Black tea is one of the most popular varieties used here in Australia, yet it somehow is underrated compared to its counterparts, such as green and white tea. So what’s the deal with black tea – is it a good source of caffeine, and is it as healthy as other teas?
Black Tea Defined
Black tea, like its green counterpart, comes from the plant camellia sinensis. When the tea leaves are seeped, the water will turn to red-dark brown or black. Whereas green tea is not oxidized, black tea undergoes further processing and therefore has higher level of oxidation, or exposure to oxygen.
Black Tea and Caffeine
Black tea contains 2 to 4 per cent caffeine. Generally, a cup of black tea contains half as much caffeine as a cup of brewed coffee. Because of this, it is advised to limit black tea consumption to five cups per day (and less for pregnant women) to avoid excessive caffeine intake.
Black Tea and Health Benefits
Other than keeping you alert – thanks to the caffeine – black tea is rich in polyphenols (protective antioxidants) including catechins, which are considered to have anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties. Studies also found that black tea intake is associated with reduced risk of ovarian cancer, clogged arteries, heart attack and cardiovascular disease as well as Parkinson’s and kidney stones development.
However, it is still advised to drink no more than five cups of black tea to avoid caffeine’s side effects, which include nausea, headache, irregular heartbeat and sleeping problems. Also, make sure not to add too much sugar or other additives to your cuppa to prevent extra calorie intake and increased diabetes risk.