There are various types of Chinese tea on the market right now; therefore, choosing one for yourself might take a long time. You must know what the teas taste like. And you also have to understand your palate to know which drink is perfect for you.
In the world of various Chinese beverages, tea is not simply a beverage but an art form. You must understand the tea, from its origin to its flavors and brewing process. You have to dig deep down to understand the beauty of this delicacy.
Since you’re here today, you must be very serious about beginning your tea journey. Let’s not waste any more time and get into the meat of today’s topic. I will show you some of the best tea variants that can be a starting point.
- White Tea (Bai Cha)
- Black Tea (Hong Cha)
- Green Tea (Lu Cha)
- Oolong Tea (Wu Long Cha)
- Other Amazing Tea Variants In China
- How You Can Recreate Delightful Tea Recipes
- Tea Is A Wonderful Concoction To Loosen Yourself.
White Tea (Bai Cha)
In this section, I introduce you to a somewhat common type of tea called Bai Cha, or white tea. The name comes from the color of the drink, which is almost colorless. The popularity of white tea has been spreading outside of China.
|Bai Mudan (white peony)||Fujian province (Zhenghe, Fuding)||The taste is fruity alongside delicate fragrance.||It takes 2-3 minutes.|
|Baihao Yinzhen (silver needle)||Fujian province (Fuding)||The flavor is vegetal, light with a hint of hay.||It takes 5 minutes.|
1. Bai Mudan Tea
Bai Mudan is a type of tea that you can find in the southeastern part of China, particularly in the province known as Fujian. An interesting fact about Bai Mudan is that the tea shares the same name as a mythical character from the novel “Journey to the East ” (Dong You Ji).
The core of Bai Mudan is from the “Camellia Sinensis” plant, which is also the basis of other kinds of teas in China. In Fujian, there are several different cultivars (short for cultivated varieties) of Bai Mudan called Dai Bai based on the specific conditions.
For example, the Fuding Dai Bai is usually available on the eastern side of Fujian, while the Zhenghe Dai Bai takes most of the northern side. The harvesting of Bai Mudan includes drying the tea leaves before packing them.
To brew a cup of Bai Mudan, you need to get water to around 158°F to 176°F to let the flavors seep out. The tea has a very fruit essence. The delicate nature of the fragrance also adds a layer to the complexity of the taste.
2. Baihao Yinzhen Tea
This is the type of tea you usually see included in the list of the most popular tea variants worldwide. Many people would say that Baihao Yinzhen, or silver needle tea, might be one of the most expensive in the market today.
The center of production for silver needle tea is also in Fujian province of China. One of the possible origins of this tea occurred during the Qing dynasty (17th – 20th century A.D) when the city of Fuding managed to cultivate the plant.
The silver needle tea also comes from the “Camellia Sinensis” plant, which gives the drink a nice vegetal, light, and delightful fragrance. Some of the more expert tea drinkers would say that the essence of Baihao Yinzheng is like fresh-cut hay.
Brewing tea is all about keeping the water temperature at a stable level. For Baihao Yinzheng, the liquid has to be around 167°F to 176°F.
This tutorial will show you how to brew a cup of Baihao Yinzhen tea.
Black Tea (Hong Cha)
While white tea represents class and prestige, black tea takes a more “common man” approach to make it more accessible to everyone. Black tea is currently one of the most widely available tea variants on the market today.
|Lapsang Souchong||Fujian (Wuyi Mountains)||There is a lingering smoky, pine resin-like flavor. The tea is also not too bitter.||It takes 3-5 minutes.|
|Keemun||Anhui (Qimen county)||Drupe fruit-like fragrance with a bit of smokiness.||The tea takes 3 minutes to steep.|
3. Lapsang Souchong Tea
In this entry, let me introduce you to a type of black tea called Lapsang Souchong, which means “coarse tea leaves from the mountain.” And just like how the name describes, the texture of Lapsang Souchong is quite rough to the touch.
In 1646, during the reign of the Qing dynasty, the people living in the Wuyi Mountains (Fujian province) managed to create Lapsang Souchong from the “Camellia Sinensis” plant. The primary cultivar for this tea is the Bohea variant.
Turning Lapsang Souchong into dried tea almost stays the same as other variants. Farmers have to wait until the leaves wilt before picking them, and they have to bake the leaves to dry them out.
However, the production of Lapsang Souchong has another extra step: smoking. The procedure would infuse the drink with a pleasant smokiness that captures your taste buds instantly.
Brewing a good cup of Lapsang Souchong will improve your afternoon.
4. Keemun Tea
While most of the teas above come from Fujian province, another province in China has a vibrant tea culture. Anhui lies on the eastern side of China, and it’s the place where you can find a lot of Keemun tea cultivars.
