Top 10 Chinese teas

By Wang Yanfang, July 5, 2011

Of the big three beverages: Tea, coffee and cocoa – tea is consumed by the largest number of people in China.

China is considered the home of tea. Chinese tea had begun to be exported to Japan and Korea before the Tang Dynasty (618-907). In the early period of the 17th century, Chinese tea was exported to Europe.

The tea from China is in great abundance and variety. To tell if a pot of tea is nice you can mainly rely on the color, smell, taste and form. According to these principles selects 10 of the most excellent from the whole of the country.


1,West Lake Dragon Well Tea (西湖龙井)

the West Lake Dragon Well Tea is a variety of green tea from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. It is well-known worldwide and is highly praised for its green color, long-lasting elegant fragrance and mellow taste.

The tea has a recorded history of over 1,000 years, and was mentioned in the oldest tea book of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The tea is frequently offered to visiting heads of state, including the British Queen Elizabeth II and former US President Richard Nixon.

2,Dongting Biluochun (洞庭碧螺春)
Dongting Biluochun is a famous green tea originally grown in the Dongting Mountains of Jiangsu Province. Biluochun's English translation is Green Snail Spring due to its shape of tight spiral, resembling snail meat. It is renowned for its delicate appearance and floral aroma and fruity taste. The tea is harvested in early spring.
It is said that Dongting Biluochun tea plant was first found by a nun when she went for an outing in the spring. With a history of over 1,000 years, it was offered to emperors as the tribute during the Qing Dynasty (1636-1911).


3,Huangshan Maofeng (黄山毛峰) 

Huangshan Maofeng is a green tea grown near the famous Mount Huang, Anhui Province, which is home to many famous varieties of green tea. Huangshan Maofeng was initially produced in Qing Dynasty (1636-1911).
Its English translation is Yellow Mountain Fur Peak, due to the small white hairs covering the leaves which resemble the peak of mountain. It's best harvested in the early spring. Through special processing technique, the tea is jade-green in color and has complex and refreshing aroma with a lingering aftertaste of floral sweetness.

4,Lu'an Guapian (六安瓜片)

 Lu'an Guapian or Lu'an Melon Seed Tea is a green tea from Lu'an, Anhui Province. It is named for its tightly rolled seed-like processed leaves which are flat and resemble a melon seed.
The first documentary evidence of Lu'an Guapian dates back to Tang Dynasty (618-907) and it was designated as the tribute in Qing Dynasty (1636-1911). With a bright color, Lu'an Guapian has a particularly smooth taste and sweet aroma. It uses the second leaf on the plant, not the new buds as most green teas do.

5,Xinyang Maojian (信阳毛尖) 

XinYang Maojian is a green tea produced in Xinyang City, Henan Province. It has a deep dark green color and straight thin leaves. Xinyang Maojian has a relatively shorter harvest due to the cooler climate in Henan and is best picked in the early spring.
It is treasured for its refreshing taste and pleasant aroma. In its legend, nine fairies of the heaven brought the tea down to the human race on the earth. When drinking the tea, you will see the image of nine dancing fairies in the vapor. 

6, Wuyi Yancha (武夷岩茶) 
WuYi Yancha is a kind of oolong tea from the Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Province. Yancha means rock tea. It got its name because the plant grows in crack of rocks in Wuyi Mountains.
Yancha tea features the fresh fragrance of green tea and the mellow sweetness of black tea. With its lovely flowery aromas and health benefits, it was offered to emperors as a gift more than 1,000 years ago. It was enjoyed by Europeans when it was introduced to Europe in the 18th century. Da Hong Pao is one of the best Wuyi Yancha oolong teas.

7,Keemun Black Tea (祁门红茶)

 Keemun Black Tea, one of the most famous Chinese black teas, is produced in Qimen County, Anhui Province. With a relatively short history, it was initially produced in 1875 and quickly gained popularity worldwide, especially in England. It is regarded as one of the top three fragrant teas in the world.
The aroma of Keemun tea is fruity, which creates a very distinctive and balanced taste. Steeping in boiling water for about five minutes allows the mellow Keemun Tea with a delicate perfume and flavor to fully brew. Keemun can enhance one's alertness and memory. It is excellent after a meal.

8,Yunnan Pu-erh (云南普洱) 

Yunnan Pu-erh, a kind of dark tea, is produced in southwestern China's Yunnan Province. It was named after the Pu'er Town, where most of the tea is processed and sold. Pu'er has a long history of tea trading dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
Yunnan Pu-erh tea is compressed into various shapes and is black or brown-red in color. It tastes mellow and is purported to reduce blood cholesterol. It is reputed to be the beauty tea and slim tea. It can generally improve in taste over time.

9,Lushan Yunwu (庐山云雾)

 Lushan Yunwu tea is a green tea from Jiangxi Province, home of the Mount Lu. The tea may be traced back more than 1,000 years. According to local records, it was initially collected and planted by monks living in the temple in the Mount Lu.
Lushan refers to Mount Lu and Yunwu means cloud and mist. Mount Lu's foggy conditions make for a natural shade where the tea plants grow. Long ago, Lushan Yunwu was offered to emperors as a gift because of its unique, gentle and lasting sweetness and it is said that drinking Lushan Yunwu tea prolongs life.

10,Fujian Tieguanyin (福建铁观音) 
Tieguanyin is one of China's top teas and synonymous with oolong tea. It stands head and shoulder above the rest of hundreds of different types of oolong tea. Guanyin in English means the Goddess of Mercy.
The tea was originally made in the Anxi County, Fujian Province in the 18th century. With precision, it is rolled into tightly knit granulated green balls with red spots and white frost. It has a unique taste with an orchid fragrance.

The legend behind the tea goes like this: A sincere Buddhist praying to the Goddess of Mercy daily. One night, he dreamed of a magic plant, which he discovered the next day. The tree sent out unique fragrance. Buddhists believed it was a gift from the Goddess of Mercy and called it Tieguanyin tea.


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