Tea blogger in Seattle, WA. Partner at Phoenix Tea in Burien, WA.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Tea Basics - Black Tea
Fully oxidized black tea is very popular in North America but rarely drunk in China. Hearty Assam tea (from India) and brisker Ceylon tea (from Sri Lanka) have been imported by the British and Dutch for a few hundred years. These are often blended to produce the cherished English or Irish Breakfast teas. One of my favorite black teas is Darjeeling (from northern India). It is often called the champagne of teas because of its bright and complex bouquet. Another favorite is Keemun (祁門) from China. It has a certain sherry-like sweetness, naturally spicy and unique. Look for the Keemun grade Hao Ya A to signify a particularly good batch. Other marvelous black teas include Yunnan, a rich and peppery brew from China, and Nilgiri, a sweeter brisker tea from southern India's Blue Mountains. One other Chinese tea of interest is the mystifying Lapsang Souchong (正山小種). This tea is cured over smoldering pine needles for an intensely smoky brew.
I think it is important to note that the Chinese call black tea hongcha (紅茶) which means red tea and sometimes the Chinese will call puer tea heicha (黑茶) which means black tea.