Tea » Organic Black Tea

Organic Drops ® Black Tea 

Black tea is a type of tea that is more oxidized than oolong, green and white tea. All four types are made from leaves of the shrub (or small tree)Camellia sinensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor than the less oxidized teas. 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.

In Chinese languages and the languages of neighboring countries, black tea is known as "red tea" (Japanese kōcha; 홍차, Korean hongcha), a description of the colour of the liquid; the Western term "black tea" refers to the colour of the oxidized leaves. In Chinese, "black tea" is a commonly used classification for post-fermented teas, such as Pu-erh tea; outside of China and its neighbouring countries, "red tea" more commonly refers torooibos, a South African tisane.

While green tea usually loses its flavor within a year, black tea retains its flavour 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.


Generally, unblended black teas are named after the region in which they are produced. Often, different regions are known for producing teas with characteristic flavors.

Tea blending and additives

Black tea is often blended and mixed with various other plants in order to obtain a beverage.

Blend Description

Earl Grey

Black tea with bergamot oil.

English breakfast

Full-bodied, robust, and/or rich, and blended to go well with milk and sugar.

English afternoon tea

Medium bodied, bright and refreshing. Strong Assam and Kenyan teas are blended with Ceylon which adds a light, brisk quality to the blend.

Irish breakfast

Blend of several black teas: most often Assam teas and, less often, other types of black tea.

Masala chai

Combines black tea, spices, milk, and a sweetener such as sugar or honey; a traditional beverage from India which has been adapted in the West with changes to the method of preparation.

In the United States, citrus fruits such as orange or lemon, or their respective rinds, are often used to create flavored black teas sometimes in conjunction with spices (such ascinnamon). These products can be easily confused with citrus-based herbal teas, but the herbal products will generally be labelled as having no caffeine; whereas, the tea-based products do contain caffeine.

Manufacture Tea processing

1.      After the harvest, the leaves are first withered by blowing air on them.

2.      Then black teas are processed in either of two ways, CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) or orthodox. The CTC method produces leaves of fannings or dust grades that are commonly used in tea bags but also produces higher (broken leaf) grades such as BOP CTC and GFBOP CTC (see gradings below for more details). This method is efficient and effective for producing a better quality product from medium and lower quality leaves of consistently dark color. Orthodox processing is done either by machines or by hand. Hand processing is used for high quality teas. While the methods employed in orthodox processing differ by tea type, this style of processing results in the high quality loose tea sought by many connoisseurs. The tea leaves are allowed to completely oxidize.

•                     Orthodox: The withered tea leaves are heavily rolled either by hand or mechanically through the use of a cylindrical rolling table or a rotovane. The rolling table consists of a ridged table-top moving in an eccentric manner to a large hopper of tea leaves, of which the leaves are pressed down onto the table-top. The process produces a mixture of whole and broken leaves, and particles which are then sorted, oxidized, and dried. The rotorvane (rotovane), created by Ian McTear in 1957 can be used to replicate the orthodox process. The rotovane consisted on an auger pushing withered tea leaves through a vane cylinder which crushes and evenly cuts the leaves, however the process is more recently superseded by the boruah continuous roller, which consists of an oscillating conical roller around the inside a ridged cylinder.[4] The rotorvane can consistently duplicate broken orthodox processed black tea of even sized broken leaves, however it cannot produce whole leaf black tea. The broken leaves and particles from the orthodox method can feed into the CTC method for further processing into fanning or dust grade teas.

•                     CTC: "Cut, tear, curl" or "Crush, tear, curl" black teas is a production method developed by William McKercher in 1930. It is considered by some as a significantly improved method of producing black tea to the orthodox through the mincing of wither tea leaves. The use of a rotovane to precut the withered tea is a common preprocessing method prior to feeding into the CTC .CTC machines then further shred the leaves from the rotavane by processing them through several series of contra-rotation rotors with surfaces patterning that cut and tear the leaves to very fine particles.

