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How do you serve your tea? Do you simply brew a cup? Or do you serve from a teapot? Whether it is for two people or six, teapots have been around for centuries. Teapots come in many forms, sizes, and are made in several materials like ceramic, metal, silver, or even glass.

DTP_BB8C_-00_8-Cup-Brown-Betty-Teapot

(c) English Tea Store – Brown Betty Teapot

The earliest teapots were invented during the Yuan Dynasty in China but it was during the Tang Dynasty when tea became more popular. The earliest teapots were made from Yixing, a type of clay. By the end of the 17th Century, this teapot arrived in Europe and there was already a high demand for tea. However, tea was normally reserved for the wealthy since it was taxed so high, making it expensive at the time. Teapots produced back then were made of silver. Catherine of Braganza (the wife of Charles II) even enjoyed tea originally from Chinese porcelain, but later on switched to English silver.

In 1784, the taxes on tea were finally cut, thus greatly reducing in price and allowing more people to have access to the beverage. Tea’s popularity and consumption began to increase and tea eventually became the most popular drink in all of Britain. Many makers of British teaware became prominent and also competed against China’s teapots until British teapots became more standard. Today’s most popular teapots come from many British manufacturers, ranging from Wedgwood’s Bone China to the smash hit (I probably shouldn’t be saying that about teapots!) Brown Betty teapot.

Round-vesseled and beautiful, these teapots are tougher than you think! These teapots were made early on in the 1800s, with special red clay found in the Bradell Woods area located in Stoke-on-Trent and glazed with a Rockingham Glaze, helping it turn into its signature brown color. How the Brown Betty got its name is relatively unknown but what they are known for is their excellent quality since the tea leaves will have plenty of room to gently unfurl once hot water is poured in. Brown Betties are well known for retaining heat thanks to the ceramic and can stay warm for a long time (cozies also help)!

You can use whatever tea you fancy in any teapot, whether it’s for yourself or for a full table of guests. There are 2 cup, 4 cup, 6 cup, and even 8 cup teapots. Not into two cups of tea? Not a problem! There are tea for one sets like this one that even include a cup!

Did you know? Yixing teapots are known for “remembering” a type of tea. The clay in it makes it porous, so it helps remember the previous teas that were infused in them, thus earning the nickname “memory teapots”. It’s best to stick with one type of tea when infusing in this teapot.

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© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

January brings fresh beginnings and with it, many new resolutions. There are the typical “lose ten pounds,” “make time for family” and other very worthwhile goals. But many of us choose to try new things, or master a hobby or skill. The English Tea Store brings you teas of the month, which is a featured selection offered at a discount. In January it is Buckingham Palace and China Jasmine Green teas. In the spirit of learning and trying new things, we will be exploring the monthly teas in depth here. Today we will look at the Buckingham Palace.

The Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea loose leaf blend is a delicate medium tea with a hint of Earl Grey and Jasmine. This is a lighter afternoon tea.

At least three times each summer, the Queen holds a garden party at Buckingham Palace, as well as one in Edinburgh. Queen Victoria began this tradition in 1860 with what was called “breakfast” but was actually served mid-day. Back then, she hosted two of these events a year; in the fifties the third was added. Originally a prestigious debutante rite of passage, they now include honorees recognized for service. From 4-6PM, the over-30,000 guests are invited to stroll the grounds while royalty mingles through a series of laned walking paths. Each royal family member takes a different path so guests never know whom they will run into. The beginning and end of the event is marked by the National Anthem. According to the British Monarchy website, even though the event lasts only two hours, a staggering number of sandwiches, slices of cake, and cups of tea are served by over 400 waitstaff. Over 27,000 cups of tea are served from long buffet tables.

tolsll_afnbpg_-01_buckingham-palace-garden-party-loose-leaf-teaThe tea that is served is a delicious Palace medley of five teas: Ceylon Early Grey, Jasmine, Assam, Dimbula Ceylon, and Ceylon East of Rift. The intriguing hints of high-grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey blend effortlessly with the soft jasmine from Fujian Province. Couple this with malty Assam (from the estate of Borengajuli), flavory Dimbula Ceylon (from Hatton), and golden cup East of Rift Kenya (from Kambaa and Kagwe); and you have one of the most flavorful teas to come from the British Isles. The flavours present themselves at separate times in the drinking of the tea so no two cups are ever the same.

Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea is available from ETS in either bag or loose leaf.

~Your Editor

I wasn’t very familiar with Martin Chan until I recently ran across a TV show called Martin Yan’s Hidden China. For anyone else who might have been living under a rock, suffice to say that Yan has been the host of the PBS show, Yan Can Cook, since 1982 and has also hosted various other cooking shows, as well as appearing on popular shows like Iron Chef America.

Martin Yan’s Hidden China: Ancient Lijiang: A Journey Through Time (Photo source: screen capture from site)

Martin Yan’s Hidden China: Ancient Lijiang: A Journey Through Time (Photo source: screen capture from site)

As the name suggests, Martin Yan’s Hidden China finds the host traveling to lesser known corners of that vast country. Not surprisingly, given Yan’s background, much of the focus is on food. It’s also not surprising, given that China is the world’s largest producer of tea, in total quantity and arguably in the number of varieties, that several of the episodes deal with tea.

While it’s apparently not being produced anymore, you’re likely to still catch episodes of the show on your local PBS station. Some of the more notable episodes, from the perspective of tea fans, include the fifth one, in which Yan visits the Musuo region of southwestern China. Located in the same general vicinity of Tibet, it’s no coincidence that, as in Tibet, the tea most often served there is strong black tea flavored with sizable quantities of yak butter. Episode seven, which takes the host to the important tea producing province of Yunnan, features a recipe for Tea Infused Chicken Kabobs.

Episode ten, For All the Teas in Western China, also focuses on the Yunnan region. As the name indicates, it is devoted almost wholly to tea production and customs. China’s Yunnan region is known for several types of tea, but most notable among them is probably Puerh, which happens to be the primary focus of this episode. Yan visits the tea fields, where he learns how leaves are harvested and takes a crack at it himself. He also provides a look into the processing of the leaves. In the case of Puerh this often means pressing the tea into a shaped brick of some type before the aging process begins, which the host also tries his hand at. Also in this episode, a visit to a local tea museum to examine a number of aged tea cakes and more on how tea is used as an ingredient in local cuisine.

More on Martin Yan’s Hidden China, here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea trees awaiting harvest

Tea trees awaiting harvest

Continued from Part I.

Six more provinces in China known for their fine teas:

Hunan
Located northwest of Anhui. Tea production goes back 2,000 years, and this province is now the second largest producer of tea in China, with compressed teas being most common. Produces Gu Zhang Maojian, Yellow Tea, Silver Needles teas.

Jiangxi
Borders Zhejiang and Anhui Provinces. Over half of the area is mountainous, with tea being grown in seven key areas: Mt. Lu, Xiushui, Jinggang Mountain, Nanchang, Wuyuan, Shangrao, and Nancheng. You may see these names included as part of the tea name. Produces mainly Green Teas (about 80% of total tea produced) with some Blacks, Compressed, and Jasmines.

Jiangsu, also called “Kiangsu”
Located east of Anhui and borders the Yellow Sea. New growth starts in early April, and this harvest is most prized. Produces Bi Luo Chun (some teas grown in Szechuan Province are sold under this name but are not authentic), Pi Lo Chun, and Yu Hua Cha teas.

Szechuan, also called “Sichuan”
Located in central China just north of Yunnan. Springtime growth starts earlier than in more northerly provinces such as Zhejiang. Produces Oolong and Orange Pekoe teas. Also known for spicy cuisine.

Yunnan
Located on the southwestern border of China. Like, Szechuan Province, Springtime growth starts earlier than in more northerly provinces such as Zhejiang. The tea trees are ancient (usually several hundred years old) and grow on terraced hillsides that may also have fruit trees such as mango planted on them. Produces Yunnan Black, Yunnan Golden, and Pu-erh teas.

