Chinese Tea

Chinese Tea gains an increasing number of fans in recent years. More and more people want to know more about Chinese tea and Chinese Tea Culture. China Tea Culture Tours are also popular among foreign tourists, especially the Puerh Tea Culture Travel in Yunnan province. This page is a reference for your China Tea Culture Travel, join our China Tea Culture Tours to experience the profound eastern culture in China.

Why the Name Tea

During the Tang dynasty in China, more than 10 different words refer the meaning of tea. Among then, the Chinese character “Tu” was most frequently used. However, this Tu also means other 2 kind of plants. Therefore from the book written in this time, it is hard to know if Tu really means tea or not. In the book written in B.C.59, “DongYue” by Wang Bao, there are expressions such as “boil Tu, or buy Tu” This Tu probably means the tea. Dong Yue is probably the oldest book mentioning about tea. During the Tang dynasty, around 760, the Chinese character “Tu” evolved to “Cha”which we use today, and specified the meaning of tea. Therefore, everything written before that time and used this Chinese character are considered to be rewrote in later. The pronunciation “Cha” is tea in Guandong dialogue of Chinese. The word”Cha” is used widely in East Asia and East Europe. The pronunciation “Tea” is came from Amoi, Fujian province in China. Most of the European countries and the South Asia countries use similar pronunciation “Tea”. However people in Portugal use “Cha” instead of tea. It is because Portugal was the very first country in Europe to bring tea from China, and the trader was happen to be a man from Guandong, China.

History of Chinese Tea

The practice of drinking tea has a long history in China, having originated there. Although tea originated in China, during the Tang Dynasty, Chinese tea generally represents tea leaves which have been processed using methods inherited from ancient China. According to legend, tea was discovered in 2737 BC by Shennong (Chinese: 神农), whose name means the Divine Farmer — and who is considered as the ancient Chinese Father of Agriculture. He discovered the tea when a leaf from a nearby shrub fell into water the emperor was boiling. 

Since Shennong’s discovery, tea has been grown and enjoyed throughout the world. In the beginning, tea was used in ritual offerings. Then, tea leaves were eaten as a vegetable, or used in medicine. Until the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, tea was a new drink.

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Types of Chinese Tea

All teas originally come from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. However, genuine Chinese teas – those that come from the Camellia sinensis tree – fall into six basic categories, each one the result of a particular processing sequence. The differences between types of Chinese tea are caused by variations in processing methods, as well as the geographic location of the tea plant and by the appearance and taste of the infused tea. The six types of tea are: green tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, black tea, and dark tea

Type Representatives Brief Intro
Green Tea Longjing, Huangshan Maofeng, Biluochun, Xinyang Maojian, Liu’an Melon Seed Tea Green tea leaves are light to dark green in color and brew into a light green infusion.With a longer history than other varieties, green tea is the most popular variety of tea consumed domestically in China.
Black Tea Keemun Black Tea, Yunnan Black Tea Black tea is made with tea leaves that have undergone full fermentation before baking. Known as “red tea” in China, the variety features brown to reddish-brown tea leaves which produce a light brown infusion.
Oolong Tea Anxi Tieguanyin (铁观音), Wuyi Tea, Dongding Oolong Tea Oolong tea features a partial fermentation process, and thus has the characteristics of both green and black teas. It tastes as clear and fragrant as green tea and as strong and refreshing as black tea. 
White Tea Baihao Yinzhen, Bai Mudan, Gongmei and Shoumei. White tea is a specialty of Fujian Province, which derives its name from the distinctive white-colored appearance of the dry tea. 
Dark Tea Puerh Tea, Guangxi Liubao It is also named Post-fermented tea, known in China as “hei cha,” is made with tea leaves that have undergone a long period of fermentation after they are fried and rolled. 
Yellow Tea Mengding Mountain Huangya, Junshan Yinzhen (‘Jun Mountain silver needle’) Yellow tea is one of the rarer and more expensive varieties of tea. It is produced by allowing the damp leaves to dry naturally under a cloth, giving it a mellower and less astringent taste than green tea.
Reprocessed  Tea Jasmine Tea, Tuocha and Liubao Tea.  This kind of tea are made from the raw materials of basic teas including green tea, black tea, etc., added with flowers or herbals, having different tastes and effects.