3.        Next, the leaves are oxidized under controlled temperature and humidity. (This process is also called "fermentation", which is a misnomer since no actual fermentation takes place.) The level of oxidation determines the type (or "colour") of the tea; with fully oxidised becoming black tea, low oxidised becoming green tea, and partially oxidised making up the various levels of oolong tea. This can be done on the floor in batches or on a conveyor bed with air flow for proper oxidation and temperature control. Since oxidation begins at the rolling stage itself, the time between these stages is also a crucial factor in the quality of the tea however fast processing of the tea leaves through continuous methods can effectively make this a separate step. The oxidisation has an important effect on the taste of the end product, but the amount of oxidisation is not an indication of quality. Tea producers match oxidisation levels to the teas they produce to give the desired end characteristics.

1.     Then the leaves are dried to arrest the oxidation process.

2.      Finally, the leaves are sorted into grades according to their sizes (whole leaf, brokens, fannings and dust), usually with the use of sieves. The tea could be further sub-graded according to other criteria.

The tea is then ready for packaging.

Tea grading

Black tea is usually graded on one of four scales of quality. Whole leaf teas are highest quality followed by broken leaves, fannings, and dusts. Whole leaf teas are produced with little or no alteration to the tea leaf. This results in a finished product with a coarser texture than that of bagged teas. Whole leaf teas are widely considered the most valuable, especially if they contain leaf tips. Broken leaves are commonly sold as medium grade loose teas. Smaller broken varieties may be included in tea bags. Fannings are usually small particles of tea left over from the production of larger tea varieties, but are occasionally manufactured specifically for use in bagged teas. Dusts are the finest particles of tea left over from production of the above varieties, and are often used for tea bags with very fast, very harsh brews. Fannings and dust are useful in bagged teas because the greater surface area of the many particles allows for a fast, complete diffusion of the tea into the water. Fannings and dusts usually have a darker colour, lack of sweetness, and stronger flavor when brewed.


Generally, 2.25 grams of tea per 180 ml of water, or about a teaspoon of black tea per 6 oz. cup, should be used.[citation needed] Unlike green teas, which turn bitter when brewed at higher temperatures, black tea should be steeped in freshly boiled water. The more delicate black teas, such as Darjeeling, should be steeped for 3 to 4 minutes. The same holds for broken leaf teas, which have more surface area and need less brewing time than whole leaves. Whole leaf black teas, and black teas that will be served with milk or lemon, should be steeped 4 to 5 minutes.[8] Longer steeping times make the tea bitter (at this point, in the UK it is referred to as being "stewed"). When the tea has brewed long enough to suit the tastes of the drinker, it should be strained before serving.

The ISO Standard 3103 defines how to brew tea for tasting.

Health effects of tea

Plain black tea without sweeteners or additives contains negligible quantities of calories, protein, sodium, and fat. Some flavored tea with different herbs added may have less than 1 gram of carbohydrates. All teas from the camellia tea plant are rich in polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant.

Drinking a moderate amount of black tea (one to four cups a day) may boost blood pressure slightly, but the effect does not last long. And drinking this amount of black tea is not associated with long-term high blood pressure.


A 2001 Boston University study concluded that short and long-term black tea consumption reverses endothelial vasomotor dysfunction in patients with coronary artery disease. This finding may partly explain the association between tea intake and decreased cardiovascular disease events.

In 2006, a German study concluded that the addition of milk prevents vascular protective effects of tea.

Theaflavin-3-gallate, a theaflavin derivative found in black tea, could reduce the incorporation of cholesterol into mixed micelle abstract.

                                Nepali tea is a beverage from the leaves of tea plants produced in Nepal. Nepal produces certain teas that are somewhat related to Darjeeling tea in its appearance, aroma and fruity taste.The reason for the similarity of tea produced in Nepal with the well-known Darjeeling tea is that the eastern zones of Nepal, which are the main tea producing regions of Nepal, have more or less the same geographical and topographical conditions as the Darjeeling.

Nevertheless, Nepal's teas does stand apart from the Darjeeling tea, despite being introduced to the world much later than the Darjeeling tea. Tea connoisseurs consider some of the teas from Nepal to be much better than the Darjeeling tea in its aroma, fusion, taste and colour.However, Nepali tea has not been that successful in capturing limelight in the world tea market, mainly due to the lack of sufficient quantities of tea, that often fails to meet the demand. Since its inception, Nepal's teas are characterized by two types of tea, which are Orthodox tea and CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) tea.