Zhejiang, also called “Chingkiang”
Located just north of Fujian and having a mild and moist climate that often results in four harvests. The annual temperature range is 16-19˚C with the majority of rainfall coming between Summer and Autumn. The city of Hangzhou is often called “the tea city of China” with its strong teahouse culture and 740 teahouses. Produces Lungching (also called “Longjing” and “Dragonwell”), Gunpowder, Tian Mu Qing Ding, Puan Lung Yin Hao, Jasmine, and Ping Suey teas.

There is a tea here to suit every palate. Knowing a bit about the province in which they’re grown will help you in making your selection. Check out the flavor characteristics of each and buy a small packet (often, sample sizes are available) or get a sampler with several in it so you can try and compare. You’ll soon find which are your favorites. Enjoy!

See also:
Yunnan Basics
Pu-erh Roundup
The Teas of Fujian  
The Teas of Yunnan
Pu-erh Tea  
Lychee Congou China Black Tea (review)
Review of Keemun Panda
Review of Golden Heaven Yunnan China Black Tea
Chun Mee Tea  
China Black
Chinese Teas
Lapsang Souchong: History and Recipes
Oolong Roundup
Oolong Tea  

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea lovers everywhere respond Pavlovian-style when one word is said: “China.” Small wonder. Some of the finest teas available and some of the priciest come from China. It is also considered by many to be the birthplace of tea drinking.

China Tea Samples

China Tea Samples

China, land of inscrutability, of a civilization that goes back thousands of years, of such wonders as the Great Wall (built to keep invaders out), and of such delights to tantalize the tastebuds as Dim Sum. Tea there used to be a special beverage for Emperors and their Courts. Now, you can order some of the finest ones online and even in local stores.

Teas are grown in a number provinces of China, although not all are available outside of Asia. They are usually divided into several classes, all from the Camellia Sinensis plant but processed differently — Green (non-oxidized), Oolong (semi-oxidized), Black (sometimes called “red tea” in Europe and elsewhere, which should not to be confused with “Rooibos” which is often labeled “red tea”), White, Yellow, Flowering/Blooming, and Compressed (cakes, bricks, etc.).

Each is processed differently, giving them unique flavors and properties. Where the teas are grown also affects their taste.

Several provinces have a reputation for fine teas. Here the first four:

Anhui, also called “Anwei”
Located in eastern central China. Terrain where tea is grown ranges from the flatlands of the Yangtze River to the Huang Shan mountains in the south. Produces Keemun, Ching-Wo, Maofeng, Chunmee, and Young Hyson teas.

Fujian, also called “Fukien”
Located on southeast China coast (the Taiwan Straight) with a subtropical climate and mountainous terrain (including the infamous Wu-Yi Mountains) where 336 varieties of tea plants are cultivated. Tea has supposedly been produced here for over 1,600 years. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), was the main area of tea production in China. Produces Oolong, Ti Kuan Yin, Jasmine, White, Wu-Yi Oolong, White Monkey Paw Green Tea, and Lapsang Souchong teas.

Guangdong, also called “Kwangtung”
Located in southeastern China south of Fujian and Hunan. The climate is tropical and sub-tropical, and tea is grown on the Feng Huang Shan (Phoenix Mountain) ranges to get the right conditions for fine teas. Produces Feng Huang Oolong, Lychee Congou, and Rose Congou teas.

Hubei
Located in central China just north of Hunan. Climate is subtropical but mountainous in the west and peripheral areas. Several Yangtze River tributaries flow through it, and there are thousands of lakes on the Jianghan Plain. Produces North China Congou and Tea Bricks.

Six more provinces to be presented in Part II.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Golden Heaven Yunnan China Black Tea

Golden Heaven Yunnan China Black Tea

Pu-erh can be a controversial tea: Many tea lovers are confused (at best) about how it is made, fraud in the sale of pu-erh remains a concern, and more than a few people simply don’t care for the stuff. I’m a pu-erh fan going back to my earliest days of tea drinking, but do admit that it is often an acquired taste, sometimes made more difficult by a lot of the intrigue that surrounds it. Pu-erh is made from tea leaves grown in China’s Yunnan Province, and is processed differently from other teas. Raw or “sheng” pu-erh is made from large tea leaves are often packed into cakes, nests and bricks, which are then aged, giving the tea a unique flavor. “Ripe” or “shou” pu-erh (also known as “cooked” pu-erh) undergoes a special process that simulates aging. Both varieties are enjoyed by many people, though pu-erh aficionados and purists have a definite bias toward sheng pu-erh.

