Dark tea? What’s dark tea? You mean pu erh tea? The truth is, even many seasoned tea lovers aren’t fully sure what dark tea is and how it fits in the picture of all the other types. Pu erh tea, in fact, is a type of dark tea, but due to the overwhelming popularity of pu erh, other dark teas are often forgotten. Yet, for those pu erh tea lovers, who looking for an adventure, the other types of dark tea must be explored.
In this guide, we would like to focus and introduce you to Hunan Anhua dark tea, discussing its origin, history, and characteristics.
Anhua dark Tea is produced in Anhua County, Hunan Province, China. It is a mountainous area with four distinct seasons. With abundant rainfall and a short cold period, the growth period of tea trees lasts for more than 7 months. Known for its soft and thick leaves, the large leaf species of Yuntai Mountain here is one of the famous tea tree varieties in China. The mountains on both sides of the Zijiang River in Anhua are often covered with a thick layer of soil weathered by shale, which is most beneficial to the growth of tea trees.
Anhua Tea History
The history of Anhua tea production began in the Tang Dynasty. In 1524, “Anhua Dark Tea” officially appeared in written records. By the end of the 16th century, Anhua dark tea was designated as the one of the official teas. In addition to domestic sales throughout the northwest China, it was also exported to Russia, especially the brick tea selections. In 2010, Anhua dark tea became one of China’s national protected geographical indication products.
At first, the freshly picked tea leaves are made into dark maocha by processes such as fixing, rolling, piling, roasting and drying. As the raw material, dark maocha is further made into various Anhua dark tea products following the standards issued by the Anhua Tea Association.
The finished products of Anhua dark tea is black in colour, the bricks and rolls are tight and glossy, and the embossed texts and patterns are clear. Depends on the products, the infusion is orange to red in colour, with a unique pine-like smoky scent, a mushroom/floral aroma, and a mellow taste.
Types of Anhua tea
Once you start to explore this type of tea, you’ll discover there’s not just one kind of Anhua dark tea. In fact, there’s a broad range of teas divided in San Jian tea, Qian Liang tea and fu brick tea. Read the following guide in which we discuss all the types of Anhua tea.