|The Teas of China
|China has been growing and producing tea for over 5000 years, putting them
far and above the rest of the world in quantity, knowledge, and history. Much
of the early cultivation of tea in China was done by small farms and plantations,
many tended by Buddhist monks, on and around the land where their temples
and monasteries were located, high on the mountain tops.
|The Chinese have always held the
belief that famous teas come from high in the
mountains, and indeed, many of the finest and
best known teas have often come from these
Today, China produces about 20% of the world tea
exports. A dizzying variety of teas are grown and
produced in sixteen different regions of China.
There's said to be over 8,000 different classifica-
tions, most being for green tea alone, with a few
black and oolong teas included.
Of course not all the
teas produced in China
are available as exports.
In fact just a small per-
|centage are exported each year. But with the ever growing popularity, and appreciation of the
excellent quality and fascinating history surrounding them, more and
more teas are becoming available worldwide than ever before, as the
demand for China's teas rapidly increases.
The growing/plucking season in China runs from March to late September,
with the best teas made from leaf buds and delicate new leaves gathered
in early spring from the high mountain areas.
Many of China's finest teas are still made by hand, and the skills needed
for their manufacture have been passed down through the generations,
one to the other.
All six main tea types are produced in China - black tea, green tea, white
tea, yellow, oolong, and pu-erh, as well as a variety of specialty and
gourmet teas, blended, and flavored teas. China's rich history and unique
processing methods turn out some of the world's most exquisite teas.
Indeed, China has compiled a list of some of
their most popular, famous teas, appropriately
called "Ten Most Famous Teas." Six are green
teas, one white tea, two are oolongs, and one
Among the green teas you'll find, of course,
the famous Longjing or Dragonwell tea, one of
China's most popular and best known green
teas. You'll also find Bi Lo Chun or Green Snail
Spring, with its tightly woven spirals, and the
legendary Huang Mao Feng, from Anhui Pro-
vince, grown around Huangshan, one of
China's most celebrated mountains.
Also from Anhui Province comes Liuan Gaupian
or Melon Slice, a popular tea in China, but hard to find
outside until recent years, where it can now be found in
specialty tea stores, online, and by mail order.
The last two green teas
on the list - Xinyang Maojian from Henan Province and Dujun
Maojian from Guizhou Province, are difficult to find in China, much
less outside the country.
Completing the list of China's Ten Most Famous Teas is the single
white tea, Junshan Yinzhen, and the only black tea, Keemun. And
finally, two oolongs-Anxi Ti Kuan Yin, and Wu-I Yencha round out
the ten teas.
Not to be confused with the "Ten Most Famous Teas" list, is another
listing, this one of China's Imperial Tribute Teas, chosen by the em-
perors of China's last four dynasties: Tang, Song, Ming, and Qing.
These teas were chosen by the emperor, each with his own person-
al favorites, and delivered as a tax payment owed to the throne.
A few teas overlap on both lists--some of the Ten Most Famous Teas
are among the Imperial Tribute Teas, and vice-versa - some of the Imperial Tribute Teas are
found on the Ten Most Famous Teas list as well. Enjoy.
|For more information or to learn more about tea, visit our other
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|China's yellow teas-a close cousin to green
but with an added step.
What secret ingredient is added when
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Specialty and gourmet teas-a treat
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