Dark Tea is one of the six tea categories in China with a history of over four hundred years, which only exists in China and is an indispensable beverage for the Chinese ethnic minorities in their everyday life.

The Varieties of Dark Tea

Fu Brick Tea 茯砖茶/茯茶

Dark tea was one of the main kinds of tea in “Tea-horse Exchange”. It also called “Official Tea” which means that this tea was controlled by the government in order to exchange horses with the minorities at that time.
Ming Dynasty government thought that Hunan dark tea with large yield, strong and stimulating taste was more suitable for the minorities to drink with cream cheese in it, so they made the tea produced in Anhua county of Hunan as “official Tea “.It was carried to the areas of Xianyang and Jingyang of Shanxi province and made into “Jingyang Brick Tea” which is produced during summer time so it is named Fu brick tea or Fu tea.

Pu-erh Tea普洱茶

Pu-erh is a variety of post-fermented tea produced in Yunnan province, China. Post-fermentation is a tea production style in which the tea leaves undergo a microbial fermentation process after they are dried and rolled. This is a Chinese specialty and is sometimes referred to as dark tea. There are a few different provinces each with a few regions producing dark teas of different varieties. Those produced in Yunnan are generally named Pu-erh, referring to the name of Pu-erh county which used to be a trading post for dark tea during imperial China.

Liu Bao Tea 六堡茶

The origin of this tea is from Liubao, in the Cangwu county, Guangxi province, China. The tea got its name as Guangxi Liubao.
Liubao tea falls within the same category as Pu-erh, for it is fermented longer than Oolong but less than black. The raw tea leaves harvested in the region are piled up, and exposed to a high degree of humidity for a certain period of time until the desired level of fermentation is achieved. Water is sprayed on occasionally to keep the environment constantly humid and the pile is covered by blankets. Such a humid and warm temperature condition controlled humanly accelerates the fermentation of the tea, known as ‘wo dui’ in Chinese. It is interesting to know all modern cooked Pu-erh teas are made in the same way.

Dark tea unlike other types of Chinese tea whose taste and aroma fade with age, dark tea actually improves with age, making it a favorite of collectors and investors in the modern days.

For people who like delicate green tea, it is hard to get used to the strong and unique taste of dark tea at once while if they stick to drinking it, they would fall in love with the unique mellow flavor of dark tea. During recent years, Dark Tea gained wider and wider popularity partly because its health benefits such as anti-oxidation, anti-aging, detoxification, a diuretic to reduce tobacco and alcohol poisoning, lipid-lowering, weight loss, softening of human blood vessels, prevention of cardiovascular disease were realized by more and more people.

Dark Tea matures with time. If stored correctly, dark teas have no expiration date and will accompany you over time. Tasting their subtle change in flavor is one of the unique pleasures they have to offer.

Health Benefits Of Fu Brick Tea

For many centuries, the golden fungus in Hunan Province dark tea has been a dietary supplement to the people of Tibet.  Clinical studies have shown the bacteria can effectively inhibit the proliferation of colon, gastric and liver cancer cells. Under a high magnifying glass, the golden flower is golden yellow, shaped like a spherical mushroom.

Golden Flower, also known as Fu-brick tea, has become the hot spot of various scientific research institutions in the world. Recent Hunan Agricultural University studies have found that eurotium cristatum (Golden Flower) can play an active role in prolonging the life span of human beings. In addition, it also has a very significant effect on the improvement of intestinal, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases.


1. Supplementing dietary nutrition
Dark tea contains abundant nutritional elements including vitamins, mineral substances, protein, amino acid, saccharides and so on. Dark tea is an important source for absorbing mineral substances and vitamins for the northwestern inhabitants who mainly live on beef, mutton and dairy and lack in taking in enough vegetables and fruit. Thus dark tea is called “tea of life”.

2. Aiding digestion, solving grease, cleaning up intestines and stomach
The caffeine, vitamin, amino acid and phospholipids in dark tea are helpful in digestion, regulating fat metabolism, stimulating gastric juice secretion and increasing appetite. Japanese scholars’ scientific research shows that dark tea has strong functions in cutting grease and digesting. This is the reason why the carnivorous nationalities particularly like this kind of tea.
Minorities in Northwest of China live mainly on beef, mutton and cheese. It is said that they would rather live without food than live without dark tea. The dark tea is vital for them because it has the effect of resolving animal meat, fat, grease.
Besides, dark tea can improve the microorganism environment of intestines and stomach and clean up intestines and stomach. In China, people keep the tradition to utilize dark tea to cure dysentery and indigestion.

