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- Chinese Tea
- Chinese Tea Culture
- Types of Chinese Tea
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According to the different methods by which tea is processed, the main types of Chinese tea can be divided into green tea, black tea, Wulong tea, white tea, yellow tea, and reprocessed tea.
Green tea, also called unfermented tea, has a history of more than 3,000 years in China and is mainly planted in the central and eastern regions such as the Zhejiang, Anhui, and Jiangxi Provinces. Many high quality tender shoots from tea trees are selected as raw materials, and the traditional techniques of inactivating, twisting, and drying are involved in the whole process. According to the different drying and inactivating techniques, green tea can be subdivided into stir fried green tea (e.g. Longjing tea, Bi Luochun tea, and Jin Mei tea), baked green tea (e.g. Huangshan Maofeng tea), sun withered green tea (e.g. Yunan green tea, Sichuan green tea), and steamed green tea (e.g. Yulu tea). The main characteristic of green tea is its green leaves in clear soup when it is made, which tastes refreshing and fragrant. Overall, green tea is the most produced tea in China.
Mainly planted in the Anhui Province, Fujian Province, and Taiwan, black tea is also called fermented tea, and only tender shoots from tea trees are suitable as raw materials for making it. Black tea is made using a typical technical process which includes wilting, twisting, fermenting, and drying. As the second largest tea category produced in China, black tea can be subdivided into two categories: Gongfu black tea and Smashed black tea. The most well-known brands include Dianhong Black Tea and Yixing Black Tea. The main characteristic of black tea is its red leaves in red soup when it is made.
Also known as blue tea and half-fermented tea, Wulong tea is mainly planted in the Fujian Province, Guangdong Province, and Taiwan. It uniquely blends the delicate fragrance of green tea and the fresh flavor of black tea, earning it the title of “green leaves with a red edge” by the Chinese. Besides, Wulong tea is helpful in decomposing fat, losing weight, and maintaining fitness, so it is considered as a health product in China and Japan. The typical brands of Wulong tea include Wenshan Baozhong Tea, Anxi Tieguanyin Tea, Dongding Wulong Tea, and Wuyi Dahongpao Tea.
A specialty of the Fujian Province, white tea is actually a kind of uncured, unfermented, and fast-dried green tea. As a matter of fact, “white tea” initially got its name from the way that poor men would offer simply boiled water to their guests because there is no tea in their homes, calling it “white tea”. It should also be noted that “white” means simplicity in traditional Chinese culture. Doing this, the poor men saved themselves from some embarrassment while still being considered as hospitable. White tea is relatively lighter both in color and flavor than any other teas, and the most representative brands are Baihao Yinzhen Tea and White Peony Tea. The unique characteristic of white tea lies in its white leaves in yellow soup when it is made.
Yellow Tea is mainly planted in the Hunan Province and is a fermented tea. The technique of producing yellow tea is similar to that in producing green tea, but it is made by heaping the green leaves when they are not yet fully dry so that the color will change into yellow. Yellow tea was used as a term in ancient times to describe the top-level tea served to the emperors because the color yellow was monopolized by the imperial family. The most representative brand is Junshan Silver Needle Tea from Junshan Mountain in the Hunan Province, and the main characteristic of yellow tea lies in its thin yellow leaves in yellow soup with fragrant flavor when it is made.
Reprocessed tea is made from raw materials of the above tea types (green, Wulong, yellow, white, and black tea), and it mainly includes scented, pressed, instant, extracted, fruit, herbal, and health teas where every tea has its own unique flavors and functions. Reprocessed tea is very popular in the northern regions of China, and the most popular scented tea brands are Jasmine Tea, Pearl Orchid Scented Tea, Osmanthus Tea, and Rose Tea; the representative pressed tea brands are Tuo Tea and Liubao Tea.
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