Black tea was first developed in China. Legend has it that the fresh green teas sent by the early tea explorers from Europe fermented on the voyage home creating a new taste sensation. Chinese black teas are noted for their slightly smoky and full bodied taste.
There are two primary families of Chinese Black teas: Yunnan and Qimen. Yunnan teas are more prevalent and have the light taste of honey for which classic Chinese black teas are desired. Qimen teas are have a more malty rich taste and are less known but growing in popularity. Also famed from the Chinese Black family is Pu Er, the aged dark tea revered for more than 3000 years. Pu Er is among the most prized of all black teas.
India is one of the largest growers of black tea in the world. Famed tea gardens in Darjeeling and Assam provide some of the world’s most popular teas. Grown in foothills of the Himalayas in northern India Darjeeling is considered the “champagne of tea” and it cultivated as ferverently as French wine. Assam is the classic component of many English breakfast and Earl Grey teas. Astringent and bold Assam is the tea most tea drinkers think of when thinking Black tea. Nilgiri in the south of India produces some of the most sublime black tea, rich and robust but with a less tannic body than Assam. Sri Lanka has long been prized for its beautiful black tea, luscious and slight fruity as befitting its warmer climate.