Chinese Black Tea (Types and Benefits)

Black tea (红茶, Hóng Chá) is one of the six main types of Chinese tea and has a history of more than 400 years.

Black tea is a kind of fermented tea, which is made from fresh tea leaves through a series of processes such as withering, kneading, fermenting, and drying.

In the process of producing black tea, there are many chemical reactions centered on the enzymatic oxidation of tea polyphenols. The chemical substances of fresh leaves change greatly.

Tea polyphenols are reduced by more than 90%, and new components such as theaflavin and thearubin are produced. The fragrant substance increased significantly compared with fresh leaves. Therefore, black tea has the characteristics of red leaves, red tea liquid, and a sweet taste.

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History of Chinese Black Tea

The earliest black tea in the world was invented by tea farmers in the Wuyi Mountain in Fujian Province during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The black tea is called “Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong”, whose English name is Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang Souchong black tea was introduced to Europe in 1610.

In 1662, when Princess Catherine of Portugal married King Charles II, her dowry included several boxes of Lapsang Souchong. From then on, black tea was brought into the British court. Drinking black tea quickly became an indispensable part of British royal life.

In the early London tea market, Lapsang Souchong was the only black tea on sale, and its price was extremely expensive. Only rich families could drink it. Later, Lapsang Souchong became a famous drink in the British upper class. British people loved black tea and gradually made it a noble black tea culture.

In 1689, British tea merchants set up a tea base in Xiamen City of Fujian Province of China and purchased a large number of Lapsang Souchong, which replaced the original green tea market, and soon became the mainstream of Western Europe tea.

Historically, “Bohea Tea” refers to Lapsang Souchong, which was the symbol of Chinese tea at that time.

With the development of tea-making technology, China has successively developed the very famous Gongfu black tea. At present, there are more than ten types of Gongfu black tea.

Types of Chinese Black Tea

According to the tea name, the common types of Chinese black tea:

Gongfu black tea is a unique black tea in China and is also a traditional export commodity. At present, nineteen provinces in China produce tea, of which twelve provinces produce Gongfu black tea.

The reason Gongfu tea is called “Gongfu” is that this kind of tea needs more complex processes or work to be produced.

Other Gongfu black teas:

  • Fuliang Gongfu tea – it is native to Jiangxi Province.
  • Yihong Gongfu tea – it is native to Hubei Province.
  • Xiangjiang Gongfu tea – it is native to Jiangxi Province.
  • Minhong Gongfu tea – it is native to Fujian Province.
  • Yuehong Gongfu tea – it is native to Zhejiang Province.
  • Jiangsu Gongfu tea – it is native to Jiangsu Province.

Besides, based on the size of tea leaves, Gongfu tea can also be classified into small-leaf Gongfu tea and large-leaf Gongfu tea. Small-leaf Gongfu tea is made from the fresh leaves of shrub-type tea plants. Large-leaf Gongfu tea is made from the fresh leaves of arbor-type tea plants. Keemun tea belongs to small-leaf Gongfu tea. Dian Hong tea belongs to large-leaf Gongfu tea.

Broken black tea is a kind of fragmented or granular black tea and has a history of more than 100 years of production. It is a major product in the international tea market, accounting for about 80% of the global tea export volume.

Broken black tea is chopped black tea. It requires one more process called “Cutting” or “Chopping” to produce. Dian Hong tea can be processed into Dian Hong broken black tea.

According to the shape of the finished product, it can be classified into four types:

  • Broken black tea
  • Sliced black tea
  • Powdered black tea
  • Leaf-shaped black tea

Broken black tea can be brewed with honey and milk because its tiny size is very convenient to go with other ingredients.

Benefits of Chinese Black Tea

Black tea is a kind of half-fermented tea. During the process of fermentation, many new chemical compositions are produced, such as theaflavins and thearubigins. Besides, black tea is also rich in vitamins, amino acids, and trace elements, which have many pharmacological effects.

Benefits of Chinese black tea:

  • Detox
  • Diuretic
  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-cancer
  • Antibacterial
  • Vasodilation
  • Help digestion
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Strengthen bones
  • Increase appetite
  • Nourish stomach
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood lipids
  • Inhibit cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce the incidence of myocardial infarction

How to Make Chinese Black Tea

  • Tea sets: porcelain cup and purple clay teapot.
  • The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:60-80. For example, 3g of black tea leaves require 180ml-240ml of water to brew.
  • The temperature of the water: 85℃-95℃.