Although there are hundreds of varieties of Chinese tea, they can mainly be classified into five categories. The classifications are determined by the method of processing the tea. The five types are green tea, black tea, brick tea, scented tea, and Oolong tea.
With its natural fragrance, the oldest tea is green tea, which is very popular among many people. It is baked immediately after picking. Green tea can be divided into many kinds, depending on the way that it is processed. The most famous among the various green teas are Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea around the West Lake in Hangzhou, Huangshan Maofeng Tea from Mt. Huangshan, Yinzhen (Silver Needle) Tea from Mt. Junshan and Yunwu (Cloud and Mist) Tea from Mt. Lushan.
Black tea is favored mainly among foreigners. Different from green tea, black tea is a kind of fermented tea. After the fermentation, its color changes from green to black. The most famous black teas in China are “Qi Hong” (which originated in Anhui), “Dian Hong” (originated in Yunnan), and “Ying Hong” (originated in Guangdong).
Oolong tea, which combines the freshness of green tea and the fragrance of black tea, has been becoming popular with more and more people. It is also popular for its medical benefits, including assisting the body building process and in dieting. Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan are the major producers of this kind of tea. Oolong tea grows on cliffs. Harvesting this type of tea is very difficult, which makes it the most precious.
Scented tea, popular in Northern China, is a mixture of green tea with flower petals of rose, jasmine, orchid and plum, which is combined through an elaborate process. Among this type of tea, jasmine is the most common.
Brick, or compressed, tea, is usually pressed into brick shape, and is mainly produced in Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Brick tea is made from black or green tea and is pressed into blocks, which makes it easier to transport. This kind of tea is popular with the ethnic minority people in border regions. The most famous brick tea is “Pu’er Tea” made in Yunnan province.
There are also other kinds of tea. Among them, white tea is special and is not very familiar to most people. Just as its name suggests, this kind of tea is as white as silver. It is mainly produced in Zhenhe and Fuding in Fujian Province, but popular in Southeast Asia. Famous varieties include “Silver Needle” and “White Peony”.
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