Unlike most types of Chinese Tea that's taste and aroma fade with age, Dark Tea actually improves with age, making it a favorite with collectors and investors. Commonly misinterpreted as "Black Tea", this type of tea is completely different from English black tea. In the past, this type of tea was the most exported tea in China. It was shipped as far away as Russia. Originally sold as loose leaf tea, producers quickly found that if they compressed the tea into cakes it would store and ship better. Loose leaf tea is available, but it is not as common as compressed tea which comes in several different shapes, some of them quite artistic. Dark Tea was invented by accident. Tea from Yunnan Province was often shipped was shipped north via the sea and then along the Silk Road. While riding in boats, the humid air caused a chemical reaction in the dried tea leaves causing them to ferment. People found that the fermented leaves had a wonderfully strong aroma and that the leaves lasted much longer than the tea they had been expecting.
When the leaves are picked, they are fried, kneaded and twisted, but instead of being dried as Green Tea is, the leaves are sprinkled with water and placed in huge piles under cloth to ferment before being dried. The resulting leaves have a dark black color, giving this category of tea its name. The fermentation process is extremely exacting and a closely guarded secret. Only a Tea Master after decades of study is considered good enough to produce this tea. Once brewed, the liquid has a strong aroma with a thick and robust flavor. It is very different from Green Tea. The most famous variety of this category of tea is the famous Puer Tea from Yunnan Province. For many years Puer Tea was not widely drunk in China and was shipped to areas with large Ethnic Minority populations. In recent years the popularity of Puer Tea has surged and the market became extremely competitive. Since these teas improve with age, and since until recently the economic conditions of China did not allow for people to save tea, older tea is rare and extremely valuable.
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Purchasing Dark Tea
Since this tea improves with age, it is actually desirable to purchase older teas. This makes purchasing this tea quite easy because you do not have to worry about a shelf-life. If you are purchasing your tea from a shop, ask to try the tea. The shop should be more than happy to allow you to sample his teas. Try different types of tea and choose the one that you like the best. Many times a dealer will tell you which tea is better, or rarer, or older. We feel it doesn't matter. What matters is your individual taste. If an old, extremely rare tea doesn't suit your palate, then it isn't a good tea for you. Most Dark Teas come in compressed shapes such as Bricks, Cakes, Bowls, or Mushrooms. The original function of the shapes was to ease in shipping since they could be stacked much more secure than loose leaves could. Bricks and cakes are more popular for storing because they are not as tightly packed as the others, which helps them to mature better. If you are purchasing your teas simply to drink, then the shape doesn't matter. If you are purchasing your teas online, find a reputable dealer with a solid guarantee. Check their website. If they seem to know a lot about tea and can offer many varieties, then it is likely that they know their business well.
Storing Dark Tea
Storing Dark teas are easier than Yellow, White, and Green Teas because they have a shelf life. Since this tea does not and in fact improves with age, it is still imperative that you store it properly. The teas should be stored in a cool dark place with constant humidity and heat. They should not be wrapped in plastic because air in necessary for the aging process. A closet shelf is a good place to store the tea as long as it has no strong odors. The tea will absorb the odors and ruin the tea. Try to avoid excess moisture because it will cause the tea to mold.
Enjoying the Tea
This type of tea has a strong and robust flavor. It is recommended for people new to this type of tea that they begin by making the tea a little weak and then strengthening it to a point where they like it. If you are used to Green Tea, this tea will give you a surprise. It is rich and full bodied. The leaves can be brewed many times and the flavor will leave a long lasting aftertaste in your mouth. As I have said with all types of tea; it is important that you focus on the tea when drinking it. In this modern age, our lives are so rushed, that we gulp our drinks and go on our way. Tea should be slowly enjoyed to bring out its complicated flavors. I am not saying that you should set aside an hour to drink a cup of tea, what I am saying is that for the brief moment that you are drinking your tea, focus on the tea. Let the hectic fast paced world we live in fade away and for that one moment experience calm. You will be amazed at how much of a stress reliever drinking tea this way can be.
Types of Dark Tea
There are many types of Dark Tea. Here we will delve into the different varieties, their histories, cultures and legends. You will learn about their unique processing techniques, and where they are produced. We feel that learning more about the teas we drink add to the whole tea experience.
How to Brew Dark Tea
There are many ways to brew these teas. There are simple and quick ways and also beautiful tea ceremonies that are elegant and refined. We will show you the different ways to brew these teas and the tools used.
Dark Tea Health Benefits
It is common knowledge that Green Tea has many health benefits, but most people do not realize how healthy Dark Tea is also. The many health benefits of Dark Tea has surprised researchers.
Dark Tea for Sale
We offer fantastic teas for sale. We have been drinking and collecting DarkTeas for years which allow us to offer a great variety of teas. As with all of our teas, we are very particular about our Dark Teas and only offer teas we ourselves would drink. We feel we would rather lose money than lose your trust, so all of our teas are genuine and purchased directly from the producers.
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