Loose black tea or teabags are what most people think about when they think of tea. It makes up 80% of the worlds total consumption and is also Chinas largest tea export. It is also one of the most processed and thus it is fully fermented. This causes it to have the least amount of antioxidants and vital nutrients.
This is the only kind of tea that should be taken with milk and/or sugar and of course it can be taken black as well. It is commonly blended with other varieties to produce unique one of a kind flavors. It can also have dried fruits or flavorings added to give it that extra something that none of the other teas have. Teabags are very common and make a nice brew but loose black is usually a higher quality. These days you will find some stores selling very poor quality loose black tea and in those situations you can actually get a better cup from one of the big name brands of boxed teas.
Black tea benefits
Even though it is processed more than any other it can still be a healthy choice for any diet. Research has shown decreased stroke incidence in men is related to flavonoid intake which was found to result from drinking black tea. It also contains a certain amount of antioxidants just like the other varietys. If you take yours black without milk you may want to eat a small snack with your beverage since the tannic acid may irritate some peoples stomach. Even with milk it can be irritating first thing in the morning when you have not eaten anything at all so be sure to eat something for breakfast with your hot brew.
Once the leaves are dried and processed they become dark brown to black and when brewed it produces a very dark brown color. If it has dried fruits or flowers it may produce a lighter color when brewed.
How to brew loose black tea
Start with the freshest water you can find. If you don't have a source for spring water
then use filtered water. It's best if you warm the teapot with a bit of hot water before you put the tea inside.
Be sure to boil the water well and simply pour it over the loose tea or tea bags.
Teapot: Pre-warm the pot with some hot or boiling water.
Water: Rolling Boil
Brew: 3 - 5 minutes (adjust for taste)