With its long and rich history, it's no wonder the tradition of pouring yourself a cup of tea as a form of self-care has prevailed for thousands of years. Used originally as healing medicine: black tea somehow has the ability to solve so many of life's problems.
You might take it with milk or prefer it without. You may take sugar or think it's better as it is. Either way, black tea is always there for us whenever we need it. After all, there's nothing more healing than a hot cup of tea.
Where does black tea come from?
For centuries, tea has been enjoyed by people across the world, but it was China where it found its origins. The Camellia sinensis plant, more commonly known as the tea plant, is native to China and Southeast Asia. It was originally used as healing medicine, and from its many health benefits, it's easy to see why.
As tea gained in popularity, so did the tea trade. It became a status symbol to drink tea, as only the rich could afford such a luxury that was so expensive to import. Now, tea is accessible and affordable, to the point where it's actually considered part of a morning routine for most.
Does black tea contain caffeine?
Black tea naturally contains caffeine due to the fact that it's derived from the plant Camellia sinensis. However, the majority of brands stock decaffeinated alternatives if you're looking to reduce your intake, especially before bed. Green tea also contains caffeine as it comes from the same plant.
On the other hand, fruit and herbal tea have no caffeine content as it's made of fruits and herbs.
How is black tea good for your health?
Believe it or not, there are a good few health benefits when it comes to drinking tea.
Tea can act as an antioxidant, is high in nutrients and may help to reduce your risk for certain conditions like heart problems, cancer and stroke. It could also improve your metabolism, boost immunity and reduce your cholesterol.
However, it's important to remember that an excess of caffeinated drinks can have a harmful impact on your health. (That's any more than four cups of tea a day!) The side effects of caffeine consumption can involve headaches, dehydration and shakiness, to name a few.
So, if you're an avid tea drinker, it might be best to stick to caffeine-free options so that you're not left feeling the undesirable effects.
Best black tea
Here are the best black teas that we could find, from loose-leaf and flavoured tea to the more traditional teas.
Darjeeling 50 Tea Bags
Best Darjeeling black tea
Treat yourself to the delicate floral flavour of a Darjeeling tea. Best for special occasions, and of course, as your morning cup of tea of choice.
Review: "Darjeeling is one of my favourite teas. Mostly afternoon tea or a good weekend tea. Love the flavour and aroma."
Tetley Original 240 Tea Bags
Best classic cuppa
A smooth and mild flavour makes Tetley's forever easy to drink. It's another nation's favourite and a much-loved brand that's popular across the country.
Review: "My all-time favourite tea bags to use. Can never go wrong with a cuppa of Tetley tea!"
Black Tea with Lemon, 25 Tea Bags, 50g
Best black tea with fruit flavour
This zesty blend of black tea with lemon infusion will give you a burst of energy in the morning. From loose leaf to standard tea bags, Fortnum & Mason have an amazing selection of tea available. Their range of fruit tea blends, such as peach, strawberry and apple, give a fresh fruity taste in single a cup.
Assam Loose Leaf Tea 50g
Best Assam black tea
Supplying high-quality loose-leaf tea of all kinds, this company on Etsy have almost every flavour of black tea you could think of. For strong, full-bodied flavour: Assam tea can add depth to your morning brew.
Review: "Excellent Assam tea, thank you for the quick delivery."
English Rose Loose Tea
Best infused black tea
For a special treat yourself moment, get lost in this English Rose tea by Whittard. Including decadent scattered rose petals, this is a sweet floral flavour that will truly transport you to a happy place.
Review: "Cannot compare to any other taste... Best of the best. Perfect to get rid of my stress... Felt like I was somewhere else when I drank this tea!"
Earl Grey Loose Tea
Best Earl Grey black tea
Another amazing choice from Whittard is this loose-leaf Earl Grey tea. With its subtle citrus taste, this is a great morning wake up call that you'll never get tired of.
Review: "Easily the best Earl Grey I've ever had. That aroma you get when you open the tin and breathe it in is remarkable!"
Everyday Decaffeinated 80 Tea Bags
Best decaffeinated black tea
If you're trying to cut back on your caffeine intake, this tea from Twinings is strong enough in taste that it'll almost make you forget that it's caffeine-free.
Review: "It tastes great and of course, without caffeine. I can finally enjoy a cup of bold tea even though I'm sensitive to caffeine!"
English Breakfast, 50 Tea Bags
Best English Breakfast black tea
Rich, smooth and robust: this English Breakfast tea is perfectly paired with the first meal of the day, as the name suggests. If you're new to black tea of different flavours, this one is a great start.
Review: "This classic tea is full-bodied, refreshing with an inviting colour to complement. The flavour is smooth and velvety and perfect to wake you up in the morning or drink in the afternoon!"
Yorkshire Tea Bags
Best proper brew
One of the nation's favourites is a hardy and reliable Yorkshire tea. Bright and golden in colour with different flavours, this one just had to make it onto our list.
Review: "I have tried all the main brands of tea, but Yorkshire is always the brand I go back to. For strong flavoursome tea, you cannot go wrong."
PG Tips Original Biodegradable Pyramid Tea Bags, 240 Tea Bags, Pack of 4
Best for keeping it tea
Last but not least is PG Tips, with their pyramid-shaped tea bags for infusing flavour and taste. Across the country, it's a go-to choice for the avid tea drinker in the morning.
Review: "PG Tips. Absolutely spot on with taste. Refreshing and flavoursome as usual.