Top Ten Famous Chinese Teas
The article contains description of different types of teas, which are included in the Top Ten Famous Chinese Teas. The history of creation the tea, production technology, main characteristics and beneficial features – this information will help you choosing the right tea for yourself.
Long Jing Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 西湖龙井
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Xi Hu Long Jing
English Translation: West Lake Dragon Well
The name of Long Jing Tea is literally translated as “Dragon Well of West Lake“. This tea origins from the lakeside of West Lake (Xi-hu), Zhejiang Province, China.
Long Jing Tea is one of historical Chinese teas. Producing of Long Jing Tea started around 1,500 years ago. It has been the National Tea (Guo-Cha), and was always selected as a gift for high-ranking foreign visitors.
Since ancient times, Long Jing Tea was highly admired for its absolute perfection in four aspects:
- clear green color
- delicate fragrance
- soft taste
- beautiful appearance
The elegant fragrance is very long-lasting and shining liquor has refreshing, crisp, ripe flavor with sweet aftertaste.
Processing of Long Jing Tea requires high skills and experience because, the tea leaves must go through intensive pan-frying steps manually during the whole process. In a custom-made pan, the leaves many times are stirred by hands with different hand movements using 10 different styles.
Long Jing Tea possesses many beneficial features. Regular drinking of it helps:
- to lose weight because its aromatic compounds can dissolve fat
- to stimulate gastric secretion and assist digestion because of presence Vitamin B1, C and caffeine
- to deter food poisoning
- to prevent cavities
- to fight viruses and infection
Bi Luo Chun Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 洞庭碧螺春
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Dong Ting Bi Luo Chun
English Translation: Green Snail Spring
Bi Luo Chun, also known as Pi Lo Chun, originally grown in the Dong Ting mountain, Jiangsu Province, China. It is famous for its tender form, vegetal fragrance, fruity flavor, beautiful white hairs and early harvesting.
Bi Luo Chun means “Green Snail Spring“. It is called this way because green tea leaves are rolled into a tight spiral, similar to snail shell, and picked up during early spring. Tall fruit trees growing nearby create an unique natural environment for tea plants.
First, they protect tea trees from summer heat and winter snow, give Bi Luo Chun Tea such tender and delicate leaves.
Second, they are the reason of its fruity taste and floral aroma, that is quite unusual for a green tea which normally has herbal taste. Being brewed hairy tea leaves open to make clear light golden liquor, soft and fragrant. Its taste is fresh and pleasantly sweet with long lasting mellow, slightly buttery aftertaste.
Since Bi Luo Chun Tea is a green tea, it has special chemical composition including the antioxidant compounds called catechins. This makes it effective for:
- fighting free radicals and aging effects
- lowering risk of cancer and atherosclerosis
- reducing fat cell accumulation due to activating some enzymes
- improving blood circulation
It also protects the liver from damaging effects of toxic substances, for example alcohol. Bi Luo Chun Tea is also used in cosmetics, especially for the removing dark circles under the eyes. To make them disappear is necessary to put cold compress of green tea over them.
Huang Shan Mao Feng Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 黄山毛峰
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Huang Shan Mao Feng
English Translation: Yellow Mountain Fur Peak
Huang Shan Mao Feng Tea is grown and produced near Huangshan (Yellow) Mountain, Chinese province of Anhui. Its name, translated into English as “Yellow Mountain Fur Peak“, was given because of small silver hairs covering the leaves and the form of the processed leaves similar to mountain peak. The high altitude (800 meters above sea level), fertile soil, relatively low temperature, plenty of rainfalls and little sunshine creates the perfect environment for growing sweet, succulent leaves with big and strong buds.
Huang Shan Mao Feng Tea is harvested in early spring, picking only the new tea bud with the single unfolding leaf next to the bud. The tea has long-lasting floral aroma and refreshing, sweet taste. The liquor is clear and
greenish with light sugary aftertaste.
