Black tea is called “红茶” (hóngchá) in Chinese because of the color of the brewed tea. When black tea is brewed, it produces a dark reddish-brown color, which is why it is called “红茶” (hóngchá) in Chinese, which literally translates to "red tea". The term “black tea” is more commonly used in Western countries, while “红茶” (hóngchá) is the preferred term in China and other East Asian countries.
Black tea is also called “红茶” (hóngchá) in Chinese because of the way it is processed. Black tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are withered, rolled, oxidized, and then dried. During the oxidation process, the leaves turn from green to a dark brown or black color, which gives the tea its characteristic flavor and aroma. The Chinese term “红茶” (hóngchá) can also be translated as "fully fermented tea", which refers to the level of oxidation that the tea leaves undergo during processing. In contrast, green tea is not oxidized, and oolong tea is partially oxidized, which gives them different flavors and colors.