The name of this tea is a reference to its place of origin, Qimen County. The tea first made itself known in the Chinese market during the 1870s. The production region lies between the Yangtze River basin and Yellow Mountains.
While most people know only Keemun tea as a general classification, there are several sub-categories of Keemun. For example, there is a variant called Keemun Hao Feng, which has an earlier harvest time than the standard Keemun tea.
There is another Keemun type called Keemun Hao Ya. Keemun has a delightful fragrance, similar to longan and lychee (which happen to be famous Chinese fruits as well). The tea also features a hint of smokiness that can overwhelm your mind.
Keemun tea is a spectacular delicacy from the Anhui province of China.
Green Tea (Lu Cha)
Green tea is popular not only in China but also in many neighboring countries. For example, you can’t go through the best drinks from Japan without encountering several forms of green tea.
Before the introduction of black tea, green tea was the dominant beverage throughout the history of China. In this section, I want to show some excellent products you can find in the country.
|Longjing||Zhejiang province||The tea has a mellow and sweet scent.||The drink takes 2-3 minutes to brew.|
|Xinyang Maojian||Henan province (Xinyang city)||The spring tea has a lovely floral fragrance, while the summer tea is bitter.||This tea needs 2-3 minutes.|
|Biluochun||Jiangsu province (Lake Tai)||The tea has an intense aroma alongside a sweeter aftertaste.||You only need to brew for a minute.|
5. Longjing Tea
The specialty, also known as Dragon Well tea in English, is a delicacy from the Zhejiang province. Due to its popularity across the country, people often refer to Longjing as one of the most popular teas in China.
Not only popular with the masses, but Longjing was also an imperial drink when the Qing dynasty was at its peak. When Emperor Qianlong of Qing went to Hu Gong Temple, the people there served him Longjing tea.
The Emperor was so impressed with the tea flavors that he granted the tea plants imperial status. And it is understandable why the Emperor did that since the tea has a charming and mellow essence.
Although the tea originates from the Zhejiang province, the production of the tea leaves also takes place in other areas like Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan.
When brewing Longjing tea, I highly advise you to pick the loose tea leaves instead of tea bags since the leaves will have a much better mouth feel. The appropriate temperature for this tea is around 175°F.
Longjing may be one of the best green teas to come out of China.
6. Xinyang Maojian
Xinyang Maojian, or Yu Maofeng, is another popular green tea variant from China. The place of origin for the tea is in the Henan province, specifically the city of Xinyang. However, you can also see the tea produced in other regions like Xinhe, Pingqiao, and Luoshan.
To correctly plant Xinyang Maojian tea, you must seek out mild climates. Most Xinyang Maojian plantations are always in mountainous regions, where the weathers are much more distinguishable. The addition of trees, clouds, and rainfalls keeps the soil healthy.
Due to the advantage in soil conditions, many people rate Xinyang Maojian tea highly. The most notable thing about the delicacy is its taste. The flavor of Xiyang Maojin is akin to that of a flower. The tea leaves are small, and it has a yellow-greenish color.
When looking for Xinyang tea, you should keep in mind that this tea can taste different based on the harvest seasons. With spring tea, this is the best version with the highest quality. On the other hand, summer tea is suitable for those who like bitterness.
Xinyang Maojian can be a good drink if you know how to brew it.
Aside from the last two prominent green tea variants in China, there is another underrated option called Biluochun. The tea name means “green snail spring” in Chinese due to its appearance resembling that of the meat of a snail.
This tea specialty comes from the eastern side of China, mainly the Jiangsu province. According to a legend, a tea picker accidentally discovered the fantastic fragrance when she warmed the leaves inside the breasts.
Like most green tea variants, Biluochun has multiple classifications to distinguish high-quality tea from mid-range products. The separation includes Supreme, Supreme I, Grade I, Grade II, etc. The best ones always come from Dong Shan and Xi Shan regions.
Biluochun is quite simple to brew; you must steep the leaves in 176ºF water. The temperature should never be too high since it will ruin the delicateness of the leaves. Biluochun should always have an intense essence alongside a sweet aftertaste.
Oolong Tea (Wu Long Cha)
I’m going to show you another popular tea variant that might be familiar to many people. Along with savory Chinese foods, it has gained global recognition as one of the best things about this Asian country’s cuisine.
Without further ado, let’s learn about oolong tea (or “dark dragon” tea in English). It has a long history with Chinese tea tradition. Most of the production concentrates in the Fujian province.
|Tieguanyin||Fujian province (Anxi county)||The flavors depend on the roasting level and time of harvest.||The tea takes 1-2 minutes to brew.|
|Da Hong Pao||Fujian province (Wuyi Mountains)||The tea has an earthy taste with a brown sugar-like undertone.||You only need one minute to brew the tea.|
|Dongfang Meiren||Taiwan (Hsinchu country)||The beverage exudes a honey-like fragrance.||The brewing time is around 5 minutes.|
|Baozhong||China (Fujian province)|
Taiwan (Pinglin district)
|The tea combines the delicate nature of green tea with the intensity of Oolong tea.||The brewing period takes 2-3 minutes.|
The first entry I want to show you is this specialty called Tieguanyin, originating from Anxi, Fujian province. The name of this tea is a reference to Guanyin (or the Goddess of Mercy) in Chinese Buddhist mythology.