Drinking Huang Shan Mao Feng Tea can help relieve stress and anxiety due to floral aroma and theanine brining significant calming effect. It is also known by:
- antibacterial and diuretic properties
- reducing negative effects of aging
- preventing skin fade
- stabilizing blood pressure
Jun Shan Yin Zhen Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 君山银针
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Jun Shan Yin Zhen
English Translation: Jun Shan Silver Needle
Jun Shan Yin Zhen, translated as “Jun Shan Silver Needle”, is a tea from Jun Shan Island of Hunan Province in China. Actually, this is not a Green Tea and a kind of Yellow Tea. This is the only kind of Yellow Tea ranking among the rarest and the best of China’s teas.
Unfortunately nowadays it can be called the representative of endangered art of tea making because of limited growing area and very complex production process. The annual production of authentic Jun Shan Yin Zhen is not more then five hundred kilograms. The tea is resembling the White Tea Yin Zhen, also known as Bai Hao Yin Zhen. The exclusive growing region of Jun Shan Yin Zhen is Jun Shan Mountain on the island on Dong Ting Lake. This place is only about 1 km wide but provides unique and perfect natural conditions for the tea cultivation. Fertile soil brought by the Yangzi river during summer floodings and the air filled with fog and mist throughout the year are the key factors making Jun Shan Yin Zhen Tea exceptional and unique.
Yellow tea provides numerous health benefits:
- stimulates appetite
- aids in the weight loss process
- lowers blood pressure and cholesterol level
- protects the heart
Latest researches confirmed that being a source of vitamins and antioxidants, regular drinking of yellow tea is able to prevent cancer, especially esophageal cancer. Fluoride compounds fights with tooth decay and makes the bones stronger.
Keemun Black Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 祁门红茶
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Qi Men Hong Cha
English Translation: Keemun Black Tea
Keemun Black Tea is considered historically “young” tea because it was first produced in 1875 at Keemun County, Anhui Province of China. Very soon it became very popular in England and even turned to be the most known ingredient of high class English Breakfast tea. One of the significant factors for a good black tea is soft taste. The reason of this is amino acid called “theanine” contained in tea leaves. Young buds and tea leaves has high level of theanine but under the sun light, theanine converts into polyphenols such as catechins.
In Keemun county, in the highlands, the tea-planting area is often covered by mist and clouds blocking the direct sun light on tea leaves. So, tea leaves are very rich in theanine and catechins level are low. This is the first reason that Keemun tea has long-lasting fragrant and non-astringent but mellow flavor. The second reason is high concentration of specific aromatic oils, such as myrcenal and geraniol, existing in tea leaves. These two factors determine that unique sweet taste and dried rose fragrance inherit only to this kind of tea.
Keemun Black Tea is highly beneficial for human’s body even being a fully fermented tea which doesn’t contain as many antioxidants as green or white teas. It can be a good alternative for coffee because of caffeine and other chemical compounds:
- being stimulative
- improving the memory
- helping to eliminate tiredness
Using Keemun Tea with balanced weight loss diet and regular exercise will accelerate metabolism and burn fat easier and faster.
Da Hong Pao Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 武夷大红袍
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Wuyi Da Hong Pao
English Translation: Wuyi Big Red Robe
Da Hong Pao is a Wuyi Oolong tea with a history of more than 350 years. This is a real myth of Chinese tea. The tea trees were growing on the cliff of Wuyi Mount. Only six original Da Hong Pao tea trees survived till today. Environmental conditions with short days, direct sunlight, radical temperature changes and spring watering provided Da Hong Pao Tea its unique features and superb quality.
Since 2007, picking the tealeaves of the six mother tea trees has been stopped, so the “true” Da Hong Pao hasn’t been produced since then. Now the tea is producing from more than 15 years old clones of the Da Hong Pao tea mother trees growing nearby.
