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The Qinling Mountain Tea Series - Part 4: 6 Types of Chinese Teas

6 Types of Chinese Teas: Representatives and Characteristics

1. How Many Types of Tea Are There in China?

China is renowned for its rich tea culture and diverse range of teas. But just how many types of tea are there in China? While there is no exact statistical number, according to China's national standard, GB/T 30766-2014 <Classification of tea>, tea is divided into 6 types of Chinese Tea main categories: green tea, black tea, yellow tea, white tea, oolong tea, dark tea, and reprocessed tea(For example, processed flower tea, herbal tea, and other plant-based teas, etc. Since we are discussing traditional Chinese tea, we will not discuss this classification). Each category has numerous subcategories based on origin, picking season, and processing techniques. Some academic papers have even concluded that there are over 3,000 different types of tea!

2. What are the 6 Types of Chinese Teas?

China's national standard classifies tea into seven main categories:

  • Green Tea: Green tea is China's most widely consumed tea. It is known for its fresh, grassy flavor and high antioxidant content.
  • Black Tea: Black tea, also known as red tea in China, undergoes a complete oxidation process, resulting in a robust flavor and dark color.
  • Yellow Tea: Yellow tea is a rare and delicate tea with a unique processing method, giving it a mellow and slightly sweet taste.
  • White Tea: White tea is the least processed tea, made from young tea leaves and buds. It has a subtle and delicate flavor.
  • Oolong Tea: Oolong tea is partially oxidized, resulting in various flavors and aromas. It can vary from light and floral to dark and roasted.
  • Dark Tea: Dark tea, also known as fermented tea, undergoes a post-fermentation process, resulting in a rich and earthy flavor.

3. What Contributes to the Variety of Teas?

The wide variety of teas in China can be attributed to several factors:

  • Origin: Different regions in China have unique tea-growing conditions, contributing to the diversity of flavors and characteristics of teas.
  • Picking Season: The time of year when tea leaves are harvested can significantly impact the flavor and aroma of the tea. Spring, summer, and autumn teas each have their distinct qualities.
  • Processing Techniques: The way tea leaves are processed, including methods such as withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying, dramatically influences the final taste and appearance of the tea.

With such a vast array of teas, tea lovers can explore the world of Chinese tea and discover their favorites. Whether you prefer the delicate flavors of green tea, the boldness of black tea, or the complexity of oolong tea, there is a tea to suit every palate. So why not embark on a tea-tasting journey and experience the rich tapestry of Chinese tea culture?

4. What are the representative of 6 Types Chinese Teas?

To facilitate the search for information related to Chinese tea, we have selected representative types of tea from the six major categories and compiled a table that includes the Chinese name, pinyin name, English name, principal place of origin, and main characteristics of each tea. Tea is a vast subject, and there may be inaccuracies and errors, so please feel free to correct us.

4.1 Green Tea: The Classic and Refreshing Option

Green tea, known as 绿茶 (lǜchá) in Chinese, is one of the most popular types of tea worldwide. It is mainly produced in China and is known for its refreshing taste and numerous health benefits. Green tea is rich in antioxidants, which can help boost metabolism and improve overall well-being. Some well-known varieties include Longjing tea, Biluochun tea, and Maojian tea.

In Chinese

In English

In Pinyin Origin Characteristics
龙井茶 Longjing Tea Lóng Jǐng Chá Zhejiang Nutty, chestnut aroma, flat-shaped leaves
碧螺春 Biluochun Tea Bì Luó Chūn Chá Jiangsu Floral, fruity, curly-shaped leaves
太平猴魁 Taiping Houkui Tài Píng Hóu Kuí Anhui Large, flat leaves, floral aroma
信阳毛尖 Xinyang Maojian Xìn Yáng Máo Jiān Henan Slender, I pointed leaves, fresh aroma
汉中仙毫 Hanzhong Fairy Buds Hàn Zhōng Xiān Háo Shaanxi Mellow, sweet, unique regional character.

Our Green Tea Collection

4.2 Black Tea: The Bold and Full-Bodied Choice

Black tea, or 红茶 (hóngchá) in Chinese, is a fully fermented tea with a robust flavor. It is often enjoyed with milk or sugar and is a popular breakfast or afternoon tea choice. Black tea is known for its bold and full-bodied taste, as well as its potential health benefits, such as improving heart health and promoting digestion. Famous black teas include Keemun tea, Dianhong tea, and Lapsang Souchong tea.

