About Chinese Green Tea
Among all types of tea, green tea boasts the longest history, and one could argue that the history of tea itself is synonymous with the history of green tea, dating back over 3000 years. Simultaneously, green tea holds the top spot in popularity and sales in China. For every 10 pounds of tea produced in China, 7 pounds are green tea. To explore the flavors of Chinese green tea, one can begin with tea samplers of these teas.
Green tea is made from the buds, leaves, and tender stems of the tea plant. It undergoes processes such as fixation, rolling, and drying to produce primary tea (also known as crude tea or Maocha) and refined tea (also known as finished tea) through shaping and sorting while retaining its green characteristics. All teas that maintain their green color and are suitable for consumption are collectively referred to as green tea. The leaves of such teas exhibit an emerald green color, and the brewed tea has a greenish-yellow hue, hence the name green tea.
Characteristics of Chinese Green Tea
China boasts a diverse array of loose leaf green tea, each possessing unique flavors and aromas. For instance, Longjing tea is renowned for its "emerald color, rich aroma, sweet taste, and beautiful shape," while Biluochun is celebrated for its "emerald color, fresh aroma, mellow taste, and elegant shape." These green teas not only offer distinctive tastes but are also rich in various beneficial nutrients for the human body. The Green Tea Sampler is a selection of various classic green tea samples, carefully chosen based on considerations such as tea variety, origin, and production techniques, making it an ideal choice for tea enthusiasts interested in Chinese green tea.
Green tea, being a non-fermented tea, retains a higher amount of natural substances from fresh leaves, including catechins, tea polyphenols, chlorophyll, caffeine, amino acids, and vitamins. Its dry tea leaves, brewed tea liquor, and tea leaves after brewing predominantly exhibit shades of green, hence the name. The defining qualities of green tea include a clear, green broth, elegant appearance, high fragrance, and a mellow taste, with a cool and slightly cold nature. The production of green tea involves typical processes such as fixation, rolling, and drying. The health benefits and delightful characteristics of green tea make it an excellent gift, such as for Christmas tea gifts or New Year tea gifts.
Famous Chinese Green Teas
Longjing, also known as Dragon Well, is one of China's top ten famous teas and stands out among green teas. This type of green tea is named after the Longjing Village near West Lake in Hangzhou, China, where it is produced. Its flat and straight appearance, tender green and glossy dry leaves, and a fragrance that is clear, elegant, and lofty contribute to a unique drinking experience. After brewing, the tea leaves yield a refreshing and crisp taste, providing a distinctive sensory experience. Moreover, West Lake Longjing possesses unique cultural connotations and natural charm. To savor the finest loose-leaf tea flavor, one must definitely try Longjing Tea.
Biluochun, produced in the East Dongting Mountain and West Dongting Mountain near Taihu Lake in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, is another of China's top ten famous teas. It is made from the fresh and tender leaf buds, undergoing processes such as fixation, rolling, and showing white hairs. Biluochun is characterized by its beautiful appearance, vibrant color, rich fragrance, and mellow taste. The local tea gardens are typical mixed areas of flowers and fruits, coupled with the unique geographical environment, giving Biluochun its distinct floral and fruity aroma.
Taiping Houkui comes from Huangshan, Anhui Province, China, and belongs to the category of pointed green teas. It is made by selecting two leaves embracing a bud, resulting in a flat and straight shape. It is renowned for being "pointed at both ends, not curling, not dispersing, and not rolling at the edges." Historical records indicate that Taiping Houkui originated in the late Qing Dynasty, initially named Taiping Jiancha, and is known for its orchid fragrance, smooth taste, and lingering sweetness. The main production area is in Sanmen Village, Xinming Township, featuring locations like Monkey Pit, Monkey Ridge, and Yan's house.
Huangshan Maofeng hails from the Huangshan region in Anhui Province, China, also known as Hui tea. It has earned global acclaim among tea enthusiasts for its unique quality and taste. "Maofeng" describes its appearance, and "Huangshan" indicates its origin. The prominent feature of Huangshan Maofeng is its fresh green color and refreshing aroma. The tea liquor is clear and bright, with a crisp and sweet taste, accompanied by a subtle floral fragrance.
Anji Baicha originates from Anji in Zhejiang Province and follows the typical pan-fried green tea processing method. Therefore, despite the name Baicha(White Tea), according to the classification of the six major tea types, Anji Baicha belongs to the green tea category, not white tea. The name Baicha(White Tea) comes from the whitish color of the tea tree's new spring shoots, exhibiting a phenomenon known as leaf whitening. Anji Baicha is a semi-roasted and semi-fried green tea, and its unique processing gives it an appearance resembling orchid flowers. It has a fragrant and refreshing aroma, a deliciously sweet taste, and a clear and bright tea liquor, making it highly valued for both its visual and gustatory qualities.
Enshi Yulu is produced in Baqiao Township and the eastern suburbs of Wufeng Mountain in the southern part of Enshi City, Hubei Province. Enshi Yulu is the only preserved type of needle-shaped green tea in China that undergoes steaming for fixation, a production technique classified as a national intangible cultural heritage. Formerly known as "Yulu" for its jade-like green color, it was later renamed "Yulu" due to its fresh and brisk taste, tight and smooth appearance, verdant green color, and jade-like white tips. It is considered a traditional Chinese famous tea.
Xinyang Maojian is produced in the area around Cheyun Mountain in the western part of Xinyang City, Henan Province, China, at an altitude of approximately 600 meters. The cultivation of Xinyang Maojian dates back to the Western Zhou Dynasty, flourished during the Tang Dynasty, matured in the Northern Song Dynasty, and gained fame in the late Qing Dynasty. The tea leaves are thin, tight, round, and straight, displaying a vibrant green color with visible white hairs. The tea liquor is clear, bright green, and has a fresh and high aroma, with a taste that is refreshing and mellow. The leaves at the bottom are robust with an even and tender green appearance. Xinyang Maojian is renowned for its "emerald color, fresh taste, and high fragrance."
8.Sheng Puer Tea
Sheng Puer tea, also known as old tree green tea, is made from the leaves of Yunnan large-leaf tea trees. The process involves sun-drying, rolling, and other techniques to produce raw tea leaves, which are then tightly pressed and naturally fermented through high-pressure steam. It is a widely appreciated loose leaf tea. As Sheng Puer undergoes natural fermentation without wet piling, it retains more substances, resulting in a stronger and more robust flavor. It has a smooth and refreshing taste, distinct tea aroma, and mountainous charm, with a higher level of stimulation and lasting appeal.
9.Jasmine Green Tea
Jasmine Green Tea is a somewhat unique type among Chinese green teas, and it is also considered a flower tea. Loose leaf Jasmine Tea involves placing tea leaves and fresh jasmine flowers together, allowing the tea leaves to absorb the floral aroma during the processing, with Jasmine Green Tea being a common variant. It is characterized by a lasting and fresh fragrance, a rich and refreshing taste, a bright yellow-green tea liquor, and tender, even, and soft tea leaves at the bottom. Jasmine Green Tea is known for its calming effect, mood-enhancing properties, digestive benefits, anti-aging effects, and its ability to boost the body's immune system.
In China, tea is not just a beverage; it is a culture and a way of life. Among these, green tea, with its unique flavors and rich cultural heritage, is deeply loved by people. To truly appreciate the beauty of Chinese green tea, it is best to personally taste and experience the diverse textures and fresh goodness of different green teas.