Black Tea: From Historical Necessity to Daily Pleasure.

February 21, 2014
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Thanks to the wide ranging popularity that this family of tea has experienced over the last three centuries there are few people who have never tasted black tea. Imported from China in the early 17th century, the British soon introduced the beverage into their diet for its virtues and obvious daily benefits. The late afternoon break when tea was served with milk, sugar and a snack enabled the population to withstand the harsh working conditions required by the industrial revolution.

From one revolution to another, the one we make around the sun, brings, each year, a season where the weather encourages us to seek rich and invigorating beverages. While some terroirs are well known, others, more discreet, offer black teas that will also enhance your mornings or your return from winter outings. Here are some tantalizing ideas!

The long smothered oxidation method, used on the carefully selected, fine leaves and buds of Chinese Black teas creates rich and sweet liquors, with surprising velvety textures. Their aromas of resinous wood, cocoa or peanut mingle with more delicate fragrances of rose or blackcurrant. While some are sweet and refined, others have more rustic notes of wood fire or leather. Follow the development and diversification of these teas which are increasingly popular in China.

Though the modern mechanization of tea from British know-how has flooded the market with blends and classic brands, why not indulge in the experience of a single garden tea. From Assam to Nilgiri, Sri Lanka, Kenya, discover the malty and woody flavors of these full bodied teas with accents of spices or dried fruits. Accessible and versatile, with or without milk, they will rekindle your sparkle in this icy season!

With its different harvests, the Darjeeling region provides balanced and complex liquors with a wide range of flavors, from nuances of springtime, vegetal and floral, to the comforting character of the summer and autumn productions with notes of hard wood tree bark and caramel. Sophisticated and tasty, these liquors have vanquished the world under the name of champagnes of black teas!

The more adventurous will be delighted with the full and sweet liquor of Nadeshiko, a recent innovation from Japan. Taiwan can also impress us with its famous Sun Moon Lake with vegetal and minty notes, or, from the east coast, Hualien Fengmi with intense floral and honeyed fragrances.

Let yourself be charmed by the rich diversity of black teas and accompany all your friendly gatherings with the simple pleasures of the communal teapot!

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