Orthodox tea

Orthodox tea refers to the process, where the tea is hand-processed or by rolling it in the machines which mimics the hand rolling technique. Most of the speciality teas, like green tea, oolong tea, white tea and hand rolled tea come under the category of orthodox tea. In Nepal, orthodox tea is produced and processed in the mountainous regions of Nepal at an altitude ranging from 3,000 – 7,000 feet above the sea level. There are six major districts, primarily in the eastern regions of Nepal that are known for producing quality orthodox tea, which are Ilam,Panchthar, Dhankuta, Terathum, Sindhupalchok and Kaski.

Orthodox tea in Nepal is characterized by four flushes:-

•       First flush, begins in the fourth week of March and continues until the end of April. The leaves are tender and the liquor is light yellowish green in color, having a delicate taste with subtle aroma and flavor. The first flush is considered to be more expensive, because of its light and delicate flavor, but also due to the fact that it is produced in low quantity and the demand outstrips the supply.

•       Second flush, starts during the second week of May and lasts until the last week of July. In the second flush the leaves gain more strength and exhibits the main characteristics of tea in contrast to the first flush tea. Some experts state that the best tea is made during the second flush.

•        Monsoon flush, also referred as "Rainy tea" begins immediately after the second flush, that is around the last week of July and continues until the end of September. The monsoon tea, due to the continuous rain, exhibits a very intense and dark fusion as the tea develops its full color and strength, resulting into a full bodied tea. It is often recommended.

•         Autumn flush, usually begins in October and lasts until the end of November. The autumn tea gives a fantastic combination of musky flavors, tangy aromas and an amber liquor.

CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) tea

Crush tear curl (CTC) tea is a method of processing tea, where three main steps are involved - crush, tear and curl, hence the name CTC tea.CTC tea is produced in lower altitudes in the fertile plains of Nepal, which are warm and humid, primarily in the Jhapa district, which is ideal for the production and processing of CTC tea. The CTC tea produced in Nepal is known to be of average quality. It accounts for almost 95% of the domestic consumption, owing to its cost of production, which is much less comparatively to that of the orthodox tea.

The Nepal CTC tea is also characterized by four pronounced flushes, the First, Second, Monsoon and Autumn flushes, but unlike the orthodox tea, the CTC tea is more or less uniform throughout, often exhibiting a strong color and subtle aroma after infusion. However, the flushes does not begin and end in accordance with that of the orthodox tea, mainly because of the difference in the geographical and topographical conditions.


During the Rana Dynasty

During the 1800s and the early 1900s, Nepal was under the reign of a highly centralized autocracy – “Rana Dynasty”. The Rana Dynasty expressed as monarchy. Under its reign, policies were ratified which often resulted in the isolation of Nepal from the external world. Nepal’s borders and governance were constantly under turmoil, both internally and externally. Unlike India, the policies helped Nepal retain its national independence from the British colonial rule. Although the policies helped Nepal maintain its independence, it insulated Nepal from modernization and economic development. Thus the nascent Nepali tea industry was greatly affected, and received a major setback, contrary to the “cousin” Darjeeling tea industry, which thrived under the British colonial rule.

It is believed by historians that the first tea bushes in Nepal were grown from seeds which were given as a gift by the Chinese Emperor to the then Prime Minister of Nepal, Jung Bahadur Rana. Nevertheless, Nepal's tea industry owes its roots to the colonization of India, by the world's first multinational company, the “East India Company”, under the British Empire. Around 1863, within a time span of 10 years after the first tea plantation was set up in Darjeeling, hybrids of tea bushes were brought, and the Nepal’s first tea plantation, Ilam Tea Estate was set up in Ilam district, at an altitude of 4,500-5,000 feet above the sea level. Visioning better future prospects of the tea industry in Nepal, two years later a second tea plantation, Soktim Tea Estate was set up in theJhapa district.

However, the nascent tea industry of Nepal failed to grow. At a time period when the Darjeeling tea industry was beginning to do very well in the global mercantilist market, the tea industry of Nepal failed to provide even for the domestic consumption. The reason for the setback of the Nepal’s young tea industry was mainly due to political turmoil and resulting economic policies of that period, under the reign of the Rana Dynasty.

After the Rana Dynasty

During the 1950s, there was a shift in the political scenario of Nepal. A new constitution was written to develop a democratic system. Despite failure in successful democratization, Nepal’s economy at least opened up to the rest of the world. As a result, the stagnant tea industry witnessed an inflow of public and private investment. The first private tea plantation was set up in 1959, in the terai region under the name Bhudhakaran Tea Estate.

