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Chinese Teas By Class

Probably you are familiar with the Chinese saying, "Firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, and tea are the seven necessities to begin a day." Though tea is last on the list, we can still see how important the tea is for the Chinese.

There are actually thousand of Chinese tea varieties. These are usually classified by procedure, quality, and preparation methods and so on. However, if we will consider tea in terms of quality, there are actually eight classes of Chinese tea. These include green tea, oolong, black, red, white, yellow, flower, and compressed tea.

As the hometown of tea, there are many kinds of tea in China. The following will offer some information about 8 kinds of Chinese tea. When you come to China, you may have a try.
Chinese Green Tea
Green Tea is the most natural of all Chinese tea classes. The process of its picking, natural drying, and then frying briefly is called "killing the green" to get rid of its grassy smell. Fermentation process is skipped. Green Tea has the most medical value and the least caffeine content of all Chinese tea classes. Aroma is medium to high, flavor is light to medium.

Green Tea has the most medical value and the least caffeine content of all Chinese tea classes. Aroma is medium to high, flavor is light to medium.
About 50% of China's teas is Green tea.

A tea called "bird's tongue". Each little cup of this tea consists of hundreds and perhaps thousands of small, tender new shoots. The work put into picking this tea is enormous.

Fresh tea leaves are baked to remove the bitter taste. Quality green tea is picked around Pure Brightness (beginning around April 4-6) and Grain Rain (beginning around April 19-21). The water is clear and the leaves remain green.

The temperature of water should be varied according to the type of green tea. Generally, water temperature of 85 Celsius degree is the best.

Well known green teas include Longjing from the West Lake, Biluochun from Wu County, Suzhuo, Jiangsu Province, Huangshan Maofeng from Mt. Huangshan in Anhui, and Junshan Silver from the Hills of Junshan, Dongting Lake , Hunan Province.

The tonic effect of green tea has long been known. Its radiation-resistance effect makes it a top choice for people who sit before computers for long hours. Since it reportedly helps keep one fit and has a whitening effect on skin color, women prefer it.

Fresh tea is not appropriate for everyone, as some unwholesome substances may not have oxidized because of its certain medical effect.

Chinese Oolong tea
Oolong Tea is half way between green tea and black tea in a sense that it's half- fermented. It's also called "Qing Cha" (grass tea). Typical Oolong Tea leaves are green in the middle and red on the edges as a result of the process to soften tea leaves. The three major oolong growth areas are Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan. Tieguanyin has become the representative of oolong tea although the most precious is Dahongpao (Big red robe), which was once used as a tribute.
Oolong Tea leaves are withered and spread before undergoing a brief fermentation process. Then Oolong Tea is fried, rolled and roasted.
Oolong Tea is the chosen tea for the famous Kung Fu Cha brewing process. It's the serious Chinese tea drinker's tea. Aroma ranges from light to medium. Beginners in Oolong Tea should be careful as even though flavor is only mild to medium, the tea could be very strong.

The best tool for brewing Oolong tea - the YiXing Teapot.

Chinese Black tea
Chinese Black tea produces a full-bodies amber when brewed. Black tea undergoes withering (drying), left to ferment for a long while, and then roasted. Black tea leaves become completely oxidized after processing.

Black tea has a robust taste with a mild aroma. It contains the highest amount of caffeine in Chinese tea classes.

The most famous black teas include Qi Hong, Dian Hong and Ying Hong. Hong means red; black tea is called Hong Cha, red tea, in Chinese.

Qi Hong originates from Qimen, Anhui Province. It has been the favorite black tea among Chinese black tea connoisseurs since it was developed in 1876. By 1939 this type of tea accounted for one-third of black tea consumed in China. Qihong, Darjiling from India and Uva from Sri Lanka are the world's three major types of black tea.

Dian Hong is from Yunnan as Dian is the short name for Yunnan. The area's favorable climate ensures the widespread production of black tea, especially in southern and western areas.

Ying Hong is from Yingde, Guangdong. The British royal family enjoyed its unique sweetness with the flavor of milk.

