even served as a form of de facto currency in Mongolia, Tibet and Siberia into the 19th century. Although green tea has recently seen a revival due to its purported health benefits, black tea still accounts for over ninety percent of all tea sold in the West.
Earl Grey, English or Irish Breakfast, English Afternoon and Masala Chai are composed of black tea. Earl Grey consists of black tea with bergamot oil. Each pairs well with milk and sugar or with lemon.