Most of the time when people generally refer to tea in the West, they are referring to black tea. It’s characteristically dark, robust and strong, leading many cultures to use additives like milk and sweeteners. In China, these teas are called red tea, for their red-ish liquor color. But, since in other cultures, things like rooibos tea are also called red tea, we use the Western term, black tea. Many tea producing countries today produce a variety of black tea styles. Black tea was the first style of tea to reach the West in the mid 1600's because of its long shelf life and easy portability.
Black teas are considered fully oxidized, like leaving an apple to fully turn brown. Typically, black teas are rolled to release natural oils, which when react with oxygen to produce a lovely fragrance and changes the flavor of the leaves. When the tea is fully oxidized, high heat is used to finish the tea. This leaves the tea leaves a dark roasted brown color, with flavors ranging from tannic, malty, earthy and chocolate to sweet, citrus, and fruity.
Black tea tend to be a popular choice for meal pairings, due to its ability to accommodate a range of flavor combinations and additives.