Chinese Red tea
Red leaves and red tea color, it's characteristic of Red Tea's fermentation process.
There are 3 subclasses of Chinese Red Tea - "Kung Fu Red Tea", "Ted Tea Bits" and "Small Species Red Tea".
Chinese Red Tea has low aroma and medium flavor.
Chinese White tea
White Tea is sometimes considered a subclass of Green Tea. It is only withered and then roasted. It gets its name from the white down on the leaf buds. It has very low caffeine content.
Chinese Yellow tea
White Tea is sometimes considered a subclass of Green Tea. It is only withered and then roasted. It gets its name from the white down on the leaf buds. It has very low caffeine content.
Chinese Flower Tea is an unique class of Chinese tea. It subdivides into Flower Tea and Scented Tea. 
Flower Tea is a simple concept that dried flowers are used, without much processing, to make tea. Scented Tea uses green tea, red tea as base and mix with scent of flowers. There are strict rules about the proportion of flowers to tea. If there are too many flowers, the scent of flowers will dilute that of tea; if too few, the tea is not perfect. Scented tea is sweet, pleasant and delightful to the palate. Fuzhou in Fujian Province and Suzhou in Jiangsu Province have long been famous for jasmine tea
Chinese Flower Tea has light to medium flavor and medium to strong aroma.
Chinese Compressed tea
Most Chinese Compressed Tea uses Black Tea as base tea. It's steamed and compressed into bricks, cakes, columns and other shapes.
Compressed Tea has all the characteristics of Black Tea. It can be stored for years and decades. Aged Compressed Tea has a tamed flavor that Compressed Tea fans would pay huge price for.There are many places in China producing brick tea, including Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Sichuan is the largest producer, while pu erh tea is grown in Yunnan province. Pu erh has come into vogue among white-collar workers in major cities owing to its unique earthy mellowness.

The 10 Most famous Chinese teas

It's not straight forward. Different Chinese tea books and tea drinkers have different lists and THE 10 Most Famous Chinese Teas list doesn't seem to exist. The following Chinese teas are ranked by the frequency they appear on 20 lists from various references.

  Chinese Tea
Chinese Tea Name
out of 
20 references
English Tea Name
Place of Origin
(Province of Origin)
西湖龍井 Long Jing 20/20 Dragon Well Xi Hu (Zhe Jiang)
洞庭碧螺春 Bi Luo Chun 20/20 Spring Snail Tai Hu (Jiang Su)
安溪鐵觀音 Tie Guan Yin 18/20 Iron Goddess An Xi (Fu Jian)
黃山毛峰 Mao Feng 17/20 Fur Peak Huang Shan (An Hui)
君山銀針 Yin Jan 14/20 Silver Needle Jun Shan (Hu Nan)
祁門紅茶 Qi Men Hung 12/20 Qi Men Red Qi Men (An Hui)
武夷大紅袍 Da Hung Pao 11/20 Big Red Robe Wu Yi Shan (Fu Jian)
六安瓜片 Gua Pien 11/20 Mellon Seed Liu An (An Hui)
白毫银针 Bai Hao Yin Jan 10/20 White Fur Silver Needle Fu Ding (Fu Jian)
云南普洱 Pu'er 10/20 Pu'er Si Mao (Yun Nan)

Chinese Tea Culture:

 An Introduction to Chinese Tea  Chinese Tea Culture ,Chinese Tea Ceremony, The Art of Tea  , Chinese Tea,Tea-drinking Customs
Chinese Teas By Class , Origin of Green Tea, Oolong Tea / Wulong Tea, China Black Tea. China Jasmine CHUNG HAO Brick Tea, Chief introduction of Pu'er tea,Bi Luo Chun, Huangshan Mao Feng ,Huo Qing,Tun Lu ,More information about Chinese Tea 
 Chinese Tea Sets ,How To Make Chinese Tea,  How to Brew Kung Fu Tea  ,Introduction to Zisha Teapots  ,
 The tea culture in Sichuan Tea Houses Learn to Infuse Ancient with Modern, Chinese Tea: Gaiwan Brewing ,Tea and a Wedding Other Uses of Tea , Famous Teahouses in Modern Beijing  ,