There are legends regarding the discovery of Tieguanyin. The first legend, called Wei, told of a farmer who decided to clean up a temple of Guanyin. When he went to sleep, the Goddess appeared to him in a dream and told him to come back to collect the leaves.
The second legend said that a scholar named Wang discovered the Tieguanyin leaves under the Quanyin rock. When Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty decided to visit, he served tea to the Emperor. The Emperor was impressed that he named the tea Guanyin.
Tieguanyin tea comes in different varieties based on harvest times and roasting levels. For example, jade Tieguanyin has a greenish hue and a curled-up appearance. Another type is the autumn Tieguanyin, which has a pretty strong aroma.
This is an introduction to Anxi Oolong tea, also known as Tieguanyin.
9. Da Hong Pao
When you get a chance to visit China, there are two types of Oolong tea that you have to try. The first is the above Tieguanyin; the second is this entry called Da Hong Pao. A remarkable thing about Da Hong Pao is that it comes from the same place as Lapsang Souchong.
Da Hong Pao and Lapsang originate from the Wuyi Mountains on the northern side of Fujian province. During the reign of the Song dynasty (10th – 13th century A.D), this region was a vital tea supplier to the imperial court.
The harvest season of Da Hong Pao takes place between May and June. Farmers will wait for the tea leaves to wither before picking them. The rest of the procedures include stir-frying and baking to dry the leaves.
The dried tea has a lovely brownish hue, and the leaves look slightly twisted. When you brew the drink, the color turns orange and yellow. Plus, Da Hong Pao is a good friend for humans with various health benefits like improving blood circulation and helping you lose weight.
Da Hong Pao is another type of Oolong tea from the Wuyi region.
10. Dongfang Meiren
In this section, I want to introduce you to the Dongfan Meiren, one of the typical Oolong teas you will find on the market today. The name of the tea translates to “eastern beauty” in English. However, some people also refer to the tea as “white-tip Oolong.”
Although the tea’s central production location is in the Hsinchu country of Taiwan, the tea is receiving a lot of attention in China and worldwide due to its extensive flavors. Many people liken the taste of Doufang Meiren to that of honey.
The history of tea stretches back to the 19th century, when this type of Oolong first arrived in the West thanks to the effort of John Dodd, a tea merchant.
Just like the tea variants above, the base of Dongfang Meiren is still Camellia Sinensis. However, instead of requiring a mild climate, the production has to occur in warmer areas due to tea jassid, a type of insect in Taiwan.
Unlike the other Oolong tea entries you see above, Baozong is a variant grown in China (specifically Fujian) and Taiwan (Pinglin district). The name of the tea means “the wrapped kind,” which references the traditional way of making the tea.
Since Baozhong is a type of oxidized tea, the hue of the tea is pretty dark with a greenish tint. Due to that reason, sometimes people also refer to Baozhong as green tea, although a majority of people still think of it as Oolong.
When it comes to the taste of Baozhong, this tea is unique since it combines the lightness of green tea with a more intense essence of Oolong tea. The tea has a distinctive floral smell that just sucks you in immediately.
Aside from the taste, Baozhong tea also contains a wide variety of nutrients to help your health, like amino acids, catechins, and chlorophyll. The substances will improve your immune system and the quality of your bones.
Other Amazing Tea Variants In China
When you go deeper into the world of tea, you will discover that tea does not simply come from drying the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. These two entries below show you that tea-making creativity can take you to a new horizon.
|Pu Erh||Yunnan province||They can range from Ginseng, minty, or herbal.||The leaves will steep for 5 minutes to release flavors.|
|Ginger Tea||Southeast, East, and South Asia||The taste can be herbal, with a bit of grassiness on the side.||The steeping time is around one hour.|
12. Pu Erh
I’m sure that many people have never heard of this type of tea before since Pu Erh is rather hard to find if you’re not in China. But the rise of the tea-drinking trend is increasing the reputation of Pu Erh to a worldwide base.
The fermented dark tea (Heicha) is not a new delicacy in China since it has existed in many ethnic groups of southwest China for generations. Pu Erh is the variant exclusive to Yunnan province’s region.
There are two ways farmers in Yunnan produce Pu Erh: Sheng (raw) and Shou (ripe). Everything starts with Maocha, drying the leaves to keep them from going bad.
