Novy said

How to choose a black tea?

It’s really hard to me. Can you give me some suggeation or recommend some online shop about it? I don’t want to go out, come on!

14 Replies
Sirio said

First of all, of course, as a general rule: trust the ones who give you detailed informations. Then I’ll suggest you to try some high quality batches from famous chinese and indian teas in order to acquire some coordinata in black teas’ world.
The ones you should totally try out are:

Darjeeling First Flush
Tong mu
Yunnan golden buds (that’s more like a category. Yunnansourcing has a delightful one)
Lapsang Souchong
Assam First Flush

You’ll find a huge number of sellers who’ll offer you teas whose names are included in that list. Some I really got along well with are: Mei Leaf, Yunnan Sourcing, Vadham Teas.

Unluckily is much more difficult to guess quality (before tasting) on black teas than on green teas in relation to the form and colour. But of course avoid broken leaf ones because they are probably getting bitter and sometimes too spicy in your cup.


Novy said

I’m intrested in the types of Black Tea you said. Can you itroduce them?

Sirio said


Keemun is a 19th century, Anhui born and still grown, chinese tea well known to english people because of it being one of the first (historically) bases to blend English Breakfast (they substituted by indian black teas actually). It has notes of hay, dried apricot, horchid and general not too overpowering sweetness. It’s quite syrupy.

Darjeeling is an indian black tea often refered as the “Champagne” of teas. It’s light in body and has notes of muscatel and nutmeg, some spices (gets stronger if you brew it with too high temperature which I do not suggest at all because of the fragility of these tea leaves). It’s grown in mountain tea gardens all over India and, fun fact, is the official tea in Buckingham Palace.

Tong mu!
Oh I love this one. It’s a chinese high altitude black tea picked generally as one bud and one/two young leaf/leaves. Muscatel grapes, wet oak, dried grass. It produces a complex and multi-layered tea liquor. Not for everyday drinking probably if first flush (expensive and very involving to be drank attentionless).

Yunnan Golden buds tea are a vast category of black teas producing malty, syrupy and amber-ish liquors. They can give you reminiscences of chocolate and ripe fruit or sugarcane.

Lapsang Souchong is a variably smoked black tea extremely different from the ones I’d already introduced to you. It tastes smokey, kind of edgy, giving you a, maybe more fruity, whiskey reminiscence.

Last but not least: Assam!
It’s and Indian black tea not really that famous for its first flush but you should try its first anyway IMHO. Smoked wood, orange blossoms and camphor. It’s full bodied and very round (roundness is generally a specific character of second flushes and different summer picked teas).


Novy said

WOW! Amazing! Thx!! I will try my beat to understand them.

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Rasseru said

as I said in another thread, what-cha has very good selection of black teas. I like the wild shan cha & davit phoenix. They are fruity with less malt than, say, a dian hong.

Novy said

I think I’ve got the gist of it. THX

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Hezo541 said

Lapsang souchong is a good choice. Maybe you could have a try.

Novy said

What does it taste like? Idon’t know much about it.

heybee said

Super smokey and still very smooth.

Novy said

Hard to understand. Maybe I should buy some

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Sarararah said

You’d better try it if it’s possible, your mouth will tell you what you want.
That’s the real nature.

Novy said

Hmmmmm, sounds reasonable.

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I just wrote a blog post reviewing two completely different types of black teas together. Oddly neither type has come up yet. One is a Taiwanese black tea, referred to as honey black, a version of tea that’s not really uncommon but not as well known as something like Darjeeling or Ceylon (also not mentioned; black tea from Sri Lanka). The other is a Chinese black tea from the same region Dan Cong oolong is from, named after that region and a plant type as sold by that vendor.

The two teas were completely different. It doesn’t really make sense to review two dis-similar teas together but sometimes I do anyway. One source of one of the teas is worth considering, Yunnan Sourcing, and the other came from a shop in Taiwan, so probably not really an option (although someone could contact them and they would mail tea, but oolongs from there sort of make more sense to me). That post:

Sqt said

Interestingly enough, I have both teas already ordered and on the way. I am in the middle of huge hongcha sipdown. Thanks for the review :)

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