What is dark tea
Dark Tea(Hei Cha 黑茶) is an unique type of tea made by post fermentation with a more than 400 years history. In China, it is usually called Border-Sale Tea (Bian Xiao Cha 边销茶), literally, tea sold on borders as it is commonly compressed into forms of bricks and sold in western minority areas of China. Its name comes from the color of dried tea leaves which results from old coarse raw materials and long time stacking fermentation during its production. According to the producing areas and production process, it can be divided into Hunan Hei Cha,Hubei Hei Cha, Sichuan Route Tea, Diangui Hei Cha and etc. For people who like delicategreen tea, it is hard to get used to the strong and unique taste of Hei Cha at once while if they stick to drinking it, they would fall in love with the unique mellow flavor of dark tea. Hei Cha won popularity in Yunnan,Sichuan and Guangxi provinces of China. Now dark tea is beloved by Tibetan,Mongol and Uygur people and considered a necessity by them.
History of Dark Tea (Hei Cha)
Legend told on the ancient Silk Road, tea caravan encountered rain, the tea moistened by rain mildew and became worthless. Tea merchants can’t help but abandon it and went away. Next year, an outbreak of dysentery made many people died in the village. When people got nothing to eat, tea merchants gave the mildewed tea to the poor families. Miracle occurred. Sick people recovered from the illness.
According to historical records,dark tea emerged much earlier than the legend told. According to “History of the Ming Food and Money,” it said: “Shenzong Wanli thirteen years (AD 1585) … … Tea is exchanged for horse, As Hunan tea is cheap,cross-border private and selling of Hunnan hei cha prospered”
Varieties of Dark Tea (Hei Cha):
- Sichuan Dark Tea, Sichuan Hei Cha also named Sichuan Route Tea including Southern route tea and Western route tea;
- Sichuan Pu’er Tea: mainly produced in Yibing and its neighboring areas of Sichuan province;
- Hubei Dark Tea, Hubei Hei Cha;
- Laoqing Tea: mainly produced in Chibi, Xianling, Tongshan, Chongyang of Hubei province;
- Hunan Dark Tea, Hunan Hei Cha;
- Raw Dark Green Tea (Black Hair Tea);
- Dian-Gui Dark Tea (Dian-Gui Hei Cha 滇 桂 茶茶);
- Yunnan Pu’er Tea ;
- Liupu Tea（六堡茶）,originally produced in Liupu village, Changwu of Guangxi province, Now its producing areas includes more than 20 counties of Guangxi province;
- Bainiu Tea, produced in Jinxiu, Guangxi province;
- Liudong Tea, produced in Xing’an, Guangxi province;
- Xiuren Tea, produced in Lipu, Guangxi province;
- Wantian Tea（宛田茶）, produced in Lingui, Guangxi province;
Health benefits of Dark Tea (Hei Cha)
- Replenish diet nutrient
Dark Tea (Hei Cha) contains rich nutrients, most notably vitamins and minerals, plus protein, amino acids, sugar substances.
- Help digestion, oily solution, make intestinal tract unhindered Dark Tea (Hei Cha) rich in caffeine, vitamins, amino acids, phospholipids, etc. help body’s digestion, regulate fat metabolism, caffeine stimulation,can also enhance the secretion of gastric juice volume, thus enhancing the appetite and help digestion
- Lipid-lowering, weight loss, softening of human blood vessels, prevention of cardiovascular disease Dark Tea (Hei Cha) can reduce blood fat and the role of peroxidase.
- Anti-oxidation, anti-aging, longevity Dark Tea (Hei Cha) is not only rich in antioxidant substances such as catechins, tea pigments, flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, D a-carotene, etc., but also contains large amounts of trace elements which also have antioxidant effect such as zinc, manganese, Copper (SOD composition of elements) and selenium (GSHPX the composition of elements) and so on. Its catechins, theaflavins, theanine and tea polysaccharides, in particular the more complex content of flavonoids and so has the function of anti-oxidation, scavenging free radicals and delaying cell senescence.
- Anti-cancer, anti-mutagenic
The study made by Hunan Agricultural University on Dark Tea with a model of tumor cell SGC7901 adopting cutting-edge technology of High Throughput Screening has proven that Hei Cha has significant inhibiting effect on tumor cells.
It has long been reported that tea has a role of lowering blood pressure. Recently, the Japanese reported that theanine, an unique amino acid can activate dopaminergic neurons, playing an inhibitory role in blood pressure. In addition the catechins and caffeine in tea can relax blood vessel walls and increase the effective diameter of blood vessels, decreasing blood pressure through vasodilation.
- To improve carbohydrate metabolism, lowering blood sugar, diabetes control
Tea polysaccharide complex in Dark Tea is the main component which lowers blood sugar. Tea polysaccharide complex commonly referred to as tea polysaccharide, is a complex which changes in mixture. Studies showed that Hei Cha has the highest content of tea polysaccharide compared to the other types of tea. Tea polysaccharide in dark tea is more active than that of any other kinds of teas. It is because sugar chain and peptide chain with relatively short length formed by glucosidase, protease, hydrolase in fermented tea is more easily absorbed and more active than that of longer length. That is why Hei Cha excels any other teas in lowering blood sugar.
- Bactericidal, anti-inflammatory
Theaflavins and thearubigins are the major components which make the color of Hei Cha infusion. Studies found that theaflavins is not only an effective free radical scavenger and anti-oxidants, but also has antibacterial effect for the bud botulinum bacteria, intestinal Bacteroides, Staphylococcus aureus, capsular bacteria, Bacillus cereus. In addition, it has inhibiting effect on theaflavins influenza viruses, rotavirus and enterovirus to a certain extent.
- Detoxification, diuretic to reduce tobacco and alcohol poisoning Caffeine in dark tea increase the discharge of urine by helping water filtering in urine through kidney. At the same time, caffeine can both help discharging urine and sobering up by stimulating bladder. Meanwhile, tea polyphenols in Hei Cha not only can precipitate nicotine and excrete it with the urine, but also can clear free radicals in smoke and reduce the toxic effects of smoke on human health. In addition, tea polyphenols can effectively absorb heavy metals, alleviating the toxic effects of heavy metals.
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