黑茶 China Dark Tea
Dark Tea is one of the six tea categories in China with a history of over four hundred years, which only exists in China and is an indispensable beverage for the Chinese ethnic minorities in their everyday life. For people who like delicate green tea, it is hard to get used to the strong and unique taste of Dark tea at once while if they stick to drinking it, they would fall in love with the unique mellow flavor of dark tea. Unlike most types of Chinese Tea that's taste and aroma fade with age, Dark Tea actually improves with age, making it a favorite with collectors and investors. Commonly misinterpreted as "Black Tea", this type of tea is completely different from English black tea.
Varieties of Dark Tea
According to the producing areas and production process, it can be divided into Hunan Dark Tea,Hubei Dark Tea, Sichuan Route Tea, Diangui Dark Tea and etc.
Pu'er, Pu-erh, Puer, Po Lei or Bolay is a variety of post-fermented tea produced in Yunnan province, China. Post-fermentation is a tea production style in which the tealeaves undergo a microbial fermentation process after they are dried and rolled. This is a Chinese specialty and is sometimes referred to as dark tea. There are a few different provinces each with a few regions producing dark teas of different varieties. Those produced in Yunnan are generally named Pu'er, referring to the name of Pu'er county which used to be a trading post for dark tea during imperial China
Hunan Dark Tea 湖南黑茶
Dark tea was one of the main kinds of tea in “Tea-horse Exchange”. It also called “Official Tea” which means that this tea was controlled by the government in order to exchange horses with the minorities at that time.
Ming Dynasty government thought that Hunan dark tea with large yield, strong and stimulating taste was more suitable for the minorities to drink with cream cheese in it, so they made the tea produced in Anhua county of Hunan as “official Tea “.It was carried to the areas of Xianyang and Jingyang of Shanxi province and made into “Jingyang Brick Tea”, because produce in summer, so that named “Fu brick tea”.
Liu Bao Tea 六堡茶
The origin of this tea is from Liubao, in the Cangwu county, Guangxi province, China. The tea got its name as Guangxi Liubao.
Liubao tea falls within the same category as Pu-erh, for it is fermented longer than Oolong but less than black. The raw tea leaves harvested in the region are piled up, and exposed to a high degree of humidity for a certain period of time until the desired level of fermentation is achieved. Water is sprayed on occasionally to keep the environment constantly humid and the pile is covered by blankets. Such a humid and warm temperature condition controlled humanly accelerates the fermentation of the tea, known as 'wo dui' in Chinese. It is interesting to know all modern cooked Pu-erh teas are made in the same way.
Sichuan Dark Tea四川黑茶
also named Sichuan Route Tea (四川边茶) including Southern route tea（南路边茶）and Western route tea（西路边茶);: Of dark, brown color with an oily aroma, bright red liquor and thick taste.
HuBei Dark Tea 湖北黑茶
Qing Zhuan Brick
Dark tea is one kind of tea with the most complicated processing among six kinds of tea in China. Owing to long history, it has developed into many tea products; each product is utterly different
in quality for different processing method.
The most important characteristic processes in the processing of dark tea are pile fermenting and fire-drying with pine wood during primary processing. Without these two processes, it can’t be called “dark tea”. At present, the traditional processing method is still applied to the production of Hunan dark tea, which is complicated in technique, high is technology. The processing of some tea products is followed from generation to generation, refused to impart outside, so it’s mysterious kept secret.
In China, it is usually called Border-Sale Tea (Bian Xiao Cha 边销茶), literally, tea sold on borders as it is commonly compressed into forms of bricks and sold in western minority areas of China.
Its name comes from the color of dried tea leaves which results from old coarse raw materials and long time stacking fermentation during its production.
Originally sold as loose leaf tea, producers quickly found that if they compressed the tea into cakes it would store and ship better. Loose leaf tea is available, but it is not as common as compressed tea which comes in several different shapes, some of them quite artistic.
Dark Tea was invented by accident. Tea from Yunnan Province was often shipped was shipped north via the sea and then along the Silk Road. While riding in boats, the humid air caused a chemical reaction in the dried tea leaves causing them to ferment. People found that the fermented leaves had a wonderfully strong aroma and that the leaves lasted much longer than the tea they had
Dark Tea can help digest meat and fat, regulating three metabolic activities (sugar, fat and water), which is one of the main causes why the ethnic minorities in the border areas living mainly on
meat seldom contract diabetes and prostrate diseases. That Mongolian doctors hold dark Tea builds the kidney also sounds very reasonable.
Dark teas, which can be used for anti-ageing, face beautifying and body slimming.