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Anhua dark tea
Dark tea is not black tea The tea type commonly referred to as ‘black tea’ in English is called ‘red tea’ in Chinese. The sign 黑 (hei) used to describe post-fermented tea in Chinese can be translated as ‘black’ or as ‘dark’. To avoid any confusion, post-fermented tea is referred to as ‘dark tea’ in English.
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Types of
Dark tea is one of the six tea types, next to green tea, white tea, yellow tea, Oolong tea, and red (black) tea. All tea types are defined by the processing techniques used to transform the freshly picked tea leaves.
Post-fermented tea
Teas belonging to the dark tea type are characterized by their post-fermentation, a processing step which is unique to this tea type. The leaves go through a fermentation phase, often pile-fermenting, after having had their oxydation stopped by intense and short heating (kill-green). The term ‘post-fermented’ stresses this order of actions. The processing steps before, in-between, or after these two steps are different for each variety.
History of dark tea
Anhua dark tea is the ancestor of dark tea in China. It was recorded as "thin slice of Qujiang River" in the historical materials of Tang Dynasty (856). It was once listed as a tribute to the imperial court. Anhua black tea was officially created in 1524, the third year of Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty. By the end of the 16th century, Anhua dark tea had been in the leading position in China. During the Wanli period, Anhua black tea was designated as official tea and sold to the northwest in large quantities.
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When experts from the Palace History Department visited Anhua Dark Tea Culture Exhibition Hall on November 3, 2010, they introduced the situation: When cleaning up the daily necessities of Emperor Jiaqing of Qing Dynasty and Jiaqing, the staff of Beijing Palace Museum found out Two pieces of "tree-shaped flower roll tea" made by Anhua. Later, a physical photo of Huajuan tea was provided to confirm.
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Dark tea varieties
The main varieties of Anhua black tea are "three tips", "three bricks" and "one roll". Sanjian tea, also known as Xiangjian tea, refers to Tianjian, Gongjian and Shengjian; sanzhuan refers to Fu brick, black brick and flower brick; Yijuan refers to huajuan tea, which is collectively referred to as Anhua Qianliang tea.