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Dark Tea

Wikipedia: Fermented_tea 
Last Updated: Jul. 19, 2017 

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.

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 2015 Yunnan Sourcing Menghai Lao Cha Tou Ripe Pu-erh Tea Brick

The dry leaves still have a little wet pile odor, but fortunately, this doesn't make it into the cup. I mostly taste wood and earthy flavors. My preference with shou is for sweeter notes of cherry, dried fruit, chocolate, vanilla, etc. I'll let this air out for a few weeks and see if it changes, but it's pretty mediocr...

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76 / 100
Picture of Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Puerh

I'll be surprised if I ever give more than 3 stars for aroma in a ripe puerh review. They all smell the same to me, excluding the odors of too fresh, poorly made, or improperly stored examples. The taste, though, is something else. Each one tastes noticably different in both subtle and obvious ways. What they all seem ...

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78 / 100
Picture of 2017 Old Reliable

2017 Old Reliable from white2tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China
Jul. 23rd, 2018

At first, this mostly smells and tastes like generic ripe pu-erh: wood, leaves, earth. It's sweet and syrupy, but the interesting flavors aren't immediately obvious. It does have subtle, non-generic-shou flavors that can be brought out depending on how you brew, though: caramel, cherry cola, dried fruit. Typical gaiwan...

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86 / 100
Picture of 2017 Little Ducks

2017 Little Ducks from white2tea

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China
Jul. 21st, 2018

While the dry leaves have a rather muted scent, the wet leaves and brewed tea both have an amazingly sweet aroma, like if flowers were candy. Like the Daily Drinker, this is on the mellow side, but this one can be pushed further if you can tolerate bitterness. Brewed normally, the first couple steeps are grassy and veg...

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77 / 100
Picture of 2017 Daily Drinker

2017 Daily Drinker from white2tea

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China
Jul. 19th, 2018

This tea has a wonderfully bright, fresh, floral fragrance, and a light bittersweet (more sweet than bitter) taste. It's moderately astringent, so be careful with brew times. As the name suggests, this won't be the greatest tea you've ever tasted; it's called Daily Drinker for a reason. It is quite good for the price, ...

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Top Reviewers

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1Reviewer icon Alex Zorach2417
2Reviewer icon Amanda 1611
3Reviewer icon Alex86
4Reviewer icon D. Gray53
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
74
7 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
98
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
52
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
71
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
55
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
98
3 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
74
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
71
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
55
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
52
3 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Dark Tea

Browse All Dark Tea (145)Brands of Dark Tea

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