Red Tea: all you need to know

Nowadays red tea is very well known and you can find it in tea shops and even supermarkets. Even a well-known brand of tea bags advertises it on television.

But the normal thing is that you have many questions and doubts about the famous red tea, is it red? Is it fat burning? What is Puerh?, etc.

What is red tea?

As I explained to you in the BlOG Red Tea. Its contradictions, it is a very special tea and different from the others you know and not only because of its color.

The main characteristic and what makes it so special is that it is a fermented tea.

But what does it mean that it is a fermented tea?

Don’t worry, I’ll explain it to you and you’ll see how you understand it.

All teas come from the same tree: Camellia Sinensis, but not all teas are the same. Surely you know or have heard of white tea, green tea, black tea and the famous red tea.

But what if they all come out of the same tree? Because they are different.

Well, because they are processed differently. Green and white teas do not undergo any oxidation or fermentation. Black teas are oxidized and red teas are fermented.

We understand by fermented tea that tea that undergoes microbial fermentation and oxidation of its leaves.

It is the only type of tea that undergoes microbial fermentation.

What makes red tea different?

If you doubt its color, flavor and the health benefits it provides.

These three properties are obtained mainly from the microbial fermentation that its leaves undergo during its preparation.

When a product undergoes fermentation, compounds are modified, becoming others.

A very intuitive example is wine. Where a microbial fermentation turns sugar into alcohol.

This fermentation process, depending on the process with which it is carried out, can be from 2 to 60 years and is that it makes the leaves reach a coppery color, a very particular earthy flavor and has a set of lipases that help to dissociate body fat.

Why is he so famous?

Although it seems to us that red tea is a tea of ​​the 21st century, the truth is that it is one of the six kinds of tea in China since time immemorial.

Pu Erh red tea has been collected since the Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907).

One method of preparing this tea was already described by Lu Yu in the first book on tea, published in China around 780. Lu Yu’s block tea was wrapped in bamboo for transportation, and this is still done today with the Quality Puerhs.

Its consumption was very local, almost exclusively in China and its price was high since it was manufactured in a very traditional way from the wild tea trees of Yunnan.

In the post-war 1950s there was a surge in demand in Hong Kong, perhaps due to the concentration of Chinese refugees, and it became known in the West.

In the 1970s, the red tea manufacturing process began to be industrialized. This new artificial maturation process obtains a red tea in just a few months, which previously took 10-15 years in an artisanal way.

As of 2008, Pu Erh, the best-known red tea, has a designation of origin by the Chinese government, which means that only red tea produced in Yunan can be called Pu Erh.

If we add to this the properties and benefits of red tea, we have the “perfect storm” for tea marketing:

1.- A quality product with beneficial properties for health.

2.- An exotic product due to its origin and antiquity.

3.- A growing demand for the greater purchasing power of its usual consumers: the Chinese.

4.- A decreasing production cost that has allowed to increase the tons of tea in a very short time.

Is it red?

I remind you that in China they name the different teas by the color of the broth and not the strand as in Europe, that is:

Te Rojo in Spanish = black or dark tea in Chinese

Black tea in Spanish = red tea in Chinese

Indeed, the strands are earthy red and give a dark broth that has nothing to do with the color of rooibos or Jamaican tea, which are intense red precisely because they are not teas but infusions (teas come from the Camellia Sinensis and Rooibos do not).

What is the taste of red tea?

Red tea has a flavor unlike any other tea in the world. There is something earthy about its flavor, not repulsive at all, and it has a long flavor profile in the mouth or on the palate.

Its flavor, earthy, is not reminiscent of any other tea. It is easily assimilated, pleasant and if it is prepared “loaded” it reminds a little of coffee. In fact, there are those who use it as a substitute for coffee.

If you want to avoid the slightly strong initial flavor of this tea, wash (or blanch). To do this, pour very hot water over the leaves and strain after a few seconds. Normally re-infuse the same leaves for 3-4 minutes, in this way the tea has less caffeine.

As everything depends on the quality of the tea but the liquor should never appear cloudy and should have a dark reddish appearance but should not be opaque, “muddy” or black in color.

Poor grades can be very harsh and bitter. High grades are smooth, pleasant and sweet.

What it should never have is the smell of mold or fungus.

Is Pu Erh and red tea the same?

No. Red tea is one of the six classic classes of Chinese teas that is characterized by being a tea that undergoes a fermentation that makes it a unique product.

Pu Erh tea is the red tea from the Chinese province of Yunan and since 2008 it is protected by a designation of origin from the Chinese government.

So that you can see it more clearly, I will give you an example with wine.

Not all red wine is from Rioja but all Rioja is red.

The same goes for red tea.

Although it is produced throughout the Yunnan region, the most famous area in the “Six Great Mountains of Tea”

There are other regions in China where red tea is also processed, such as Hunan, Guangdong and other bordering countries such as Vietnam, Laos and Burma, but since 2008 the Chinese government approved a rule that declared pu’er tea as a ” geographically indicated product”, which would restrict the designation of tea as pu’er to tea produced in specific regions of Yunnan province.

