History Of How Black Tea Was Created and Came To The UK

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According to the historical records, the special production procedures were found due to a happenstance. Dates back to late Ming and early Qing Dynasties, the tongmu area became important channels of transporting military supplies. On one occasion, the tea factories were inhabited  by troops forcibly, causing drying tea leaves that had to be moved outside of the tea factories to allow for more space for the soldiers. Therefore, the tea leaves turned red (a bad phenomenon) because of being dried outside over long periods of time. For reducing loss of the tea,, the farmers speeded up the drying process by putting the tea leaves on open fires of pinewood. Surprisingly, a new flavour was created with the mellow pinewood-smoky smell and dried-longan-flavour.  

After that, Lapsang souchong became more popular due to its unique character in China. As a result, the Dutch found this to be a business opportunity, they then started importing Lapsang souchong to Western Europe as a precious herbs in 1600s. Gradually, the British were attracted by this tasty far-eastern beverage as well, proceeding to import it on a large-scale.

In 1662, Princess Catherine, a passionate admirer on Lapsang souchong, brought this tea to Britain’s Royal Family. Since then, all the members in Royal Family have been crazy about this Chinese Tea.

It is rumoured that the first thing to do after waking up, for British Queens, is to brew a cup of Lapsang souchong. Moreover, Queen Anne advocated substituting wine with this Chinese black tea in important occasions, bringing this tea into the upper class, named the Royal Black Tea and attracting a lot of dignitaries in the day. For instance, Lord Byron, a famous poet, was highly appreciative of this tea and mentioned it in his famous poem DON JUAN, “I feel my heart become so sympathetic that I must have recourse to black Bohea” (Bohea refers to the origin of black tea). Gradually, the culture of ‘afternoon tea’ was promoted because of the popularity of Lapsang souchong in the UK.

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