The next step is to press the leaves into various shapes based on the preference of producers and customers. Finally, the fermentation will take place with the help of molds, bacteria, and yeast.
Pu Erh has a distinct feature in that the fragrance will depend on the storage condition as well as the wetness of the tea. Overall, the flavors can range from Ginseng to minty and fruity.
This introduces you to a few different Pu Erh tea variants.
13. Ginger Tea
Technically speaking, the drink did not come from China because many Asian countries have been making ginger tea for ages. However, the popularity of ginger is so widespread in China, so I think it qualifies as a type of Chinese tea.
Let me tell you a bit about the origin of ginger; it originated in Maritime Southeast Asia, a region consisting of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The Austronesian people’s efforts primarily contributed to ginger domestication and cultivation.
China’s first recorded evidence of ginger occurred during the Warring States period (5th – 3rd century B.C). During the Tang dynasty (7th – 10th century A.D), people would add ginger to keep the bitterness of tea more manageable.
One of the biggest reasons ginger tea is getting more popular is because the beverage contains many good health benefits. Drinking ginger tea can help you reduce nausea, improve your heart health, and manage weight.
How You Can Recreate Delightful Tea Recipes
Do you want a genuine Chinese experience? Learning how to prepare tasty Chinese recipes alone isn’t enough! Discovering various sorts of tea is fun, but it’s time to put that knowledge to the test.
Total time: 15 minutes
When you’re suffering from the miserable temperature of the winter, there’s nothing better than a hot glass of cinnamon milk tea to warm your body up. In this case, you have to try out this cinnamon milk tea recipe.
The base of this delicacy is black tea, which brings a smoky and earthy note to the overall flavor of the drink. Aside from the black tea, you also have the addition of cinnamon, which is also quite fragrant thanks to its sweet essence.
The preparation is relatively easy since the only complicated step is heating water and cinnamon together. When boiling the water, take it off the heat and add the black tea. Finally, you pour in the heated milk to tie up the taste with a bit of creaminess.
Total time: 15 minutes
If the taste of cinnamon can be uncomfortable for someone’s taste buds, then I have a replacement recipe perfect for them. The milk tea specialty is a fantastic cold drink that will efficiently cool you off in the summer.
The base for the tea is still black tea with its wonderful nutty and fruit essence. The flavors go well with the sweetness of strawberry. Including fatty and creamy milk will push this drink to a new dimension.
The recipe requires three parts, strawberry compote (similar to jam), strawberry milk, and black tea. To make the compote, mix strawberries in a heated pan with sugar until the sugar dissolves. As for the milk, you blend strawberries and milk until they become smooth.
The final step is to assemble the drink. First, add the compote in a glass alongside boba pearls. Then, add ice and the two liquid ingredients before mixing everything.
Strawberry milk tea offers an excellent drink to enjoy in the summer.
Total time: 30 minutes
Summer tea-based drinks are aplenty since the healing nature of tea can make the disgusting summer heat go away. In this section, I introduce you to a favorite of mine called Oolong peach iced tea.
While the fragrance of Oolong, as you have seen above, can be intense on its own, the fusion of Oolong with a floral aroma of peach can lessen the intensity. You can also feel the sweet aftertaste lingering inside your tastebuds to improve the experience.
Instead of using a whole peach, you can make a simple peach-flavored syrup. This step will ensure that the drink stays as smooth as possible. You just have to combine peach slices with water and maple syrup. Boil until the peaches turn soft and mashable.
In the meantime, brew your tea for 5 minutes. You can pass the peach mixture through a strainer to extract the liquid when your tea is steeping. The final step is to combine the peach syrup with Oolong tea and ice cubes. And that’s it; your drink is ready to serve.
Total time: 10 minutes
There are times when you just want to sit down and enjoy the moment. And at times like that, there’s no better companion than a simple cup of ginger tea. The drink’s healing nature will make your muddled mind clear up much more.
Although this specialty is not a type of medicine, ginger tea can help you cure many ailments like stomachs, coughing, or sniffles. The spicy aroma and the earthy taste can settle your body to a more relaxed state.
The process of recreating this ginger tea doesn’t take too much effort. All you have to do is grate the ginger and squeeze the lemon juice. Next, you steep the green tea bags in hot water and cinnamon sticks. The final step is to mix the tea with ginger and lemon juice.
This is another fantastic way to make ginger tea.
Tea Is A Wonderful Concoction To Loosen Yourself.
I think tea is possibly one of the most important creations that China has gifted the world. From the fantastic flavors to the health benefits that tea brings, this is the beverage many people should try out once in their life.
If you have any questions regarding today’s topic, feel free to comment below, and I will answer them. And make sure to like the article and share it on your social media. Thank you for reading through another post, and have a relaxing day.