Is it fashionable or is it really worth taking?

It is a tea that is fashionable and that without a doubt is worth drinking for different reasons:

For its earthy and persistent flavor that makes it unique.

For its great health benefits. In addition to having the general properties of teas, we have to add the properties of the lipases that are obtained during its manufacture. Being the only tea that has them.

Properties of red tea

Red tea is widely used in Chinese medicine stores, and is highly valued for its medicinal, digestive and nervous system stimulating properties.

In Europe it has become popular for its properties to help eliminate fat, which is why it has come to be called the “fat burning” tea. This is due to its low theine content.

Authentic red pu-erh tea contains very little theine due to the fermentation process it undergoes, as a general rule, it contains much less theine than any other tea.

Red tea is diuretic

One of the main properties of red tea, if not the greatest, is that it has diuretic properties . Thus, it facilitates the expulsion of toxins through urine and prevents fluid retention in the body.

This property is what has helped to create the fame of red tea as “slimming”, because it is the most visible, and although it is true that it actively collaborates in weight reduction diets, as we will see below,

Red tea accelerates the metabolic function of the liver

By  generating greater activity in the liver, red tea allows the liver to process fats more quickly, and therefore work harder on weight loss. In fact, it has been proven that consuming 3 cups of red tea daily can help you lose up to 3 kilos per month.

Produces more efficient digestion

Red  tea favors the production of gastric acid and bile salts, which makes digestion faster and less burdensome.

Reduces “bad” cholesterol

A proven effect of regular consumption of red tea is the  significant decrease in cholesterol levels.  Comparing levels after one year, decreases are recorded in indexes of 240 to 175mg/dL in total cholesterol with HDL in 35mg/dL.

In addition, it also lowers the amount of triglycerides and positively influences the generation of good cholesterol.

When is it recommended to drink red tea?

Although red tea is one of the teas with the lowest theine content, it is not recommended to drink it at night.

It is a tea with an intense flavor, very suitable for breakfast, mid-morning or after eating.

Many of our clients usually take it 2-3 times a day. At breakfast, mid-morning and after eating because it facilitates digestion.

It marinates very well with strong foods, meats, stews, etc.

How is red tea prepared?

You can find red tea in three formats:

Capsules compatible with nespresso machines:

They are very easy to use. Just give the capsuleless machine a second to clean the tube. Introduce the capsule, press the button and… Ready!

Red tea in bags or Pyramids 

It is a more practical alternative to loose red tea, since you can prepare the tea without straining it. It is also the best option to take to work, since they are easily available in individual packages.

loose red tea

It is the most traditional presentation of red tea and, therefore, the easiest to obtain. If you are a tea lover in general, you will surely choose this option, because it is the one that best preserves the flavor and properties of red tea.  

Red tea can be drunk both hot and cold, but the preparation is the same in both cases. The amount to add per cup is quite low (a teaspoon of tea per cup is enough). It is best to remove the water just before it starts to boil, add the tea and wait 3 minutes. After that time, strain and serve, if you are going to drink it hot, or cool it.

You  can also add lemon or ginger  to increase its properties.

In any case,  it is always better to consume it alone, since red tea with milk can lose its antioxidant effects, and it has also been proven that if it is mixed with grapefruit juice it can increase the effect of theine, to which some people are sensitive.

Do you like red tea? Have you noticed its properties? Which do you prefer?

To prepare an infusion of red tea, you must put the leaves in water at 85ºC, letting it rest in the teapot or in the cup for three minutes.

You will know if it is well done if there is foam in the glass and if indeed its color is light copper red (the color depends on the duration, which is usually 3 minutes of rest) and the foam is due to the 85ºC of the water where it is infused.

To prepare a Pu Erh infusion are enough: 2-3grs. (one heaped dessert spoon) per cup.

The Pu erh admits a second infusion. It will have less theine content but the flavor is maintained.

The Pu-Erh infusion has an intense rust-red color and an earthy flavor. If it is prepared loaded a little to the coffee. In fact, some people use it as a substitute for coffee.

If you want to avoid the slightly strong initial taste of this tea, you can wash (or blanch) it. To do this, pour very hot water over the leaves and strain after a few seconds. Normally re-infuse the same leaves for 3-4 minutes, in this way the tea has less caffeine.


Red teas are teas that undergo microbial fermentation (not oxidation) that gives them an unmistakable aroma or flavor.

Among the red teas is Pu Erh, which is a red tea from the Yunnan province protected as a “product with geographical indications”. Other red teas from China or from other countries cannot be called Pu Erh.

Although it has been known in China for 1,500 years, it began to be known in Europe in the 1990s due to its color, its unique and characteristic flavor, and its properties.

Its property of helping to eliminate fat and cholesterol stands out due to the lipases that are produced during its fermentation and its low level of theine.

Being a unique type of tea, it has become a benchmark among all tea lovers for its flavor and aroma, consumed in its pure state or combined with other foods such as vanilla or spices.

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