3. Reducing fat, reducing weight, softening vessel and preventing CVD
Dark tea has excellent functions in lowering blood lipid, resisting blood clotting, promoting fibrinogen dissolution, inhibiting platelet aggregation , loosening vascular wall, increasing effective diameter of vessel, inhibiting the formation of atheromatous plaque in internal wall of aorta and coronary artery and achieve the goal of lowering blood pressure, softening vessel and preventing and curing of cardiovascular diseases.
Dark tea is rich in tea polysaccharide which has the effects of lowering blood fat and the activity of the peroxide in blood. In 1990, General Hospital of PLA had 55 veteran cadres who were hyperlipidemia patients drink dark tea constantly for 180 days(3g/d), the observation showed that 50 people had their blood fat and peroxide activity in blood obviously reduced.
An epidemiological survey shows that people who live in the northwest such as Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai keep the habit of drinking dark tea and benefit from dark tea for its outstanding functions in regulating blood fat, blood sugar, blood pressure and vascular sclerosis and controlling of body weight and shaping figure.

4. Anti-oxidation, anti-ageing, prolonging life
The theory of the relation between the free radical and ageing says that under normal physiological conditions, the free radicals in the human body constantly generate and are constantly eliminated and then keep its balance. Dark tea contains not only abundant anti-oxidation substances such as catechin, tea pigment, falconoid, vitamin C, E and D, carotene etc., but also plentiful anti-oxidation of trace elements such as zinc, manganese, copper and selenium. The catechin, tea pigment, theanine and tea polysaccharide especially the plentiful complex flavonoid in dark tea have the function of eliminating free radicals, thus dark tea does well in anti-oxidation and anti-ageing.

5. Anti-cancer and anti-mutation
Cancer is one of the deadly diseases of the world.
Since the late 1970s, scientists from various countries have successively found that teas or tea extracts have the function of inhibiting various cancers. Hunan Agricultural University has adopted cutting-edge high throughput screening technology to carry out the research on cancer cell model SGC7901 proving that dark tea has an obvious function in inhibiting tumor cells.

6. Reducing blood pressure
It has been reported that tea has the function of reducing blood pressure. Recently, it is reported in Japan that theanine, a type of amino acid that is contained in tea can restrain the rise of blood pressure through activating dopaminergic neuron. In addition, it is found that caffeine and catechin in dark tea can soften vessel and diastole vessel to realize blood pressure reduction. Some authoritative experts including Professor Lou Fuqing found that tea pigment has outstanding functions in anti-coagulation, promoting fibrinolysis, preventing platelet from cling and gathering, restraining HASMC hyperplasia, and also has effective function in reducing triglyceride and LDL, heightening HDL and inhibiting ACE to realize blood pressure reduction.

7. Improving Saccharomyces, reducing blood sugar, preventing and curing diabetes
The tea Saccharomyces contained in dark tea is the major element that can reduce blood sugar. The tea Saccharomyces is a mixture of the same type of complex and changeable elements. The test result on tea Saccharomyces content of several kinds of tea shows that tea polysaccharide content of dark tea is the highest and its components’ activity is the strongest, because of the formation of comparatively short sugar chain and pep-tide chain which is easier to be absorbed and has stronger activity than short pep-tide chain through the action of glycosidase, pro-tease and hydro-lase contained in fermented tea. This is one of the reasons why fermented teas especially dark tea has a better effect of lowering blood sugar than other teas.

8. Sterilization and reducing inflammation
The major components of dark tea water are theaflavin and thearubigins. The research shows that theaflavin does not only act as an effective free radical scavenging agent and anti-oxidant, but also has effective anti-bacterial action against clostridium botulinum, intestine bacillus, staphylococcus aureus, bacillus capsulate and bacillus cereus. In addition, theaflavin has certain inhibiting effect against influenza virus, rotavirus virus and enter virus.

9. Diuresis, detoxication and reducing the harm made by tobacco and liquor
The diuretic function of Caffeine in dark tea is realized by boosting the leaching rates of water from the urine through the kidney. Meanwhile, caffeine cannot only stimulate the bladder and help urine, but also helps sober up and resolve toxins in tobacco and liquor. Moreover, tea polyphenols in dark tea helps the precipitation of nicotine and it can eliminate the free radicals contained in the smoke and reduce the toxic effects of smoke on the human body. Drinking dark tea can alleviate toxic effects of heavy metals as tea polyphenols has a strong adsorption function.