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Dark Tea

Wikipedia: Fermented_tea 
Last Updated: Nov. 27, 2018 

About Dark Tea

Brick of compressed tea, dark brown in color, on a beige background with Chinese charactersDark tea is often compressed into bricks or other shapes. Photo © Ignat Gorazd, CC BY-SA 2.0.
Dark tea, also called post-fermented tea, is tea that has undergone microbial fermentation. In Chinese, dark tea is referred to as hēichá (黑茶), literally meaning "black tea", which is distinct from what is referred to as black tea in English, which is called hongcha or "red tea" in Chinese.

Although there are many types of Dark tea originating in China, the most well-known type, Pu-erh, makes up the overwhelming majority of the production. Dark teas other than Pu-erh remain esoteric and not widely available in the West.

Outside of Pu-erh, which is produced in Yunnan province, dark tea is produced in Hunan and Guangxi provinces. You can use our search and browse features to locate and list Hunan dark teas or Guangxi dark teas in our database.

In Japan, bancha, a green tea, can be processed using a fermentation step, producing Batabatacha. We classify atabancha as a dark tea as well.

Dark tea and health

Dark teas are sometimes touted for probiotic effects, because they contain active bacterial and mold cultures. Extensive research has been carried out on Pu-erh tea specifically. There is little research studying dark tea as a broader category and seeing whether or not the research on Pu-erh generalizes to other dark teas or whether there are any differences in their health effects.

Recent Dark Tea Reviews — RSS rss icon

82 / 100
Picture of 2016 Yunnan Sourcing

I ordered two of these in 2018 as it sounded from the description as the sort of thing I would like. I broke off a tiny piece initially, and as I expected it was a bit strong for my taste. I was surprised though at how quickly this one mellowed out.

Now, about 5 years from harvest, I broke off a bit again and it's s...

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94 / 100
Picture of 2016 Yunnan Sourcing

This pu-erh tea is wonderful! It has this rich vegetabley taste and it is thick bodied, almost like vegetable soup stock. Its really smooth and has no bitterness to it, its really enjoyable!

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65 / 100
Picture of Pu Erh 15 Års Lagret (Nr. 914)

Half-litre pot at home, brewed from a tuocha, i.e. a pill of compressed fermented leaves. Pours nearly clear fudge brown with negligible brownish sediment. Clear aroma of tea leaves, with mild notes of fermentation. Bitter, but not aggressive, flavour of black tea, with leafy notes and barely discernible touches of fer...

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80 / 100

Prepared tea from 8 g, coarsely ground, of a 357 g cake. Used 18 oz boiled water and brewed for 6 min; added 4 oz ice. Final = 2.9 g/8 oz. The tea had a strong earthy flavor, not acidic or astringent, and no mushroom flavor like some Pu-erhs. Very full bodied, and great taste! The tea liquor is black, which is why ...

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75 / 100
Picture of Xiaguan Te Ji Raw Pu-Erh Tuo

SECOND UPDATE: I'm pretty sure now that this tuo is counterfeit and not really from the Xiaguan factory. I'd been drinking leaves from the surface, which were good, but just broke through to a second layer of chopped up leaves and twigs. I'm rather surprised at the amount of effort that went into counterfeiting a tea t...

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Top Reviewers

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1Reviewer icon Alex Zorach2516
2Reviewer icon Amanda 1610
3Reviewer icon Whiskey96
4Reviewer icon Alex85
5Reviewer icon b22johansen53

Review 6 teas to get on this list!

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Most-Rated Dark Tea

Picture of Emperor's Puerh - Black Tea

Emperor's Puerh - Black Tea

Brand:Numi Organic Tea
Style:Pu-erh Tea
Region:Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
53
7 Ratings
Picture of Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013

Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh
Region:Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
72
4 Ratings
Picture of 2005 Jing Mai Autumnal

2005 Jing Mai Autumnal

Brand:The Tao of Tea
Style:Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh
Region:Lancang, Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Compressed
39
3 Ratings
No image of this tea

2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh
Region:Fengqing, Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Compressed
97
3 Ratings
Picture of Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005

Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh
Region:Fengqing, Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Compressed
50
3 Ratings

Top-Rated Dark Tea

No image of this tea

2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh
Region:Fengqing, Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Compressed
97
3 Ratings
Picture of Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013

Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh
Region:Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
72
4 Ratings
Picture of Emperor's Puerh - Black Tea

Emperor's Puerh - Black Tea

Brand:Numi Organic Tea
Style:Pu-erh Tea
Region:Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
53
7 Ratings
Picture of Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005

Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005

Brand:TeaVivre
Style:Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh
Region:Fengqing, Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Compressed
50
3 Ratings
Picture of 2005 Jing Mai Autumnal

2005 Jing Mai Autumnal

Brand:The Tao of Tea
Style:Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh
Region:Lancang, Yunnan, China
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Compressed
39
3 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Dark Tea

Browse All Dark Tea (154)Brands of Dark Tea

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