Chinese black tea is black tea that originates from China. Chinese black tea is mainly drunk in the west and northwest of China, although it has also gathered popularity in Western markets.
Chinese black tea is known as "hong cha" in Chinese, or "red tea". This name more appropriately describes the color of the liquid, although in the West, the term "red tea" is reserved for Rooibos tea, a South African tea made from the rooibos plant.
Chinese Black Tea originates from the Fujian province of China, but other provinces have also produced black tea.
The taste of Chinese black tea differs between varieties. There is quite a range of tastes, from the fruit-like textures of Keemun Tea, to the fine quality of Yunnan Tea and the very strong Lapsang souchong.
Varieties of Chinese black tea
There are many varieties of Chinese black tea. The main varieties are Lapsang souchong, Keemun tea and Yunnan tea.
Lapsang souchong is the strongest Chinese black tea, and one of the strongest of the tea varieties. The leaves are a dark with a golden tip, and Lapsang souchong has a bold, assertive and smoky flavor.
The smoky flavor of Lapsang souchong comes from its unorthodox method of production - it is withered and dried over burning pine or cedar.
Keemun tea is a Chinese black tea with a fruity, wine-like taste. Like Lapsang souchong, there is a hint of pine in its taste. It originates from the Anhui Province and has a relatively brief history, with its first production in 1875. Some varieties of Keemun tea are bitterer than others.
Yunnan tea is from the Yunnan Province in southern China. It has a robust and malty taste, and the best Yunnan tea are noted for their fineness. There are three varieties of Yunnan tea, and the best variety contains only the golden tips of leaves.
Yunnan tea should be brewed carefully, as it is a Chinese black tea that can easily taste bitter.
Pu-erh tea and Chinese black tea
It is a common error to say that Pu-erh Tea is a variety of Chinese black tea. The mistake is commonly made because Pu-erh tea has a similar appearance to Chinese black tea, with the leaves being black.
However, Pu-erh tea is technically not a Chinese black tea. The processing method is different and Pu-erh tea cannot be made from Chinese black tea. Pu-erh also does not pour red like Chinese black tea, but rather pours dark brown to black.