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History of the Black TeaEdit

There are over 15,000 known varieties of tea, and black tea is one of the predominant flavor types. The name of this tea type comes from the dark red and dark brown colors it displays. As it ages, black tea becomes better, producing a more intense flavor and a richer taste. In many ways, vintage black tea is similar to old and exquisite wine. Storage is quite easy for black tea – a room that is reasonably well ventilated is all that it needs. Black tea comes in compressed cakes of various shapes and sizes (round, square, and even bamboo-like tubes). Tea caking originated in the Tang dynasty (618-907) and this made it easier for tea trade to develop, as transporting it was easier.

The actual history of black tea is still a mystery. Black tea has taken a different path than most other tea types and although black tea production is mentioned in Chinese local and court history, there are no writings that provide enough detail. Cha Jing (The Book of Tea) written by Lu Yu in 780 also lacks information on black tea. It seems that the first places where black tea production started are Tibet, Mongolia, and the Uyghur people of northwestern China. In these areas, black tea was seen as an illness prevention method, and locals consumed it daily to avoid diseases. Each person in these regions drank 10-12 cups a tea each day and this habit was enforced by their saying: "man can do without food for three days, but without tea, not for one." Black tea is an essential part of the diet of many ethnic minorities from China, as they rely mostly on meat and consume very few fresh vegetables, and black tea delivers some of the nutrients that ensure a healthy life.

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