Types of Chinese tea
Since China has a long history of tea planting, extensive tea areas, various natural conditions, numerous varieties of tea trees and also different methods of tea collecting and processing, it has produced thousands of tea products. Through long-term practice, people have created and adopted diverse processing and making technologies for developing series of tea. These come from non-fermented, half-fermented and fully-fermented teas, which gradually formed the six major types of tea in traditional Chinese concept, which are green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea, yellow tea and dark tea. Furthermore, scented tea and brick tea are famous teas as well.
Green tea is non-fermented. Its leaves and tea soup are green. Famous green tea in China includes West Lake Longjing Tea,Dongting Biluochun tea, XinYang fresh tea made of delicate leaf bud, etc.
Black tea is fermented. Its leaves and tea soup are red. Famous black tea in China includes Qimen black tea from Anhui, Zhenjiang black tea from Yunnan and Xuanhong black tea from Hubei, etc.
Oolong tea is half-fermented. The character of this type is the leaves showing green in the centre and red at the edge, it is commonly called green leaves with red edging. It is mainly produced in Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan, etc. Generally, it is named in accordance with tea trees of producing areas, e.g. Tie Guan Yin, Da Hong Pao Tea and Oolong, etc. It is mellow as black tea but bitter and stronger than ordinary black tea while fresh as green tea but without the bitterness of ordinary green tea. It keeps strong and long-lasting flavor even after drinking, and has the effects such as refreshing oneself, promoting digestion, curing dysentery, cooling down the summer heat and sobering up, etc.
White tea is non-fermented and needs no rolling. It has natural flavor and can be divided into large white, narcissus white and mountain white, etc. Among them, the most famous and precious one is white tip silver needle whose features are: coating with white fuzz all around and with shining silver glosss, tea soup is slightly yellow and mellow. The main producing areas are Fuding County and Zhenghe County from Fujian Province.
Dark tea belongs to post-fermented tea, which is a special tea from China with a long production history. Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangxi etc. are focused on producing pressed tea and selling to border areas. Main types of dark tea are Hunan dark tea, Sichuan brick tea and Yunnan puer tea, etc., among which Yunnan puer tea has great fame for a long time in modern and ancient times in all around the world.
Yellow tea is fermented, whose production process is similar to that of green but has one more stack-cover process. This extra process is the main feature of yellow tea production and also the fundamental distinction with green tea. Typical types are Mengding yellow tea and Huoshan yellow tea.
Other famous teas
Scented tea. Scented tea is one of the made-up green tea, which is made by putting fragrant flowers into tea embryos with scenting process. The most commonly used fragrant flowers are jasmine, chloranthus, petitgrain, rose and pomelo flower, etc. The main producing areas are Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Sichuan. Jasmine tea from Suzhou is famous among scented tea while jasmine tea from Fujian belongs to tea with strong flavor, which has mellow tea soup, strong scent, yellow and green soup and long-lasting freshness.
Brick tea. Brick tea belongs to pressed tea. It is made by pressing steamed raw tea such as green tea, scented tea and old green tea in brick-shaped moulds. It is mainly produced in Yunnan, Sichuan, Hunan and Hubei, etc. Brick tea is also referred to as border area tea, which is mainly sold to border areas and pasturing areas, etc.