In 1996, the Nepal Tea Development Corporation (NTDC) was set up to aid the development of the tea industry. Originally tea leaves produced in Nepal were sold to factories in Darjeeling, as the Darjeeling tea bushes had become old, leading to the deterioration of the processed tea. The Nepalese tea leaves were therefore a valuable input for the factories in and around Darjeeling. Finally in 1978, the first factory in Nepal was set up in Ilam for the processing of tea leaves and a few years later another factory was set up in Soktim, Jhapa district. From 1978 to the 1990s, various efforts were made by the Nepal Tea Development Corporation with the Overseas Development Administration (ODA), to encourage the participation of small and marginal farmers in the growth and production of tea as a cash crop. As a result, today the small and marginal famers constitute the majority percentage share in Nepal's tea industry. Slowly, the stagnant tea industry was evolving into a fully commercialized industry, benefitting the country’s economic and socio-economic development. To further aid in the development of its tea industry, in 1982, His Majesty’s Government of Nepal under the reign of the then King of Nepal Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, declared five districts – Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Dhankuta and Terhathum as Tea Zones of Nepal.

From 1987 to 1993, some of today’s notable institutions were incorporated to further aid the Nepal Tea Development Corporation in the development of a century old stagnant tea industry, like – National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB), Nepal Tea Planters' Association (NTPA) and Himalayan Orthodox Tea Producers' Association (HOTPA). In 1997, Nepal's tea industry saw a major transformation towards privatization, with the privatization of the plantations and factories under the Nepal Tea Development Corporation (NTDC).

Since the late 1990s and into the early 2000s, an array of international non-governmental organizations (like – Winrock, SNV, GTZ etc.) have become involved with the stakeholders of Nepal's tea industry, because the tea industry in Nepal also played a significant role in the eradication of poverty, especially in the rural areas where the tea plantations were concentrated. By the 21st century the stagnant tea industry had transformed into a fully commercialized industry, yet it had not yet developed a strong brand in the global market, lacking efficiently integrated production and marketing systems.

Hence, in 2000 as per the provisions of the National Tea and Coffee Development Board Act of 1992, the Government of Nepal ratified the National Tea Policy. The National Tea Policy focussed on the following five main broad topics: -

1.      Production and processing

2.      Market and trade promotion

3.      Institutional arrangement

4.      Manpower development

5.      Development and promotion of auxiliary industries


Today, Nepal’s tea industry is dominated by private players with the first private orthodox factory, Maloom Tea Estate being established in 1993, whereas in the 1980s the tea industry was a Government monopoly prior to the liberalization of the tea industry. Until 2000, Nepal's tea exports accounted for only about 100 – 150 tons per annum. However, due to the liberalization adopted about a decade ago, Nepal's tea industry witnessed an exponential rise in tea exports, accounting for almost 4,000 – 5,000 tons per annum.

At present, Nepal produces approximately 16.29 million kilograms of tea per annum on an area of 16,718 hectares. It accounts for only 0.4% of the total world tea output. The main tea producing regions in Nepal are Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Dhankuta, Terhathum with newly involved regions being Kaski, Dolakha, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Bhojpur, Solukhumbu and Nuwakot, with a goal of increasing the total tea production in Nepal. Nepal's teas are mainly exported to India, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, France, Poland the Netherlands, Japan, Belgium and the United States of America.

Himalayan Orthodox Tea Producers Association (HOTPA), the association of orthodox tea producers of Nepal, realizing the potential of the Nepalese orthodox tea in the global market, has been adopting various measures to improve the quality and marketing of orthodox tea. In 2003, Himalayan Tea Producers Co-operative Limited (HIMCOOP), the marketing wing of the Himalayan Orthodox Tea Producers Association (HOTPA), was set up to assist in the marketing of Nepali tea. Similarly, in 2006, the Himalayan Orthodox Tea Producers Association (HOTPA) implemented the Code of Conduct. The main objective of the Code of Conduct was to increase the standards of Nepalese orthodox tea to an international level. The main principles of the Code of Conduct are:-

1.    Respect towards nature

2.    Respect towards human

3.    Respect towards production system

4.    Respect towards towards quality

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