It is made from leaves that are smoked over pine fires, which gives the tea its distinctive flavor. A well-known example of Lapsang souchong is Tarry Souchong, which has a strong, smoky flavor with hints of pine and spices.
China is known as the birthplace of tea and has a rich history of cultivating and enjoying the beverage. From the refreshing and delicate flavors of green tea to the bold and earthy notes of pu'er, Chinese tea is incredibly diverse and offers something for every palate. In this guide, we will explore the different types of Chinese tea and traditional methods of preparation. Whether you are a seasoned tea connoisseur or just starting to discover the world of tea, this guide will provide a comprehensive introduction to the rich cultural tradition of Chinese tea.
White tea is the least processed of all teas and is made from the delicate young leaves and buds of the tea plant. It is known for its light, sweet flavor and subtle aromas. Silver Needle, a type of white tea, is especially popular because of its light, floral flavor and the fact that it is crafted from the soft, downy buds of the tea plant.
Black tea is fully fermented and has a bold, robust flavor. It is the most common type of tea in the Western world and is often served with milk and sugar. One popular example of black tea is Keemun, which is grown in the Anhui province of China and has a smooth, slightly sweet flavor with notes of pine and fruit.
Oolong tea is partially fermented, giving it a flavor that is somewhere between black and green tea. It is known for its complex, layered flavors and aromas, which can range from fruity and floral to nutty and woody. The best representation of this category is Tieguanyin, which is grown in the Fujian province of China and has a smooth, slightly sweet flavor with hints of flowers and fruit.
Yellow tea is a rare and little-known type of tea that is similar to green tea but with a more subtle flavor and aroma. It is made from the same tea plants as green tea, but the leaves are allowed to yellow and oxidize slightly before they are fired, which gives the tea its unique color and flavor. The rarest of these teas is Junshan Yinzhen, which is produced on Junshan Island in Hunan Province. The tea is popular due to its sweet, floral flavor with hints of honey and apricot.
Green tea is the most popular type of tea in China and is known for its refreshing, grassy flavor and high levels of antioxidants. It is made from the unfermented leaves of the tea plant and is often enjoyed in its natural state without milk or sugar. One popular example of green tea is Longjing, also known as Dragonwell, which is grown in the Zhejiang province and has a sweet, nutty flavor with a delicate aroma.
Dark tea, also known as post-fermented tea, is a type of tea that undergoes a process of microbial fermentation after it is dried and rolled. This process gives dark tea a unique flavor and aroma and also helps preserve the tea for long periods of time. A widely recognized variety of dark tea is Sichuan dark tea, a type of dark tea that is grown in the Sichuan province of China and known for its strong, earthy flavor and dark color.
Pu-erh tea is a type of fermented tea that is made from the leaves of the tea plant and is known for its rich, earthy flavor and dark color. It is often aged for many years, which gives it a smooth, mellow flavor. Pu-erh from the Yunnan region is considered a top pick in this category, famous the world over for its bold, earthy flavor with hints of chocolate and nuts.
Lapsang souchong is a type of black tea that is grown in the Fujian province of China and is known for its strong, smoky flavor. It is made from leaves that are smoked over pine fires, which gives the tea its distinctive flavor. A well-known example of Lapsang souchong is Tarry Souchong, which has a strong, smoky flavor with hints of pine and spices.
There are several methods with regard to how these teas may be prepared, the most popular of the lot being "Gongfu cha," which involves using a small teapot and cups to brew the tea. The tea leaves are placed in the pot, and hot water is added, allowing the tea to steep for a few minutes before being poured into the cups. The process is repeated several times, with the steeping time increasing slightly with each infusion.
The exactness of the method employed depends on the tea that is used, with variables such as steep time and water temperature adjusted depending on the tea that is used for brewing.