Gongfu Hongcha - the elaborately produced black tea from China
(Note: The following text has been slightly edited by Teaflavor).
Gongfu Hongcha 功夫紅茶 , what is it? Hongcha 紅茶 is the black tea that is elaborately produced in China through special processes. A Gongfu Hongcha black tea is characterised by the fact that the shoot and leaf are completely preserved, the shape is firm and stable and the leaves are beautifully formed.
In the 1980s, this Gongfu Hongcha was the export hit of the Manchu Empire. Before machine-chopped black tea was invented, this Gongfu Hongcha was "the only black tea" in the world. FOP and OP, fannings and dust were the inventions of the industrial age, which supposedly accelerated and spread tea development worldwide. The taste of industrial fanning and dust replaced the taste of hand-made "Gongfu HongCha" as a very high-quality black tea with often inferior, industrially processed mass-produced chopped "black tea".
Ironic, isn't it? We invent machine manufacturing that is supposed to make our lives easier. Instead, our taste in black tea has been limited and considerably narrowed. Many good things like good black tea are lost to industrial manufacturing. The taste suffers - the taste itself becomes a rarity!
Traditionally, Gongfu Hongcha is produced in the Chinese province of Fujian 福建 (home of this tea), in the provinces: Hunan, Yunan, Anhui and Jiangxi. Different climatic conditions and different tea tree varieties shape the variety of flavours of the different black teas from the different provinces.
Xiaozhong Hongcha is a special name for the black tea in Fujian that is dried and roasted with pine charcoal - The designation: Zhengshan Xiaozhong 正山小種 is only reserved for the black tea from the Wuyi Mountains. Gongfu Hongcha is the name for an elaborately hand-produced black tea from China. The leaves are beautifully stable, firmly formed and shiny black. The infusion shows a beautiful red colour that shines gold at the rim of the cup. After cooling down, the tea becomes milky if it is of higher quality.
The Qimen (Keemun) black tea (= Hong Cha) 祁門 紅茶 from Anhui province and the Dianhong 滇紅 (golden Yunnan) from Yunnan province are the best Gongfu Hongcha. High-quality Qimen tastes of honey and apple.
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