The tea is very delicate and soft. It is medium roasted and considered as one of the most balanced teas. The flavor is rich and smooth with fruity and almost juicy notes of exotic fruits.
Being an Oolong tea, Da Hong Pao tea contains enough caffeine to be a good coffee alternative giving the energy boost for the whole day.
The benefits of drinking Da Hong Pao are:
- strengthening immune system and fight viruses and bacteria
- fighting with cancer inhibiting the growth of cancer cells
- providing anti-inflammatory features preventing the development of rheumatoid arthritis
- lowering blood sugar level
Lu’an Melon Seed Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 六安瓜片
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Liu An Gua Pian
English Translation: Melon Slice Green Tea
Originally this tea was called as “sunflower seed” because of its similarity to the popular treat. After many years, the Chinese name has been shortened resulting mistakenly calling this tea “melon seed” or “melon slice”. In spite of the confusion with its names this is a very special tea by harvesting and processing techniques.
Liu An Gua Pian is grown in the mountainous area Dabie Shan of Anhui province. This area is situated northeast of the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) and is comprised of dense forests, bamboo groves, waterfalls and small, remote patches of tea gardens. The climate there is foggy, wet and overcast promoting the superior quality of Lu’an Melon Seed Tea.
The harvesting starts in the middle of April when fresh first, second and third tea leaves are plucked to produce Liu An Gua Pian tea. The long leaves are slim and gentle making a rich savor without bitter.
Overall, Liu An Gua Pian is a rare long leaf green tea with a clean bright green color, full soft flavor and long finish.
Liu An Gua Pian leaves are presumably richer in antioxidants than other types of tea because of the way they are processed. They also contains B vitamins, folate (naturally occurring folic acid), manganese, potassium, magnesium, caffeine and other antioxidants, especially catechins. This makes Melon Slice Green Tea effective for:
- assisting to improve vision
- relieving sleep disorder
- protecting nerve cells from death preventing Alzheimer’s decease
- preventing a range of heart-related issues, from high blood pressure to congestive heart failure
Anxi Tie Guan Yin or Iron Goddess of Mercy
Chinese Tea Name: 安溪铁观音
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Anxi Tie Guan Yin
English Translation: Anxi Iron Goddess
Anxi Tie Guan Yin Tea is a kind of of teas produced in southern Fujian Province. This family of teas is called Ming Nan Oolong. Anxi Tie Guan Yin is so popular in some countries that its name became synonymous with oolong tea. Tie means iron. Guanyin is Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Tibetan name is Chenrezig, the Lord of compassion and love. The tea plant of Tieguanyin was originally appeared in Anxi County in the 18th century.
The tea’s main features are light oxidation and heavy rolling. Using the technique called “baorou”, it is wrapped in textile and rolled into tightly knitted balls. These balls are so solid that they are often described as iron-like. It has glossy appearance, with granules of green color, red spots and white rime. The taste is unique and called Guanyin Rhyme (Yin Yun), which can be described as prominent orchid fragrance with long nectar sweet flavor.
Anxi Tieguanyin Tea has different varieties.