Interested in trying this mysterious tea? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t Oversteep Pu-Erh: Many people who dislike pu-erh do so because they oversteeped the stuff. Pu-erh is often strongly flavored and, frankly, doesn’t taste much like “normal” tea. I recommend starting out brewing pu-erh in short steeps, so that you can taste its sweetness and earthy notes without feeling like you steeped into a barnyard.
  • Do Try Flavored Pu-Erh: Don’t get me wrong: I am still an advocate of plain, unflavored teas. But pu-erh can be an interesting base for chocolate orcaramel flavors, often resulting in a flavored tea with more depth than those prepared with a standard black tea.
  • Be a Skeptic: Ask questions about the pu-erh that you buy, particularly if the vendor makes a lot of claims about its pedigree. There are plenty of tasty, inexpensive pu-erhs on the market, so take your time in selecting a merchant of collection-quality pu-erh.
  • Hang on to Pu-Erh: Most teas taste better when fresh, but pu-erh can age over time. If you find a pu-erh that you like, hold on to at least some of it. Then break some of it out every year to see how its flavors have changed.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A nice cuppa Tie Kuan Yin Iron Goddess Oolong goes perfect with this novel of mystery and personal discovery

A nice cuppa Tie Kuan Yin Iron Goddess Oolong goes perfect with this novel of mystery and personal discovery

China is known by some as the land of tea, that is, the place where tea drinking began. For thousands of years, China had a stranglehold on the tea market that was finally broken by a tricky Scotsman. It is a land with a long history, lots of traditions, and relatively recently an upheaval and establishment of a new government. Lots there to inspire authors.

Donna Carrick, a talented author living in Canada, certainly soaked in a lot of atmosphere from the time she spent in China going through the strenuous adoption process. This came to good use when writing The First Excellence, a story of adventure, mystery, danger, and a close-up look at what life is like in the land of tea. That makes this book an example of what a lot of good authors do: they take a personal experience and use it to spin a tale that becomes a novel that’s hard to put down and, when you have to put it down because you can’t keep your eyes open, you keep thinking about it and wondering what is going to happen next. The voice of having “been there” comes through loud and clear and cannot be faked.

One of the best parts of reading this book was that I hadn’t guessed the ending after reading the first few chapters. (Considering a book I had read not too long ago where I had guessed the ending, this is important.) In fact, there are parts of this novel that read like a chess game, with a trap being set or an opponent being led down a fake path.

The basic plot involves a young woman named Fa-ling, born in China and eventually adopted by a Canadian couple. She travels from Canada back to China with a group of excited parents-to-be as they go to the city of Nanning to finally hold in their arms the babies they have been trying to adopt for quite some time. Interwoven is Fa-ling’s journey into her past, a murder or two, some local police detectives and sinister government officials, and a plot hatched by a woman as the supposed solution to her problem that ends up putting her and others in danger instead.

One of those local detectives is less than hygienic, leading to a comment or two about strong unpleasant odor. Some people think that having a rather malodorous detective as part of the cast of characters is a bit gimmicky. Maybe, but I look at the full context. This is not some divorced, drunken, slovenly Swede as in the Henning Mankell novels. Nor is it a quirky Belgian Detective living in the U.K. Here, Carrick simply uses this aspect of the character to “flesh him out” for us, making him more of a real person while showing us a bit more about the culture in this country so little known in the West even today. “Made in China” is more than just words on the bottom of a teacup or on that bag of tea we just purchased.

Carrick similarly “fleshes out” other characters with little glimpses into their psyches and details sprinkled here and there of their physical and mental make-up. Of course, this includes their hopes, fears, and natural urges, all handled deftly by Carrick. You also get quite a peek at a land that has prized its privacy and security since the days the Great Wall was built to hold back the Monguls.

