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Chinese Black Tea

Chinese Black Tea | Imperial Teas

The whole range of these handmade teas deserves to be tried. They are intriguingly varied in character but are all surprisingly rich, sweet and malty with subtle chocolatey undertones and make wonderful breakfast teas. Amongst them you will find teas seldom seen outside of China and batches made to our specific specification. Most of them are suitable for taking with milk but are equally at home without. The brewing procedure is quite different though, depending which method you opt for. If you take them with milk brew them like an Assam, for between 5-7 minutes. If you prefer it without milk, brew for two minutes and then using the same leaves you can brew once or twice again. The difference in flavour is most beguiling.

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  1. Keemun Lion Mountain

    Keemun Lion Mountain

    Chinese black teas are very versatile for the fact that, depending on one's taste, they can be made strongly and drunk with milk, or taken black when a bright, gentle brew may be appreciated in the early evening. This Keemun from the Lion Mountain in Anhui province to the west of Shanghai is the next highest grade after the Hao Ya teas. Its flavour is malty with a subtle hint of fruit and its famed aroma is compared to orchid, rose and chocolate, which is also evident in the infusion. A very reasonably priced tea for its high quality.

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    From £5.50

    Earn 6 loyalty points.

  2. Tarry Lapsang Crocodile

    Tarry Lapsang Crocodile

    The original and best grade of this famous smoky tea is grown in a nature reserve. It is smoked naturally with the authentic Chinese fir root and is gentle, clear and full flavoured.

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    From £6.50

    Earn 7 loyalty points.

  3. Yunnan Imperial

    Yunnan Imperial

    This is a remarkably fine tea for such a small amout of money. It is thick liquored but will not become bitter, even if brewed for ten or more minutes. Its leaf appearance this year is much larger than usual because of weather conditions, meaning it needs a lengthy infusion time to yield all the flavour locked up in them. In the cup it is delicious, with all the typical Yunnan characteristics evident, such as sweet pepperiness and caramel. It is a splendid breakfast tea on its own and is also useful in a blend, adding great weight and smoothness.

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    From £7.00

    Earn 7 loyalty points.

  4. Lu Yu Golden Thread

    Lu Yu Golden Thread

    Lu Yu Golden Thread is a special grade of Chinese black tea produced in the high elevation tea gardens of western Hubei, China. Each year, this ‘golden hao ya’ tea is carefully selected from the farmers’ earliest batches of spring tea. It has a mellow and refreshing character that is smooth with low astringency. It is expertly oxidised, with even graded leaves and big, golden buds. It is wonderfully full-flavored with a rich body and is a treat for black tea lovers. A Chinese poet described Enshi, where this tea is grown as "Endless green mountains to walk on, endless clear water going away". If taking without milk, brew in the Chinese style with 2g of tea, three minute infusion time but the leaves can be brewed 3-4 times.

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    Earn 26 loyalty points.

  5. Jin Jun Mei Souchong

    Jin Jun Mei Souchong

    This Jin Jun Mei is currently the second most expensive black tea in China, with shops selling the higher grade for prices up to $1600 for 100g. It has soared in both popularity and cost since it was created in 2005 by Mr. Jiang Yuan Xun, the general manager of Wu Yi Zheng Shan tea company. Whilst accompanying some guests on a visit to the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, famous for Oolong teas, some wild tea bushes were discovered growing at over 1800 metres altitude in the Wuyi Nature Reserve. This leaves the tea to develop a complex character, with aromas of fruit, flower and honey and malt.

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    Earn 31 loyalty points.

  6. Yunnan Black Gold

    Yunnan Black Gold

    Those of you familiar with the charms of Yunnan tea might find this the best example they have ever tried. That is certainly the case for me. Over twenty years I have tried many and indeed it took twenty samples alone this year before I found this delicious batch. Although it has a very high tip content, it also shows some much darker leaves. Made by a tea master with the focus being on maximising the complexity of flavour, it is in the cup that this tea really shines. As well as all the usual spicy, peppery, subtle earthy notes and a sweetness in the finish, this batch has a very clear note of caramel that I love, with a warm honey flavour too. As you can tell, one of my favourite teas of the year. Learn More

    Earn 16 loyalty points.

  7. Black Phoenix from Honey Orchid Tree

    Black Phoenix from Honey Orchid Tree

    Phoenix teas are normally produced as Oolongs but at our request this has been made into a black tea. And what an amazing tea it is, the like of which I have never tasted before. Dan Cong teas are famous for the characteristic of mimicking the flavours of different flowers and fruits, depending upon the strain from which they are made. This black tea has been made from Mi Lan, the Honey Orchid strain. It is hard to describe the complexity of fragrance and flavour in this tea but it is intense, with prominent notes of peach, mango and apricot released seemingly in waves upon the tongue with a rich malty finish. Learn More

    Earn 50 loyalty points.

  8. Fuchow Golden Needle

    Fuchow Golden Needle

    An unusual flat, smooth leaf in the style of Long Jing green tea, that is worked by hand in a wok. It grows on the 'big leaf' tea tree, in common with our Tea of Life, in the Fujian Province. A rich tasting, fruity liquor with a lingering aroma of chocolate and fresh raspberries. Learn More

    Earn 15 loyalty points.

  9. Sichuan Zao Bai Jian Spring

    Sichuan Zao Bai Jian Spring

    This is my favourite and one of the best black Chinese teas I have ever tasted, the other is the significantly more expensive, Summer Sichuan Zao Bai Jian. Even in the dry leaf it has the wonderful aroma of chocolate covered Turkish Delight, more when infused and the taste reminds me of Bournvita, with its silky blend of real cocoa and malt. The appearance of the fine, golden tipped, tightly twisted leaves is also an indication of the respect this tea has in China's tea market. Learn More

    Earn 28 loyalty points.

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