By roasting level:
- Lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin (called Jade Tie Guan Yin) is a new type of Tie Guan Yin, more similar to green tea than Oolong. It has light green jade color with intensive flower fragrance and taste
- Moderately Roasted Tie Guan Yin is also a new brand with well-balanced floral aroma and complex taste
- Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin is a traditional type of Tie Guan Yin – it has more complex taste and aroma but with less floral notes
By harvest time:
- Spring Tie Guan Yin is harvested in the end of spring and beginning of summer and has the best overall quality
- Summer Tie Guan Yin is picked in summer and is considered lower quality
- Autumn Tie Guan Yin is cropped in the autumn and has strong fragrance but less complex taste
- Winter Tie Guan Yin is harvested in winter in a low quantity
Natural tea leaves nutrients, such as antioxidants and vitamins, preserved in this light oxidized tea are providing several health and lifestyle benefits:
- improving mood, concentration and performance
- natural compounds called polyphenols might be helpful with protection against several cancers, including those of the prostate, digestive tract, lungs, breast and skin
- anti-aging effect, also preventing skin fading because of high concentration of vitamin C
- anti-inflammatory and relaxing muscles effect
- strengthen bones and protect against fractures
Tai Ping Hou Kui or Monkey King Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 太平猴魁
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Tai Ping Hou Kui
English Translation: Tai Ping Monkey King
Tai Ping Hou Kui, also called Monkey King, is probably China’s most luxurious gift tea. It is grown on the foothills of Huangshan Mountain in Taiping County. The tea farms are spread over the highlands covered with virgin forests and lush green rocks. Soil is fertile there and rich in mineral resources, stimulating excellent growth of tea plants. It is traditionally considered that the best time for Hou Kui tea leaves harvesting is only 14 days in the whole year – in the beginning of summer.
The leaf of Monkey King Tea is the largest sized leaf among the famous green teas, up to 60 mm long. The dried leaves has deep green color with red veins underside. Curiously but their size does not worsen tea’s elegant orchid fragrance with ripe and smooth taste lasting up to four infusions. Brewed in a glass pot the leaves gracefully whirling in the water which is called “Phoenix dance”.
The leaves of Tai Ping Hou Kui contain extremely well-balanced composition of different organic and mineral compounds including caffeine, amino acids, organic acids, polyphenols, potassium, magnesium, sodium, copper and other minerals. This tea has many medicinal properties:
- quenching thirst and invigorates
- preventing cavities and tooth decay
- boosting immune system
- providing anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties
- reducing inflammation and stabilizing hormone level
- lowering risk of heart attack and blood clot
Yunnan Puerh (Pu-Erh) Tea
Chinese Tea Name: 云南普洱
Chinese Tea Name Pronunciation: Yunnan Puerh
English Translation: Yunnan Puerh Tea
Puerh Tea (also known as aged or vintage tea) is another unique treasure of Chinese culture manufacturing in Yunnan province. The tea leaves are grown and harvested in the areas along the Lancang River. Each tea garden specializes on producing its own special kind of leaves – from the tips and hard stems from cultivated plants to the high-valued large and soft, silver leaves picked from wild plants growing on the side-hills. Some trees are believed to be older then a thousand years old. After harvesting the leaves are sent to Pu’er City where each manufacturer processes the leaves to make their own unique and time-honored recipes.
Two varieties of Pu-Erh Tea exist: Green (Sheng) and Black (Shou). The difference between them lays in leaf processing technology. Both Green and Black Puerh are using the same steps of rolling, drying and steaming. But the Black one has the additional step of “Cooking” – heaping the leaves in a pile to stimulate fermentation. This launches the natural fermentation process of enzyme breakdown which creates heat and “cooks” the leaves. This adds a highly rated complexity, depth and smoothness to the tea different from the green variety.
Both varieties are then stored for aging. Special method of sun drying leaves after the rolling (forming) step gives Pu’erh Tea its unique flavor and makes it different from other teas. Green Pu-Erh Tea has been produced for centuries but the process for Black Pu-Erh Tea was first discovered and applied in the early 1970s of 20th century. The first black Puer Teas were introduced into the market in 1975.
Scientific researches have shown that drinking Puerh Tea could bring numerous positive effects on the human’s body:
- reducing the level of bad type cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), hereby protecting the heart and the entire cardiovascular system
- strengthening the whole immune system to fight off infection
- stimulating digestion and metabolism
- preventing accumulation of fat thus being effective weight loss aid
- lowering risk of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis
Raw Pu-erh Tea with rich, sweet earthy aftertaste. Contains vitamins B1, B2, C, E and antioxidants.
This Ripe Pu-erh Tea features pleasant soft taste with floral, grassy notes and light earthy aftertaste.