Bohea (Chinese: 武 夷 茶; pinyin: wǔyí chá) is a kind of oolong, or, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, black tea generally. The word is derived from the Wuyi Mountains in northern Fujian, China. It is found in Pope's line, "So past her time 'twixt reading and bohea.", or from Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1896 book 'A Lady Of Quality': "One may be sure that...many dishes of Bohea were drunk." In Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Braddon, published in 1862, there is a famous scene in which Lady Audley serves tea: "The floating mists from the boiling liquid in which she infuses the soothing herbs; whose secrets are known to her alone, envelope her in a cloud of scented vapor, through which she seems a social fairy, weaving potent spells with Gunpowder and Bohea."
In later times the name 'bohea' has been applied to an inferior quality of tea grown late in the season. Wuyi oolong is characteristically strip shaped and heavily oxidized. The dried leaf is almost black in colour.
"The sorts commonly known to Europeans are these, Bohea, 武夷茶, now called 大茶 Ta-cha; ...; 4th, Pekoe, 白毫, Pih-haou; ..."
- Huang, Hsing-Tsung (2000), Science and civilisation in China: Biology and biological technology. Part 5. Fermentations and food science / by H.T. Huang, Volume 6, Cambridge University Press, p. 541, ISBN 978-0-521-65270-4
- Rev. Robert Morrison, A dictionary of the Chinese language, vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 3-4. The same text is reproduced in the 1865 reprint.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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