Understanding the Six Basic Types of Chinese Tea

China is renowned for its rich tea culture and has six main types of tea: green, white, yellow, red, oolong, and dark tea, also known as Puerh or Pu’er. Each type of tea has unique characteristics that set it apart from the others. In this article, we will explore the different types of Chinese tea and their individual qualities.

Green Tea

Green tea is the most tenderly processed tea, which makes it the closest in chemical composition to the growing tea leaf. This refreshing tea gives vivacity and strength to the body.

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea is similar to green tea, but it undergoes a heaping process. It is less irritating to the stomach than green tea, and its taste is peculiar. However, its complicated and laborious production process makes it quite rare to find.

White Tea

White tea undergoes minor processing and is made from a specific type of tea plant. In China, it is considered to be more medicinal than a mere beverage. It is good for everyday use as an anticancer aid in a polluted megalopolis.

Red Tea

Red tea is known as “black tea” in Europe. This comforting and warming tea bears the energy of fire and boosts immunity while invigorating the body. In Chinese culture, it is served as a stand-alone beverage to be enjoyed without any supplements.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is complicated in production and has bright fruit and floral aromas. It is a very tasty and versatile tea that has become increasingly popular for its weight loss properties due to the high content of fat-burning polyphenols.

Dark Tea

Dark tea is a special type of tea that is famous for its unusual production technology, resulting in a special taste, odor, and effects on the body. The most famous dark tea is Puerh, which is produced exclusively from tea leaves grown in Yunnan province, using two different technologies: shu and shen Puerh.

Understanding the Nuances of Tea Production

Tea production involves diverse technologies for producing dry tea from the raw leaf, resulting in six distinct types of tea. However, the production of each type is influenced by a variety of nuances, including the origin, cultivation environment, tea cultivars, harvest time, and leaves for processing.

The Importance of Nuances

The taste and aroma of tea are heavily influenced by the origin of the tea plant, as the climate, soil, altitude, and temperature range all affect the accumulation of substances in the tea leaves. For example, in Yunnan, large leaf trees are abundant, while in Fujian, small leaf tea bushes prevail.

Cultivation Environment

Tea types are also grown under specific conditions, with Emerald spirals of spring planted among fruit trees to infuse the tea leaf with fruity notes. The taste of tea grown on the same mountain can differ at the foot, in the middle, and at the top, with corresponding differences in value.

Tea Cultivars

The tea plant cultivar is also crucial for each type of tea, with each tea type requiring a specific tea plant cultivar. For instance, the Dragon Well tea from Xi Hu lake can only be made from specific bushes grown in that specific location.

Harvest Time

Each tea type has its respective harvest time, with white tea harvested from buds in February, red tea harvested from tips in March, and green tea harvested from leaves in April. Quality grades are determined by the period of harvesting.

Leaves for Processing

The type of tea produced is also influenced by the specific leaf of the tea plant used, with some teas produced from buds, others from tips, and still others from large leaves or offshoots with several leaves.

The Perfect Brewing Technique

Each type of tea requires a specific brewing technique, involving temperature range, tea ware, quantity of tea, and the best way to deliver its taste. While production technology has been perfected over centuries, understanding these nuances is crucial to acquiring the desired tea type.

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