Don’t miss the quotable gems, like this one:

“There is nothing like the company of youth and the satisfaction of a decision reached to restore one’s natural energy and vigour.”

Chinese symbol for good luck

Chinese symbol for good luck

Steep a pot of tea, sip it softly, and dive into this excellent novel by an accomplished author who, together with her husband Alex, also has time to take care of their children, including her adopted treasure from China.

And may your first excellence be tea, everyone!

Note: The First Excellence recently won the first Indie Book Event Award for Excellence in Fiction ever given out. 

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Name: Golden Heaven Yunnan

Brand: English Tea Store

Type: Black tea

Form: Loose leaf

Review: Yunnan golds are always a surprise. Some are earthy, some spicy, some sweet. I’ve tasted some that taste purely of honey, while others are deeply complex. This Golden Yunnan offers a blend of earthy flavor along with a strong jolt of vanilla. Not as refined as some of the Yunnans I’ve tasted, but nonetheless tasty.

The dry leaf consists of wiry, medium-sized dark brown leaves sprinkled with a fair amount of golden buds. The dry leaf doesn’t smell like much, though the infused, golden liquor has a lovely floral/vanilla nose. On the palate, this tea is fairly heavy-bodied, giving it a slightly creamy mouth feel. It is fairly sweet with the vanilla notes dominating, though its earthiness emerges in the finish, which is slightly more astringent than I expected.

I personally prefer a spicy Yunnan gold, but found this one to be tasty and enjoyable nonetheless. If you are a vanilla lover, this is definitely a tea to check out. Incidentally, the English Tea Store says that you can prepare this with some milk and sugar. I’d advise against it. Either would obliterate the flavor profile of this tea and leave it undistinguished. Instead, drink it neat. You’ll like it better that way.

Preparation Tips: Golden Heaven Yunnan can be a challenge to brew: Too much leaf, and its earthy notes dominate, leaving you with a relatively one-dimensional tea. Too little, and it tastes watery. I like to use about 4 grams in 8 ounces of water, steeped for about 3 minutes.

Food Pairing: I am not over-fond of pairing Golden Yunnans with food, as I think that food competes with its lovely flavors. However, it does make a respectable breakfast tea and I’ve also been known to enjoy it with some very plain sweet baked goods, such as butter cookies, madeleines or pound cake.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lapsang Souchong

Lapsang Souchong

According to the Chinese Calendar, February 3rd of 2011 is the beginning of the new year (year 4708 or 4709, depending on whom you’re consulting). Each year also has an animal associated with it (there are 12 in all, with the list recycling every 12 years). This is the year of the Rabbit (in Chinese: Xin Mao). So let’s hop along and have a rousing Chinese New Year celebration — with tea, of course!

A full-blown Chinese New Year celebration lasts 15 days, as follows:

Day 1 – Abstain from meat to ensure long and happy lives
Day 2 – Pray to ancestors and the gods; be extra kind to and feed dogs
Day 3 – Sons-in-laws pay respect to their parents-in-law
Day 4 – Same as Day 3
Day 5 – Avoid visiting families and friends lest it bring bad luck
Day 6 – Visit relatives and friends, and pray in the temples for good fortune and health (goes on thru Day 10)
Day 7 – Farmers display their harvest and make a drink from 7 different vegetables; people eat noodles for longevity and raw fish for success
Day 8 – In the Fujian Province, people have a family reunion dinner, and at midnight pray to the God of Heaven (Tian Gong)
Day 9 – Offerings are made to the Jade Emperor
Day 10 – Friends and relatives are entertained and served dinner
Day 11 – Same as Day 10
Day 12 – Same as Day 10
Day 13 – Dine on simple rice congee and mustard greens (choi sum) to cleanse the system after all the rich food enjoyed during the previous days
Day 14 – Prepare for the Lantern Festival
Day 15 – Celebrate the Lantern Festival

Phew! Busy schedule!

