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Current Location: Homepage » Chinese Culture » Chinese Tea Culture 茶文化 » Main Body

Dark Tea 黑茶

Profile:Dark Tea 黑茶
Dark tea belongs to Post-fermented tea group, a special type of tea from China. It has a history of over 400 years since its appearance. Since the raw materials used to make dark tea are old and coarse, they have to be piled up for a long time for fermenting. This explains why most dark tea leaves look brown, and therefore called “Dark Tea.”
The first dark tea was produced from raw green tea in Sichuan Province, which was steamed and compressed, and then sold to the border areas. Since tea produced in Sichuan Province had to transport to the northwestern area and the transportations at that time were not convenient, it was compressed into chunks to reduce the size. In the process of making it into chunks, the tea had to be made into semi-finished wet tea and piled for over 20 days, during this time the tea would turn its color from green to brown. The outcome of the production process for the tea is chunks of tea that are dark and brown in color, thus forming a unique flavor among all types of tea. This is how dark tea is created.
Dark tea is mainly produced in Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guangxi, and is also very popular among the Tibetan, the Mongolians and the Uyghurs. Main types of dark tea consist of pu’er tea from Yunnan Province, dark tea from Hunan Province, old oolong tea from Hubei Province, oolong tea from Sichuan Province and liubao loose tea from Guangxi Province.
Dark tea from Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces. Dark tea from Yunnan Province is produced with dark semi-finished tea, which is soaked with tide water for fermenting. All kinds of dark tea can be called pu’er tea. All pu’er loose tea are strong in tea leaves, its tea water is orange-yellow, has long lasting flavor and can be drunk directly. By using pu'er loose tea as a basic material, teas can be steamed and compressed into different forms - cake tea, compressed tea and Chi Tse Pu-erh tea.
Dark tea from Hunan Province. Dark tea from Hunan Province is mainly produced in Anhua. It is also produced in areas like Yiyang, Taojiang, Ningxiang, Hanshou, and Yuanjiang. Hunan Dark Tea leaves are rolled into shape like loaches with a dark color. The tea water is orange in color and brown when seen from the bottom. It has a sweet and pure taste with a nice flavor. When steaming the tealeaves, they can be shaped into dark brick, flower brick and other type of brick.
Old Oolong Tea from Hubei Province. Old oolong tea is produced in areas like Puqi, Xianning, Tongshan, Chongyang and Tongcheng, etc. The tea leaves are quite coarse and old, with many tea stalks. By using old oolong tea as a basic material, teas can be steamed and compressed into finished products in the form of bricks called “old oolong bricks,” they are sold mainly to Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Brick tea from Sichuan Province. Brick tea from Sichuan province can be divided into 2 categories, namely the southern brick tea and the western brick tea. The southern brick tea is produced in Ya’an, Tianquan and Rongjing, in the Sichuan province. After the tea is being compressed, it is sold mainly to Tibet and also to Qinghai province and to Ganzi Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province. The western brick tea is produced in Guanxian county, Chongqing, and Dayi,in Sichuan province. The tea is steamed, compressed and packaged into square and round bamboo, and are sold mainly to Aba Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, Qinghai province, Gansu province and Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The southern srick tea is produced by tapping the tea branches and leaves with cutting knives, then piling them together and drying them after many rounds of steaming and distilling. It is easy to make western brick tea, simply by drying the tea branches and leaves after collecting.
Dark tea from Guangxi province. The most famous dark tea from Guangxi province is called liubao tea, which got its name from wher the tea is produced – Liubao town, Cangwu county, in Guangxi province.. Liubao town has been producing this tea for over two centuries. Currently, besides Cangwu county, other counties like Hexian county, Heng county, Chenxi county, Yulin county, Zhaoping county, Lingui county, and Xingan county are also producing the dark tea. The dark tea produced in Liubao town is characteristic of being red in color, strong in taste, sweet in flavor and aging in time.

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