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In the tea trade around the world, black tea accounts for more than 80% of the volume. Chinese black tea was once popular overseas and occupied the dominant position in the 19th century.
But when Robert Fortune unlocked the secret of Chinese black tea in China, the status of Chinese black tea was completely changed. And all of this, it is necessary to speak from the progenitor of black tea - Lapsang Souchong.
In the early period, Lapsang Souchong was called locally Wucha (dark tea) because the appearance of its tea leaves is in dark color. Later on, it was renamed as Hongcha (red tea) for its reddish tea liquor. And also because its origin is Wuyishan, the British called it BOHEA TEA.
History is always full of contingency and drama, and the course of the development of Lapsang Souchong is also the same. There is an interesting legend about the origin of Lapsang Souchong.
It is said that in a spring in the late Ming Dynasty, when tea was in production, an army from outside moved into the tea factory in Tongmuguan. This did cause the tea farmers trouble in the green-killing process of tea production. After the army left, the farmers found that the tea leaves have turned red and can’t be processed according to normal procedures. They were loath to throw away that red tea leaves, so they determined to give it a try: rolling the tea and drying it with pine fire. They had not expected the tea got fresh and sweet flavor instead of bitter and astringent one. To their surprise, the tea made in this way is adored by lots of Europeans.
The historical document records that after The Dutch East India Company brought a small amount of tea to Europe, tea drinking quickly became popular in Europe and became the main product of the trade between the West and China. This process happened just in the late Ming Dynasty. While the small amount of tea in Europe was Lapsang Souchong. So it is certain that Lapsang Souchong was made before 1610.
It is a strange phenomenon that China is the origin of black tea, but the sales of black tea in China were low. Black tea was not accepted in the domestic market with green tea as its original drink. But when it was brought to Europe by an opportunity, it soon became popular in the European market. At that time, overseas demand was large and black tea was almost sold out.
There is no doubt that tea affects the process of modern world. For the United States, Wuyi tea is the main tea in Boston Tea Party. From Old South Meeting House (Old South club and Boston tea event), the official narration is that the most popular tea in Boston Tea Party was Wuyi tea (Bohea).
In 1849, the British East India Co sent botanist Robert Fortune to China, after the second entry to Tongmu village(the origin of Lapsang Souchong), Robert Fortune got a collection of local best-quality tea, and a full set of tea-making tools. He recruited 8 workers to an India tea garden. Since then, the technology of tea production is imparted to the Indians.
From then on, India and Ceylon can produce black tea with a flavor similar to Chinese black tea, which completely broke the tea monopoly of China in the world.
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