In Chinese

In English

In Pinyin Origin Characteristics
金骏眉 Jin Jun Mei Tea Jīn Jùn Méi Chá Fujian Honey-sweet, golden tips, rich flavor
武夷红茶 Wuyi Hongcha Wǔ Yí Hóng Chá Fujian Smoky, earthy, mineral notes
祁门红茶 Qimen Hongcha Qí Mén Hóng Chá Anhui Malty, fruity, with a hint of chocolate
滇红 Xinyang Maojian Xìn Yáng Máo Jiān Henan Malty, honeyed, golden tips
陕南红茶 Shaannan Black Tea Shǎn Nán Hóng Chá Shaanxi Rich, sweet, with unique regional characteristics

Our Black Tea Collection

4.3 Oolong Tea: The Balanced and Aromatic Tea

Oolong tea, known as 乌龙茶 (wūlóngchá) in Chinese, is a partially fermented tea with a unique taste and aroma. It falls between green and black tea in terms of oxidation level, resulting in a balanced flavor profile. Oolong tea is often praised for its floral and fruity notes andpotential weight management benefits. Notable oolong teas include Tieguanyin tea, Da Hong Pao tea, and Oriental Beauty tea.

In Chinese

In English

In Pinyin Origin Characteristics
武夷岩茶 Wuyi Rock Tea Wǔ Yí Yán Chá Fujian Mineral, roasted, unique rock essence
台湾高山茶 Taiwanese High Mountain Tea Tái Wān Gāo Shān Chá Taiwan Floral, creamy, grown at high elevations
漳平水仙 Zhangping Narcissus Zhāng Píng Shuǐ Xiān Fujian Floral, creamy, with narcissus aroma
安溪铁观音 Anxi Tie Guan Yin Ān Xī Tiě Guān Yīn Anhui Floral, orchid aroma, balanced flavor

Our Oolong Tea Collection

4.4 White Tea: The Delicate and Subtle Option

White tea, or 白茶 (báichá) in Chinese, is the least processed type of tea, making it the most delicate and subtle in flavor. It is made from young tea leaves and buds, which are carefully harvested and dried. White tea is known for its light and refreshing taste, as well as its potential antioxidant properties. Well-known white teas include Baihao Yinzhen tea, Shou Mei tea, and Gong Mei tea.

In Chinese

In English

In Pinyin Origin Characteristics
白毫银针 White Hair Silver Needle Bái Háo Yín Zhēn Fujian Silvery buds, sweet, delicate flavor
白牡丹 White Peony Bái Mǔ Dān Chá Fujian White peony, mild, fruity notes
寿眉 Longevity Eyebrow Shòu Méi Chá Fujian Sweet, fruity, larger leaves

Our White Tea Collection

4.5 Yellow Tea: The Rare and Mellow Tea

Yellow Tea from China-orientaleaf

Yellow tea, known as 黄茶 (huángchá) in Chinese, is a rare and unique type of tea that undergoes a particular processing method. It has a mellow and smooth taste with a slight hint of sweetness. Yellow tea is often praised for its potential health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and promoting relaxation. Notable yellow teas include Junshan Yinzhen tea, Huoshan Huangya tea, and Mengding Huangya tea.

In Chinese

In English

In Pinyin Origin Characteristics
君山银针 Junshan Silver Needle Jūn Shān Yín Zhēn Hunan Silver needles, delicate, apricot aroma
蒙顶黄芽 Mengding Yellow Bud Méng Dǐng Huáng Yá Sichuan Tender buds, sweet, chestnut notes

Huoshan Yellow Bud

Huò Shān Huáng Yá Anhui Curled leaves, mellow, sweet aftertaste

4.6 Fermented/Dark Tea: The Aged and Complex Tea

Fermented tea, also known as post-fermented tea or dark tea, is a type of tea that has undergone a long, slow fermentation process. This process causes the tea leaves to develop a deep brown or black color, a rich flavor, and several health benefits. Fermented tea is native to China andhas been produced for centuries. It is now also produced in other countries/regions, including Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The fermentation process for fermented tea begins with the leaves being picked from the tea plant. The leaves are then processed in steps, including withering, rolling, and drying. After drying, the leaves are stored in a pile, which can ferment for several months or even years.

During fermentation, the tea leaves undergo several chemical changes. The polyphenols in the leaves break down, forming new compounds that give fermented tea its characteristic flavor and color. These compounds also have several health benefits.

In Chinese

In English

In Pinyin Origin Characteristics
普洱茶 Pu-erh or Puerh Tea Pǔ'ěr Yunnan Earthy, smooth, fermented
安化黑茶 Anhua Dark Tea Ān Huà Hēi Chá Hunan Earthy, mellow, post-fermented

Guangxi Liubao Tea

Guǎng Xī Liù Bǎo Chá Guangxi Smooth, aged, woody notes

Fu Tea or Fuzhuan Tea or Fu Brick Tea

Shǎn Xī Fú Chá Shaanxi Compressed, fermented, with unique molds.

Our Puerh Tea Collection

Our Fuzhuan Tea Collection

By exploring the six major types of Chinese tea, you can discover the diverse flavors and characteristics each type offers. Whether you prefer the refreshing taste of green tea, the boldness of black tea, or the complexity of Dark tea, there is a Chinese tea that suits your palate. Remember, tea is a beverage, a cultural symbol, and a source of well-being. So, please take a moment to savor a cup of Chinese tea and immerse yourself in its rich history and flavors.

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