Top 10 Famous Chinese Teas

Chinese English Region Type
西湖龙井 Longjing tea (also spelled Lungching; ‘Dragonwell’) Hangzhou, Zhejiang Green tea
洞庭碧螺春 Biluochun tea (also spelled Pi lou chun, ‘Green snail spring’) Suzhou, Jiangsu Green tea
安溪铁观音 Anxi Tieguanyin tea Anxi, Quanzhou, Fujian Oolong tea
黄山毛峰 Huangshan Maofeng tea Huangshan, Anhui Green tea
武夷岩茶-大红袍 Wuyi tea, Da Hong pao (‘Big red robe’) Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Oolong tea
君山银针 Junshan Yinzhen (‘Jun Mountain silver needle’) Yueyang, Hunan Yellow tea
祁门红茶 Keemun Black tea Qimen, Huangshan, Anhui Black tea
六安瓜片 Lu’an Melon Seed tea Jinzhai, Lu’an, Anhui Green tea
云南普洱 Yunnan Pu’er Pu’er City, Yunnan Post-fermented tea or “dark” tea
白毫银针 Baihao Yinzhen (‘White tip silver needle’) Fuding, Ningde, Fujian White tea

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Top 10 Chinese Tea Facts

  • 1. Tea was found out accidentally by the legendary Chinese ruler Shen Nong about 5000 years ago when tea leaves fell into hot water and made a refreshing drink.
  • 2. Tea was once considered dangerous.
  • 3. Before the Qin dynasty (221 BC -206 BC) tea was not used for drink but widely known as food and medicine to make people keep awake.
  • 4. The tea is used as a kind of beverage consumed on social communication occasions began from Tang Dynasty(618–907 CE) or earlier.
  • 5. The Classic of Tea (or Cha Jing in Chinese) is the earliest monograph on tea on the earth. The book is a complete knowledge about Chinese tea culture which includes medical functions, tea picking, tea producing and tea cooking.
  • 6. Tea is considered to be introduced to Europe by a Portuguese priest called Jasper de Cruz. He traveled to China in 1590 and brought some tea plants when he went back home.
  • 7. The expression for tea in a lot of countries derives from “cha” – Chinese pronunciation for tea. Russians call it “cha’i”, which sounds like Chinese phrase “chaye” (which means tea leaves) like the pronunciation in northern China, and the English word “tea” seems from pronunciation from Xiamen.
  • 8. The planet’s most ancient grown tea tree is over 3,200 years old and is located in Fengqing County, south-west China’s Yunnan province.
  • 9. China produces the most tea in the world and supplies around 30 percent of total tea demands to the world. India is the close second producer.
  • 10. The world’s most high-priced tea can be found in the mountain ranges of Ya’An in China’s southwest Sichuan province. 

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Health Benefits of Chinese Tea