You don’t have to get so elaborate. Just break out the appropriate teas and treats. Oranges and tangerines are part of that, since they are symbols for abundant happiness. Lotus seeds are a symbol of many male offspring. Ginkgo nuts represent silver ingots. Candies such as candied melon (growth and good health), lychee nuts (strong family relationships), coconut (togetherness), and peanuts (long life) are popular choices to enjoy at this time.

Red is a color that to the Chinese denotes good luck, good fortune, abundance, and happiness, so include a bit of red in your New Year’s Teatime. Teawares, table linens, or even foods dyed red will do the trick. Dragons are also important symbols (wisdom and beauty), so you might serve a tea named Nine Bend Black Dragon (very tasty).

Other tea choices that would be appropriate:

  • Golden Monkey — a black tea with a sweet taste
  • Keemun Panda — a black tea that steeps up a bright and reddish liquid with a wine-like fruitiness that goes well with milk
  • Lapsang Souchong — a smoky-flavored black tea good with strong tasting foods
  • Shui Xian — an Oolong said to aid digestion
  • Jasmine Dragon Tears — a smooth tea with delicate flavor and an enticing jasmine aroma
  • Dragonwell — also called Long Jing, one of the best known and tasting Chinese green teas
  • Dragon Pearls — another fine green tea, this one made from the top two leaves and the bud of new growth that are hand-rolled into small pearls
  • 100 Monkeys White Tea — a best-selling white tea with a delicate flavor.

If you prefer something caffeine-free, try a chrysanthemum tisane. The Chinese enjoy this both hot and cold.

Are you a rabbit? Yes, if you were born in 1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and of course this year. According to Chinese tradition, that means you are popular, compassionate, and sincere. You’re in good company, too. Sports legend Michael Jordan plus actress Drew Barrymore, part of the Barrymore dynasty, are rabbits. Scientist Albert Einstein and soccer (futbol) great David Beckham are in this group, too.

Happy hopping in the Year of the Rabbit with Chinese teas, candies, and lots of red for good luck!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Keemun PandaFor most of us – or at least for most of us this side of Asia – tea and black tea are almost synonymous. Though other types of tea have become more popular in the West in recent times, if someone mentions the word tea, it’s likely to conjure up an image of that old standby, the black one. And though varieties such as green, oolong and puerh may tend to be more prized by tea connoisseurs, there are those – present company included – who believe that nothing beats a cup of truly good black tea.

Though all tea is derived from the same plant – Camellia sinensis – they are processed in different ways that provide us with a total of six types – black, green, oolong, white, yellow and puerh. One of the most processed of all types, black tea leaves go through a process called oxidization that breaks down the leaves, releasing chlorophyll and tannins and giving the finished product its unique dark color and flavor.

Black tea is produced in a number of countries around the world, but for all intents and purposes the most notable of these are China, India, Sri Lanka, and a number of African countries. Much of the tea grown in Africa is of so-so quality, at best, and goes into blended teas. Teas grown in Sri Lanka are mostly of the black type and are still marketed under the name Ceylon, which is the former name of this island nation.

In Sri Lanka’s next door neighbor – India – there are three primary tea-growing regions, all of which are devoted, for the most part, to the production of black tea. Assam is the most significant of these and probably one of the world’s largest single tea-growing regions. Assam produces large quantities of lower and medium grades of tea and a much smaller quantity of high grade single estate tea. India’s Darjeeling region is primarily known for its relatively modest output of an aromatic and flavorful variety of premium tea. Nilgiri is arguably India’s least significant growing with a modest output of black tea that spans the range of quality.

Though China is probably best known for all of its other types of tea, the black tea grown there – which the Chinese sometimes refer to red tea – is worthy of mentioning. Some of the most noteworthy Chinese teas of this type include Keemun, a small-leaved variety with a faintly smoky flavor that is often a component in various breakfast tea blends. Yunnan tea is a particularly flavorful variety of black tea which is characterized by long spindly leaves. It takes its name from the Yunnan province of China, which also gives the world much of its supply of Puerh tea. Golden Monkey, though not so well known as these other Chinese black teas, is also worthy of any black tea lover’s consideration.

Don’t miss William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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