In the present study, we employed high performance liquid chromatography with an amide-C16 column to determine the eighteen major active ingredients in black tea, including theanine, gallic acid, four purine alkaloids, eight catechins and four theaflavins. The method was successfully used to analyse two new kinds of black teas from the leaves of Camellia ptilophylla and Camellia kucha in China and several other world- famous black teas. Forty percentage ethanol was chosen as the extraction solvent for preparing tea extracts. All of the eighteen compounds could be separated within 86 min with a gradient elution system. Excellent linearity was observed for all the standard calibration curves, and correlation coefficients were above 0.9991. The developed method is accurate and sensitive enough for the determination of active components in black tea.