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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

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

This is definitely a young sheng (raw) pu-erh and that's really about all I know about this tea. I'd yet to try sheng pu-erh (young or old), so when I saw it in an Asian, mom-and-pop grocery for $4, I had to try it. There's no date anywhere on the package, so I've no idea what year it's from, but it can't be very old b...

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85 / 100
Picture of 10-Year Aged Raw Pu-erh Brick Tea (2005)

I'm not sure how others determine their point ratings for tea, but for me, an 85 is an above-average everyday tea. At first, when I tried this, I didn't like it. Something about the notes just didn't appeal to me. It took getting more used to rougher, young raw pu-erh for me to really start to appreciate this one. It ...

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82 / 100
Picture of Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2012

When the holidays came around (and the holiday sales) and I was treating myself to one of the more expensive cakes, I picked this one out of all of those available on TeaVivre. The reason that I picked this one was that it's drinkable now, it tastes like it has potential for the future (not all currently drinkable cake...

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80 / 100
Picture of Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013

I'd rate this one pretty high, but most of the flavor is in the breath, not in the taste itself. I think it's a matter of personal preference as to whether one prefers one, the other, or both. I prefer both because it gives more of a rounded experience. This just doesn't have enough in the taste to appeal to me. There ...

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42 / 100
Picture of Menghai Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2018 - Dog Year

I'm rewriting this review because I just gave the Dog Year tea another try and I was happier with it this time. Months ago, it was too smoky and unpalatable. It tasted nothing like the Monkey Year tea. But, after time, it's evolved. I had a sample and for part of the past few months, it was in the sample pouch. I event...

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Top Reviewers

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1Reviewer icon Alex Zorach2416
2Reviewer icon Amanda 1611
3Reviewer icon Gray96
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
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
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

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 (150)Brands of Dark Tea

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