Black Tea 红茶
Red tea, or “Black Tea” as it is known in the west, is a relative newcomer to tea, which is to say a mere few centuries old. A black tea process employs deliberate rolling and bruising of freshly withered tea leaves, to encourage oxidation, flavor complexity and texture. A tea’s polyphenols will shift with oxidation, beginning in a very tannic and fresh state, softening and dampening into something rich, sweet and ripe. In one sense, a black tea is run through the oxidation gamut for you in advance, and this was indeed what historically made it optimized for long overseas voyages, where it would degrade less in a cargo hold between origin and market. Many black teas will improve and deepen with age. It’s a style that carries all the things that make oxidized things great: raw cocoa, mead, toasted malt, summer squash, stone and red fruits—in short, delight.