Did you know tea is the second most popular global beverage next to water?
It is, and it all started in China! Chinese tea slightly differs from other teas as it has its own distinct method, appearance, and flavor.
A few facts about Chinese tea
- Chinese tea is incredibly unique as it's both a beverage and a natural healing aid. Chinese tea, was first given to sick people to serve as a form of medicine! In particular, it was believed that tea provided additional heat and helped restore eyesight.
- Later on, it evolved in Chinese culture as a tasty beverage, but today you can still find it being used by many as a medicine. This is common, especially in North China, where white tea is often given to children with measles.
- The wild tea trees in China are so ancient that you can trace their origins back to 3000 years ago and are incredibly old! Due to this old age, you can find Chinese tea in many flavors at various prices.
What is Chinese tea?
Chinese tea is a beverage made out of tea from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plants. In addition to this, there are many types of herbal tea popular in China, but the main tea comes from these plants.
From this plant, there are two types of Chinese tea known as Camellia sinensis var. Sinensis and Camellia sinensis var. Assamica. It's brewed by hot water being poured over the freshly cut tea leaves of the harvested plant, and it's left to absorb for some time before drinking.
Regions of growing
If you're looking to get tea in China, you can usually find it in the South as the Northern areas of China tend to be too cold for tea to grow. In the South, you can find it in the following four regions:
South West of China
The Southwest of China has Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, and Southeastern areas of Tibet that grow tea. One of the main reasons tea grows here is the stable and moderate climate. Black tea, green tea, yellow tea, and flower tea are mainly produced in this area. It's so popular that they're commonly sold over the border to neighboring regions and countries.
Other regions in South of China
Taiwan, Fujian, Guangxi, and Guangdong regions all produce a lot of tea due to the fertile soil they have on their lands. Most of the teas that derive from this area have a medium to high oxidization.
South of Yangtze River
Across all of China, this area is the most central and has a large amount of precipitation. Most tea comes from Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, and southern parts of Jiangsu, Hubei, and Anhui. While there is a range of teas from this region, the most popular is green tea.
North of Yangtze River
In comparison to other tea growing regions, this area has the lowest temperature and precipitation in China. Because of this, it only produces small leaf tea trees. Mainly tea is grown in Shandong, Shaanxi, Gansu, Henan, and the northern areas of Jiangsu, Anhui, and Hubei.
Types of every kind of tea
If you're looking to drink Chinese tea, then you will be spoilt for choice. There is a range of different teas available in different strengths, flavors, and cuddles, which are:
This lightly processed tea is believed to be over thousands of years old; however, modern versions are only 300 years old. This tea originates from the Fujian province, and still today, the best types of white teas come from there. When drunk, this tea provides a light and fruity flavor. Common types of white tea are: Yue Guang Bai or White Moonlight, Bai Mudan or White Peon, Shou Mei or Longevity Eyebro, Bai Hao Yin Zhen or Silver Needle.
Out of all the Chinese teas that exist, yellow tea tends to be the rarest. The unique thing about yellow tea, otherwise known as Huang cha, is fermented and has a similar taste to green tea. What makes it different is that it does not have a sharp green appearance.
While it can be produced outside of China, genuine yellow tea is rarely available, especially the rare versions. This is because true yellow tea derives from the Anhui province. The most popular forms of yellow tea are: Huoshan Huangyan, Junshan Jin Zhen, Huoshan Huang Da.
This is an unoxidized type of tea that is produced from pan firing. Usually, the tea leaves will be green, yellow, or grey. The flavor they give off is slightly nutty and strong. It's thought that this tea is over 1500 years old and comes from several parts of China. The common green teas you can find are: Liu'an Guardian, Huangshan ,Xihu Longjing, Xinyang Maojian, Dongting Biluochun.
Oolong tea is also known as Wulong cha in Chinese, which translates to black dragon tea. This is a semi-oxidized form of tea and is renowned for its aroma, floral, fruity, fresh, and green note flavors. Oolong tea originates from Fujian; however, it's commonly found in the Guangdong province. This tea is often split into two types one has semi-balled shaped leaves, and the other has twisted leaves. The most popular forms of Oolong are: Qi Lan, Mi Lan Dancong, Anxi Tieguanyin, Da Hong Pao, Qi Lan, Tieluohan/
Black tea is a type of tea that can look black or red. It's completely oxidized and is the most popular tea in the world today. Black teas in China mainly come from the Sinensis and assamica plants. Regarding its flavor, it's usually malty, has strong chocolate notes, smokiness, and has a rich fruit flavor. The popular types of black teas are: Yingdehong Dianhong, Qimen from Anhui, Tanyang Gong, Lapsang Souchong.
Dark tea tends to be an old and fermented tea. The fermentation process can be natural or accelerated. The type of tea made by fermentation is ripe and provides a mellow flavor. On the contrary, raw dark tea has a natural green color and develops a stronger color and flavor over time. The most common types of dark tea are: Liu An, Pu'erh, Liu Bao, Fu Zhuan.
What to look for in a Chinese tea?
If you're a newbie to buying Chinese tea, you should consider the following before buying:
Type of tea
Before you begin buying any Chinese tea, you should first think about what type of tea piqued your interest. Then once you have an idea, look for other areas to know about this type of tea and expand your knowledge from there.
There are so many ventures claiming they sell Chinese tea; it can be a bit difficult to trust. To find a reputable vendor ask a person or company who has a lot of knowledge about Chinese tea, who will advise you accordingly. You might also want to check out the reviews of that company before you make an informed decision. When selecting a vendor, you will want to make sure they're transparent about their sourcing processes and how they're growing as a company.
Another major factor in assessing is the price of tea. As soon as you acquire knowledge about Chinese teas, you'll realize there's a range of prices at both ends of the spectrum, some being a few dollars up to 1000s of dollars. To begin with, though, you won't want to spend large amounts of money on tea until you have knowledge.
Best Chinese tea for you
Chinese tea is a traditional drink with many healing properties and soothing agents. Most Chinese tea tends to derive from the South of China due to its optimal climate for growth.
If you're looking to buy Chinese tea, make sure you take your time to sample the different kinds to know which flavor suits you. When buying, look at the type of tea, transparency of the vendor, and price before buying. Furthermore, I hope this article was helpful to you and if you need any more advice check out our website.
What kind of tea is served in Chinese restaurants?
Out of the many Chinese tea types that exist, Oolong tea tends to be the most popular one served in Chinese restaurants. These teas are a lot darker with a large amount of roast. On the contrary, it's rare you'll find a greener oolong they're rarely served.
How to make Chinese tea?
It's really easy to make Chinese tea; all you need to do is put the tea leaves in the teapot. Then boil hot water over the tea leaves and let it brew for 2-3 minutes. Following this, use the strainer and pour the tea into the cup.
Why do Chinese people drink tea after a meal?
The Chinese tend to drink tea after a meal as it helps wash down their food and keeps their throat clear. Plus, the tea helps ease excess mucus accumulated in their throw and breaks down food easily. This also helps speed up the rate of digestion.
What is the best Chinese tea for weight loss?
The best Chinese tea for weight loss tends to be Oolong tea as it has tannin inside of it. This ingredient helps reduce your appetite and decomposes lipids quickly, helping you lose fat.
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