China Black Teas
The Chinese have enjoyed tea for millennia. Scholars hailed the brew as a cure for a variety of ailments. The nobility considered the consumption of good tea as a mark of their status, and the common people simply enjoyed its flavour.
According to legend, tea was first discovered by the Chinese emperor and herbalist, Shennong (sometimes referred to as Shen Nung) in 2737 BC. Please note that we are not actually sure that Shennong ever existed, rather like our own King Arthur... It is said that the emperor liked his drinking water boiled before he drank it. One day, on a trip to a distant region, he and his army stopped to rest. A servant began boiling water for him to drink using branches from a wild tea bush and as the wood burnt, a leaf detached from it and fell into the bubbling water. The emperor drank it and found it very refreshing, and cha (tea) came into being.
It is said that Shennong also invented agriculture and Chinese medicine, and that he took tea as an antidote to the various poisons he encountered whilst undertaking this research.
Black tea retains its flavour for several years and for this reason compressed bricks of black tea even served as a form of currency in Mongolia, Tibet and Siberia into the 19th century.
To this day Black tea accounts for more than 90% of all tea sold in the West. It is more oxidized than oolong, green and white teas making it generally stronger in flavour than the less oxidized teas.