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What’s in your black tea?

Can’t wake up without a cup of tea, that’s a common phenomena in many households. Do we consume too much? For every study that raises the red flag about potential risks of drinking too much tea, there are 10 or more studies that tout the good things. For example, there are the antioxidant properties of tea, its ability to lower one's risk for some types of cancer. Drinking large amounts of black tea, or more than four or five cups a day, may cause health problems. That’s mostly because of caffeine-related side effects.Are we consuming high quality tea? Let’s deep dive and understand what’s in our black tea and the effects on our body:


The iron content present in tea is classified as ‘inherent iron’ and ‘iron filings’. The former is of plant origin (nonmagnetic part), while the latter is extraneous in nature (magnetic part). In tea-manufacturing process, a lot of machinery made of iron are utilised to crush, tear, curl and roll the withered leaf after harvesting. For example, tea leaves are dried in a sieve fitted with a mesh and leaves are cut using iron rollers. The powder is crushed in an iron machinery. Due to continuous wear and tear of these machines, the metallic iron particles may get stuck to the tea grains. An excess of iron in the human body can cause overloading and lead to diseases like liver cirrhosis, osteoporosis, scurvy, heart failure and oesophageal cancer.


Theaflavins are primarily responsible for the darker colour and stronger flavour of black tea. These have been proved to be effective as antioxidants and have many uses – from treating headaches and staving off allergies to protecting the heart and reducing cancer risk.

  • Total Ash

Ash refers to the inorganic material, such as minerals, present in food. It is the portion of the food or any organic material that remains after it is burned at very high temperatures. Some minerals are essential to a healthy diet (for example, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium), whereas others can be toxic (lead, mercury, cadmium and aluminium). The quality of many foods depends on the concentration and type of minerals they contain, including their taste, appearance, texture and stability. In tea, ash content exists in terms of total ash, acid soluble ash and water soluble ash. Acid insoluble ash indicates the presence of impurity like sand, dirt and dust in food. Water soluble ash is part of the total ash dissolved by water under the conditions specified in Indian Standard.


Fluoride is another content of black tea and thus allows oral and bone health. Black tea, contains flavonoids which are also found in apples. Unlike green tea, black tea, once processed eliminates all antioxidants existing in it. Black tea not only helps to fight bacteria but also strengthens the immune system. As one knows, drinking tea hydrates the body, thus a cup of black tea helps moisturise the skin.

Black tea also balances the hormone levels, which fends off stress. Not only does black tea have anti-inflammatory qualities, it also keeps a check on the digestive tracts functioning. It can help reduce stroke risks as it balances the cholesterol level. It is safe to say that tea breaks are not an unhealthy choice.


Read more on:

Which are the best black tea brands?

Interesting Facts about Tea and 3 Simple Ways to Test the Quality of Tea

Divya Patwal


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