Due to its widespread popularity, people generally have some understanding of black tea, but often only scratch the surface. Black tea is fully fermented, and both its dry appearance and brewed infusion predominantly exhibit a reddish hue, hence its name. Black tea is also the most prominent category in global tea production, holding a dominant position in international tea trade.
There are numerous varieties of black tea. Did you know that the earliest black tea in the world has a history of more than four hundred years? Meanwhile, some black teas, born in recent decades, have only a few decades of history. Are you curious about the characteristics of these ancient and young black teas? As the saying goes, seeing is believing, and to truly appreciate the nuances, it's best to taste them yourself. We recommend exploring the flavors of these ancient and young black teas through tea sampler.
Exploring Ancient Black Tea
1.The Birth of Lapsang Souchong
In the later period of the Ming Dynasty (1568), during the tea-picking season, a military unit passed through the area and camped for the night in what is now Tongmu Village. The local tea farmers, unfamiliar with such a tumultuous scene, were unable to process the harvested tea leaves, which fermented overnight. To salvage the situation, the tea farmers used local pine branches for charcoal roasting and added some special steps to maximize the quality of the tea leaves. The resulting tea was transported to the town for sale. Initially a serendipitous creation, the tea gained widespread popularity, leading to increasing orders. The entire Tongmu had to exert all efforts to meet the market demand, making Lapsang Souchong renowned far and wide.
2.Unique Flavor of Lapsang Souchong
High-quality Lapsang Souchong has well-shaped leaves, a dark iron green color with hints of brown, and a slightly oily texture. It boasts a lasting aroma with the fragrance of pine smoke, not overpowering but subtle. The taste is mellow, robust, and sweet, with a distinct throat sensation and a hint of longan soup flavor. Even when mixed with milk, the aroma remains, creating a syrupy milk tea with a more vibrant liquid color.
3.Smoked and Non-Smoked Versions of Lapsang Souchong
Traditional Lapsang Souchong is the smoked version, with a unique process involving pine smoke and pine wood drying. Nowadays, there is also a non-smoked version of Lapsang Souchong, which skips the use of pine wood in the processing. Both versions have a noticeable sweetness. The smoked version has a distinctive aroma of pine smoke and longan. The non-smoked version has a rich floral fragrance and a sweet and refreshing taste. In terms of infusion color, the smoked version has a more intense hue, while the non-smoked version has a bright and clear red tone.
Exploring Young Black Tea
Lapsang Souchong has a history of several hundred years, and its endurance is closely related to centuries of history and craftsmanship. However, there are also black teas that, though not yet a hundred years old, have gained widespread acclaim. Here are two young black teas: Yunnan Black Tea and Yingde Black Tea.
1.Yunnan Black Tea
In the autumn of 1937, Feng Shaoqiu and Zheng Hechun visited Yunnan to observe and investigate the tea production and sales situation. They found Fengshan in Fengqing County to have natural conditions suitable for tea growth, leading to the initiation of black tea production. In 1939, the first batch of Yunnan Black Tea was successfully produced and initially shipped to Hong Kong in bamboo tea baskets before switching to wooden boxes and aluminum cans for market distribution. Since then, the Yunnan black tea industry has developed year by year, gaining high reputation in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and the London market.
High-quality Yunnan Black Tea has tightly rolled slender leaves with visible tips and a lustrous, jet-black color. The infusion is bright red with a golden glow, representing the epitome of high-quality Yunnan black tea. It has a thick, mellow taste, refreshing and sweet, leaving a lasting fragrance in the mouth. The aroma is unique, featuring floral and honey notes that persist.
Yunnan Black Tea's exceptional quality has garnered much appreciation in the international market, being considered comparable to black teas from India and Sri Lanka. It is said that the Queen of England placed Yunnan Black Tea in transparent vessels for display, considering it a treasure.
2.Yingde Black Tea
In 1955, Yingde City successfully cultivated the well-known Yunnan large-leaf tea variety. In 1959, Yingde Black Tea was successfully produced using the Yunnan large-leaf variety. It made its first successful export, receiving praise and recognition from the domestic and international tea community.
Yingde Black Tea boasts excellent quality, primarily using the Yunnan large-leaf variety suitable for black tea production, combined with Phoenix Narcissus and the successful promotion of high-aroma, high-quality large-leaf black tea varieties. The appearance of Yingde Black Tea is tightly curled, with a glossy and uniform color, showcasing prominent golden tips. The aroma is fresh, pure, and intense, with noticeable floral notes. The taste is rich, sweet, and smooth, with a bright and clear red infusion color. When milk is added, the tea liquor becomes a beautiful reddish-brown, possessing a complete balance of color, aroma, and taste.
In 1963, Yingde Black Tea was successfully auctioned in the United Kingdom. The same year, Queen Elizabeth II used Yingde Black Tea FOP (Leaf Tea No. 1) to entertain guests at a grand banquet, receiving high praise and acclaim. It was even used as a royal gift tea, elevating the reputation of Yingde Black Tea to a new level. At its peak, Yingde Black Tea was exported to more than 70 countries and regions worldwide.
iTeaworld offers a Black Tea Sampler, including smoked and non-smoked versions of Lapsang Souchong, Yunnan Black Tea, and Yingde Black Tea in a form of tea samplers. With just one box, you can experience the flavors of both ancient and young black teas. iTeaworld also provides various tea selections, including convenient and easy-to-try tea samplers. To find the best loose leaf tea, it's advisable to try and compare different options to discover the loose leaf tea that suits your preferences.
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In fact, through tasting, one can discover that historically rich black teas have their unique charm, while these young black teas may better align with the preferences of most people today. We hope that in exploring ancient and young black teas, you'll find a lot of enjoyment.