15 Facts You Should Know about Drinking Chinese Tea
There are 6 major types of Chinese tea
Chinese tea can be classified into different categories. One of the classification methods is based on the different procedures used in processing tea and the characteristics of the tea thus made. Under this method, Chinese tea is classified into 6 major types, namely green tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, black tea, and Pu’er-type tea.
The ten most famous Chinese tea
The Long Jing (龙井, it means Dragon Well) is a variety of pan-fried green tea from the Xi Hu (West Lake) district of Hangzhou, in Zhejiang Province. As I said, it’s my favorite tea.
The Bi Luo Chun (碧螺春, Spring Snail) is also a green tea and comes from Tai Hu, in Jiangsu Province.
The Tie Guan Yin (铁观音, Iron Goddess) is a oolong tea from Anxi, in Fujian Province.
The Mao Feng (毛峰, Fur Peak) is a green tea from Huang Shan, the Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province.
The Yin Zhen (银针, Silver Needle) is a yellow tea from Jun Mountain, in Fujian Province.
The Qi Men Hong Cha (祁门红茶, Qimen Red Tea) is a red tea from Qimen County, in Anhui Province.
The Da Hong Pao (大紅袍, Big Red Robe) is an oolong tea from Wiyi Mountain, at the border between Fujian and Jiangxi Province.
The Gua Pian (瓜片, Gua Pian) is a green tea from Lu’An, in Anhui Province.
The Bai Hao Yin Zhen (白毫银针, White Fur Silver Needle) is a white tea from Fu Ding, in Fujian Province.
The Pu-erh (普洱, Pu’er Tea) is a post-fermented tea from the Simao County, in Yunnan Province.
Spring is the best season to drink green tea
Season matters when it comes to the quality and taste of tea leaves. Normally, green tea (绿茶) is collected before the Qingming Festival and the fresh batches are called xincha (new tea). Xincha tastes fresher and more fragrant when enjoyed during that season.
The best time to drink Tieguanyin(Teh kuan yin) is the fall
Soon you will be able to enjoy this premium variety of Oolong tea. Generally, the best time for Tieguanyin is the fall. After the spring and summer picking season is over, the plants have lost some their nutrition, leaving the rest relatively infertile, resulting in lighter fragrance, which appeals to a lot of people.
Do judge tea by its appearance, except for Pu’er
Usually, you can make pretty good snap judgements about tea just by looking at the buds — all but Pu’er tea (普洱茶) that is. Pu’er is a type of post-fermented black tea originated from the city of Pu’er in Yunnan Province. It’s unwise to judge pu’er by appearance, especially the compressed tea-leave cakes, as merchants put in lots of impurities. The safest way to tell good pu’er is to taste it. Excellent pu’er tastes smooth and a bit bitter with a sweet aftertaste.
Never drink tea on an empty stomach
Always drink tea during or after a meal. Our stomachs are acidic and tea is alkalizing. Acid and alkaline combined have a bloating effect.
Drink white tea if you are a smoker
White tea is really good for the lungs and throat, so it is especially beneficial for smokers. A cup of white peony tea helps clear all the phlegm in our throats and cures coughs.
Never pour a full cup of tea
Like wines in Western culture, tea in China is more of a sense and concept than taste. You should never completely fill your tea cup, it’s considered impolite. So next time when you are served with a cup of not fully filled cha, you should feel extra fulfilled. Many Chinese experts believe that tea should only fill 70 percent of a cup while the other 30 percent is “space for your emotions”.
Water temperature affects the taste
Not any boiled water will do for tea. Water temperatures between 80 and 90 C are fine for Longjing tea (龙井茶), 75 C is best for Biluochun tea (碧螺春), and aim for 100 C for tieguanyin(铁观音). For properly enjoying tea, water temperature is the key: too low and the taste won’t have developed, too high and the flavor is destroyed.
Keep your green tea watered
Although it’s tempting to let your tea run dry, exposing the tea leaves to air after you’ve already started using them actually limits their usage. Oxidization takes place faster when green tea runs dry, forcing tea leaves become yellow and less fresh. To keep your tea fresh, and be able to use them a few times more times, make sure to continually pour water over the leaves.
Wolfberry and chrysanthemum tea is best for office workers
China has no shortage of office workers, and Sun says the best tea for the country’s rising white collar class is Wolfberry chrysanthemum tea. Wolfberry is beneficial to eyes, while chrysanthemum clears away internal heat, the combination of which helps to reduce office pressure.
Certain types of tea help sooth sore throat
A cuppa with tea with arhat fruit (罗汉果luo han guo) or malva nuts (胖大海pang da hai) is good for a sore throat, according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). If your profession relies much on your voice, it’s good to have these two at hand. Specifically, arhat fruit (luo han guo in Mandarin) has noticeable effect on curing a cough,while malva nuts (pang da hai in Mandarin) helps to relieve a hoarse voice. Just be careful with the dosage — drink in moderation.
Black tea protects your stomach — and spirit
Black tea is a good friend to poor stomachs. During the fermentation process, a large amount of the antioxidant polyphenol is oxidized, and the oxidation generated in black tea protects the stomach better than just about any tea, including green tea.
Treat pu-erh tea like a digestible detergent to flush all the grease away
Always pair oily food with pu-erh tea. Dim sum, no matter steamed or fried, contains lard. When you eat shrimp dumplings, there is always a piece of fatty pork in there to add flavor and fragrance. Pu-erh tea helps you rinse all the grease from the food out of your system. It aids digestion, blood circulation and lowers cholesterol levels. If you don’t have detergent at home, boil some pu-erh tea and use it to wash your dishes. It’s like a digestible detergent.
Tips about tea your local restaurateur won’t tell you
Sweet food is best paired with tea that is more bitter. Tieguanyin goes best with spicy food. Fried food goes best with white tea.