5. June 2017

Black Tea

Black Tea Part 1 —— Black Tea

Fresh tea leaves are green, but how black tea turns black. Black tea 红茶 [hóng chá] is 80-90% or higher fermented tea. Freshly picked tea leaves are put in withering troughs to allow them to wither, and thus lose their moisture. After this, leaves  should be rolled and diced or shaped according to needs, and then fermented. During the process, tea polyphenols content drops significantly more than 90%, the chlorophyll in fresh leaves oxidize by the enzymatic reactions of tea polyphenol, degrade and form red polyphenols, such as theaflavins and thearubigins. Theaflavins are yellowish- orange in color and thearubigins are reddish. Both can  dissolve into tea liquid. The other color compounds that do not disolve in tea liquid are brownish in color giving the characteristic black color of tea leaves. Aromatic compounds increase from 50 to 300 kinds, that makes tea taste sweet and mellow, and have high fragrances.

There are many sorts of black teas in China, e.g. Yi Hong from Hubei province, Xiang Hong from Hunan, Dian Hong from Yunnan, Jin Jun Mei and Lapsang Souchong from Fujian Wuyi, Qi Hong and Huo Hong from Anhui, Su Hong from Jiangsu Yixing, Ning Hong from Jiangxi, Yue Hong from Zhejiang, Chuan Hong from Sichuan, and Ying Hong from Guangdong.


Black Tea Part 2 —— Wudang Daoist Hong

Wudang Daoist Hong/Black  武当道红 [wǔ dāng dào hóng] is one kind of Hubei black tea, as well as Wudang Immortal Hong and Yi Hong,   its fresh 1 shoot 2 leaf are harvested from the organic tea fields at an altitude of above 800 metres in the Wudang mountain (Hubei Province) after the Grain Rain Festival, and then processed: wither, roll, fermente and dry.



Black Tea Part 3 —— Wudang Immortal Hong

Different from Wudang Daoist Hong, Wudang Immortal Hong  武当仙红 [wǔ dāng xiān hóng] use fresh shoots, which are harvested before the Grain and Rain festival.



Black Tea Part 4 —— Yi Hong

Yi Hong 宜红 [yí hóng] started in the middle of the nineteenth century, Yi Chang 宜昌 in the Hubei  Province is one of the oldest tea producing areas,  Lu Yu (the saint of tea)’s of the Tang Dynasty had classified it as the top  of Shannan tea field.  Dry tea is tight and thin with golden hair, tea liquid has high and long- lasting fragrances,  fresh and mellow tastes, a bright reddish color and a phenomenon of turbidity after getting cold.  In general, Yi Hong should be used purple-clay or porcelain teawares to brew 2- 3 rounds at 90-95℃ for 2- 3 mins (tea:water 1:18).



Black Tea Part 5 —— Wudang Hong Fu Brick

Wudang Hong Fu Brick 武当红茯砖  [wǔ dāng hóng fú zhuān] is used  wudang daoist black tea as crude materials, some are also added Shinyleaf Yellowhorn 文冠果 [wén guān guǒ] in order to achieve more fragrances and more effective   at reducing  blood pressure. After steamed at a high temperature, tea leaves should be pressed into different molds and kept for 2 hours to cool naturally. Tea bricks are taken out from molds and put into constant-temperature chambers to  Fahua 发花 [fā huā] produce “golen flower” Eurotium Cristatum 冠突散囊菌.



Black Tea Part 6 ——- Dian Hong

Dian hong is a big-leaf tea variety in Fengqing and Lincang at Yunnan province, also called “Yunnan Gongfu Black Tea”, usually made into a Baota-pagoda shape, this shape blooms like a flower after infusing into water. It is used as a relatively high end gourmet black tea and is sometimes used in various tea blends. The main difference between Dian hong and other Chinese black teas is the amount of fine leaf buds, or “golden tips,” present in the dried tea. Finer Dian hong produces a brew that is brassy golden orange in colour with a sweet, gentle aroma and no astringency. Cheaper varieties of Dian hong produce a darker brownish brew that can be very bitter.



Black Tea Part 7 ——- Mandarian Peel Dian Hong

Gan Hong- Mandarin peel black tea is made of peels from Xinhui of Guangdong Province and Dian Hong from Yunnan Province, through special producing processes. On its soup surface is usually covered by oil droplets, its fruity and aging aroma is rich, and its flavor is smooth and mellow with a sweet aftertaste.


Black Tea Part 8 ——- Zi Juan

Zi Juan tea 紫鹃茶 [zǐ juān] is a variant of Pu’er tea varieties, buds, leaves and stems are purple – Zi, dry tea and tea soup are also purple. Leaves could be produced raw Pu’er or black tea.




Black Tea Part 9 —— Lapsang Souchong

This special type of black tea from Fujian province is very distinctive with its exotic smoky flavor. After plucking, tea leaves are withered over cypress or pine wood fires. After rolling, they are placed into wooden barrels until they begin to emit their own pleasant aroma. As a final step they are placed in bamboo baskets and hung on racks over smoky pine fires where they dry and absorb a smoke essence.

Finished tea leaves are thick and black, when steeped in hot water, producing a bright reddish-orange tealiquid. In recent years, Lapsang-Souchong has begun to grow in popularity and become the favorite tea of many who also appreciate single-malt Scotch whisky and fine cigars. It was once known as a man’s tea, but more and more women are drinking it as well.

Lapsang-Souchong tastes particularly good with salty and spicy dishes and also with cheese. Many tea lovers report that they enjoy drinking it outdoors, especially after any intense activity. You may also wish to try adding a pinch of Lapsang-Souchong to a cup of English Breakfast blend to add a whole new layer of flavor notes to savor.



Black Tea Part 10 ——- Jin Jun Mei

Jin Jun Mei 金骏眉 is made of tea bud tips which are picked before Tomb-sweeping Day, the rare and primitive wild mountain tea breed is in the National Natural Conservation Area of Wuyi Mountain, with an attitude of 1500 to 1800 meters. Huang Ya means yellow sprouts, is the top-quality Jin Jun Mei and is famous of its rich golden-yellow hair, tender sprouts and high fragrances.

A skilled female worker can only pick about 2000 pieces of tea bud tips per day, and 500 grams of Jinjunmei need tens of thousands of pieces of tea bud tips to produce. Processed Jinjunmei has to adopt the traditional hand-made Lapsang Souchong processing technology, the following characteristics: tight, slender and gold-yellow-black tea leaves; golden tea liquid; mixed aromas of fruit, flower, honey, and potato. It is a rare top-level treasure.



Black Tea Part 11 ——- Eight Immortals

Eight Immortals 八仙 [bā xiān] tea is from the Zhao’an Town of Fujian Province, a varity of small tea trees was transplanted bred in 1968, leaves are used to make green, oolong and black tea, because of its speical high fragrance and a strong honey after taste, Eight Immortals black tea has been accepted recently.

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