Why we drink tea? Well known as a source for various nutrients and antioxidants, tea has gained even more popularity in modern times with claims of it’s usefulness ranging from losing weight to boosting your immune system. Among the many things to experience during your China Tea Culture Tour, drinking Chinese tea is the must. Just drink a cup of tea to experience the wonder of this magic leaf. Here below are the top 10 benefits of drinking Chinese tea:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Chinese teas are loaded with polyphenols which have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help to reduce the risk of a number of diseases like heart disease.  
  • Weight Loss: Several types of Chinese tea, including Pu-erh tea and Chinese green tea are known to help people lose weight. These teas help your body metabolize fat and lose the unwanted pounds.
  • Increased Muscle Endurance:The antioxidants in green tea help to fuel your longer workouts by helping your body burn fat more readily. It also helps with increasing stamina as well.
  • Cancer Protection: The high quantity of antioxidants have shown to be effective at warding off certain forms of cancers like; breast, prostate, ovarian and colon.
  • Fights Free Radicals: The antioxidants found inside Chinese teas helps to fight off the free radicals that are responsible for a number of diseases like heart disease and Alzheimer.
  • Defends Bone Loss: Green teas are especially helpful for bone health, which helps to improve bone strength and bone density.
  • Regulates Blood Sugar levels: Several compounds found inside tea helps the body to better metabolize sugars which is really good for people with Type 2 Diabetes.  
  • Lower cholesterol: Chinese green tea such as Longjing tea and Biluochun tea contain catechins, which act as “hypolipidemics” that lowers your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and raises your HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
  • Boost Brain Power : The anti-aging effects associated with drinking Chinese teas are thought to help ward off the effects neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.  
  • Healthy Teeth and Gums:All types of Chinese tea are natural source of fluoride which can strengthen your teeth and prevent tooth decay.

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How to Drink Chinese Tea?

After you have tasted the cup of tea made by the tea master, maybe you will want to try to make a cup of tea on your own. There are no hard and fast rules for brewing tea because there are so many taste preferences and drinking habits. Also, each tea has its own characteristics. Remember though, these are only guidelines, so feel free to make the tea your own and steep to YOUR liking. The following are rough guides for browing Chinese tea.

Brewing in 12 oz. Pot Quantity Temperature Time
Green Tea ¾ – 2 Tbsp (4 gms) 185 – 200F 1 – 2 mins.
Yellow Tea ¾ – 1 Tbsp (4gms) 185F 1 – 2 mins.
White Tea 2 Tbsp (4 gms) 180 – 200F 1 – 3 mins.
Scented Tea ¾ Tbsp (4 gms) 200F 1 – 2 mins.
Wulong Tea ¾ – 2 Tbsp (4 gms) 212F 1 – 2 mins.
Black Tea 1 Tbsp – 2 Tbsp (4 gms) 212F 1 – 2 mins.
Puer Tea 1 – 2 Tbsp (4 gms) 212F 1 – 2 mins.


  • 1. Use the same amount of leaf. About 1 level teaspoon for small grades (you may want to get a caddy spoon) for an 8 oz. cup.
  • 2. Use the appropriate water temperature for the tea you are using. For Dark Oolongs, Blacks, Compressed, Flavored Blacks, and Tisanes use fresh cold water brought to a rolling boil. For Greens, Whites, Yellows, Green Oolongs and Flavored Greens bring the kettle to about 185° F. If you’re sharp, you can hear the water get quiet before it boils. More delicate teas will perform their best with slightly cooler water.
  • 3. Steep for the appropriate brew time for the tea you are using. Remember, some teas can be brewed several times and brew time changes for each brewing. For the first brew: 2-3 min. for Greens, Whites, Yellows and Compressed; 30-90 sec. for good Oolongs though some like 3-5 minutes; 3-4 min. for Blacks and Flavors; 5-8 min. for Tisanes.
  • 4. Remove the leaves from the tea liquor when finished brewing. For stronger tea use more leaf.
  • 5. For iced tea, use double the amount of leaf but use the same brew time. Pouring it warm over ice dilutes it perfectly.

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Where to Buy Chinese Tea

With the booming e-commerce, consumers can buy Chinses Teas online. However, we still suggest buying on site, as you can taste and know exactly whether the tea worth your money or not. Try to buy the teas in its place of origin, for example, you should buy Puer tea in Yunnan, Oolong tea in Fujian and Green tea like Longjing in Hangzhou, etc. There are lots of tea houses and tea markets in the tea production regions, if you have enough time, tea markets are recommended for its wide choice of tea products for customers.

Top 10 Tea Markets in China

Besides the following named ones, Anhui Huangshan Tea City, E Qiao Tea Wholesale Market and Henan Zhengzhou Tea Wholesale Market are also well-known in inland cities. 

Southern China

Northern China

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