He is honored as one of China’s three early, mythical sovereigns, and is also credited with inventing agriculture and herbal medicine. It is also said that the Buddha discovered tea when, fatigued and unable to concentrate, he chewed on the leaves of the tea plant and was refreshed.
Today, tea becomes a national drink in China. Chinese tea has spread every corner of China from academic research to daily life.
Here is a list of the 10 most famous Chinese Teas
It will show you that Chinese tea serves as an important part of Chinese long-standing history and culture:
1. Long Jing / Dragon Well
Long Jing or ‘Dragonwell‘ green tea is recognized as one of China’s ’10 famous teas’. It is produced in misty hills around the famous West Lake, near the city of Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province), in the Dragonwell Springs area. During the Qing Dynasty, Longjing (Dragonwell) tea became popular again for remembering the admiration and attention of the then Qianlong emperor. Commonly produced by hand, the leaf has a long, flat appearance creating a rounded full-bodied green tea which tastes sweet initially, with a slightly savory aftertaste of ‘popped corn’. The aroma of the genuine product is warm, fresh, complex and with a distinctive accent of the bouquet. Dragonwell can help control high blood pressure, lower the blood sugar level, and has anti-cancer properties.
2. Bi Luo Chun / Spring Snail
Bi Luo Chun tea is first cultivated on Dongshan by Tai Lake in Suzhou, this tea is now grown everywhere in Jiangsu Province and some other parts of China. Translated, bi Luo Chun means “green spring snail”. This is because when this green tea is roasted, the leaves roll up into a snail-like shape. Chinese legend says that this tea was discovered by a female tea picker. When she ran out of room in her basket, she placed the tea leaves between her breasts. The woman was amazed by the scent the tea produced. Coincidentally, the properties of green tea have been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer. While there are different grades of this tea, the highest quality bi Luo Chun is traditionally picked before the Qingming festival holiday (Tomb Sweeping Day).
3. Tie Guan Yin / Iron Goddess
Grown in the fruitful area of Fujian, Tie Guan Yin is a highly sought-after oolong tea that favors green tea in many elements. The harvesting schedule for Tie Guan Yin is five times a year. The perfect quality crop is harvested during the spring first flush after the tea plant has risen from its period of rest from which the plant arises rich in freshness. The whole leaves have rich floral aromas and deep umami complexity leading to a perfectly balanced mineral finish.
4. Mao Feng / Fur Peak
A traditional “Fur Peak” style green tea is the finest Mao Feng available from China. With a perfect, hearty, rich and nutty flavor, you will not find it fresher anywhere unless you visit the tea farm itself in An Hui. When steeped, these bright green leaves have the pure green tea taste you can only get from fresh mountain tea. This tea has a delicate natural flavor of summer air, peaches and apricots. The complex flavors lead into a refreshingly smooth finish and a long-lasting clean aftertaste.
5. Yin Jan / Silver Needle
Silver Needle Tea (Yin Jan / Yin Zhen) is one of the rarest and most glamorous Chinese white teas. Picked on only a few days in early spring in Jun Shan as the fresh new buds unfurl. The tea is not oxidized or rolled but simply withered and dried by a steaming process. The loose tea leaves resemble pine needles and its taste is mellow with a slight. Stunning to look, the tea needles are rimy with a graceful smooth texture and white hairs. Silver Needles Tea brews to a glow golden color and has a soft fragrant aroma. The taste is unique, with a mildly sweet floral finish that is delicate and refreshing, yet with a pronounced and lingering flavor. It is very soft and ideal for easy drinking and to relax with.
6. Qi Men Hung / Qi Men Red
Qi Men Hung is a red tea from ancient China with a delicately spiced flavor and perfumed nose. It contains an oil that gives the tea a subtle rose, pine fragrance, dried plum and floweriness which creates a very distinctive and balanced taste. The tea is named after the county in which it is produced. Qi Men County is located near Huang (Yellow) Mountain in China’s Anhui Province. It was first produced in 1875 by a failed civil servant, Huyuanlong after he traveled to Fujian province to learn the secrets of black tea production. The time of picking Qi Men Hung Tea is summer and autumn, the standard is one bud with two leaves.
7. Da Hong Pao / Big Red Robe
Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe), The “King of Tea” is the best known of all Wuyi Cliff Teas. It is also the best of the bunch, admired near and far in both the modern and antique age. It was often a favorite tribute of the royal court. The origin of this marvelous tea is the cliff of Tian Xin Yan, Jiu Long Ke of Wu Yi Shan. It received its name as “Emperor’s Long Red Cape” in the Qing Dynasty. The plant has a half-open shape with thick branches in close proximity. Its leaves are elliptical, bright and dark-green in color. There is a slight bulge on the surface and sharp, dense teeth around the edges. They give the impression of being thick and yet fragile at the same time.
8. Gua Pien / Mellon Seed
Gua Pien Tea (Melon Seed tea) is grown in the Liu An county in the Dabie Mountains of China’s Western Anhui Province. Gua Pien tea was the winner of the China Tea Award in 1982 and China Food and Drink Award in 1988 for its superior refreshing taste and quality. The taste is full, offers a hint of a green tea “bite” as the leaf is quite strong in flavor; yet it is lightly sweet and round in the mouth, with a lingering finish that makes for an exquisite cup of tea. Although most sources classify Gua Pien as a green tea, Silk Road Teas refers to it as a yellow tea, due to the fact that it is subjected to an extra steaming phase in its processing.
9. Bai Hao Yin Jan / White Fur Silver Needle
White Fur Silver Needles also popular as Bai Hao Yin Jan, is the premium of classical white tea and occurs only of the first flush spring sprouts of the tea plant. The Silver Needles are hand cropped from China’s Fujian unique Fuding Da Hao variety that is valued for its delicious smooth flavor and large silvery buds. This white tea shines with its tasty flavor, its rich body and gives a delicate and smooth cup.
Pu-Erh tea, produced mainly in the Yunnan Province of China, is well known for its special flavor and potential health benefits to human beings. It is a traditional beverage in Hongkong, Taiwan as well as many other areas in Southeast Asia. Pu-erh is one of the oldest tea products in China with a history of over 1,700 years that can be traced back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD). A well-documented study in 1987 by Professor Benelli Jacktor of Henriette Hospital in Paris discovered that the blood lipid levels of most of his patients were reduced by 25% after drinking Pu’er Tea three times a day for one month.