How To Store Chinese Tea

How To Store Chinese Tea

All teas benefit from being stored in a cool dry place where the temperature does not fluctuate very much.  Tea is very good at absorbing odours so keep it away from anything smelly.  Airtight containers are inexpensive and much better than the plastic pouches or cardboard containers that tea typically comes in.
Almost all teas last for about one year. Green/White teas deteriorate more quickly than fermented teas because they oxidize faster when exposed to the air.  Always ask how long a tea has been sitting on the shelf before you buy and when new teas will be in stock. Vacuum packaging is a mixed blessing as tea lasts longer on the shelf but the packaging may crush the leaves and make the tea bitter. Many teas come in a cardboard container with a vacuum packed pouch inside. Keep the tea sealed in the pouch and keep the pouch in the cardboard container if you don’t have any airtight containers.

If you have airtight tea containers, you can store all Green/White teas, Taiwan Oolong, Tie Guan Yin (Gun Yam, Iron Buddha, Buddha of Mercy, Chinese Oolong) and Phoenix teas in the refrigerator. As a result, these teas will actually improve in flavour over time but beware that once you have stored a tea in a fridge, you cannot then store back on a shelf or the tea flavour will diminish rapidly. Do not use this technique if you do not have airtight containers or the tea will absorb every odour in your refrigerator and ruin your tea.

Pu Erh Tea (Bow Lay in Cantonese) mellows quickly and the flavour develops dramatically when kept in an unglazed clay jar, preferably in a cool dry place with little temperature fluctuation. Younger tea is less expensive to buy than older tea so you can buy a newer tea you like and keep it for many years. If you are keeping new tea for many years, keep it in a clay jar and when ready to drink, break it up into small pieces and store in a clay jar. This is called “waking up the tea” and the flavour will begin to develop more rapidly. If a clay jar is not available, a cardboard box or paper bag will do but make sure these have no odours from the manufacturing.

How To Tell the Quality of the Oolong Tea

The best quality leaves are heavy and stiff and very much look like dragonfly in shape.  The golden liquor of Iron Goddess is the richest in taste and its sweetest smell doesn’t go away even after brewed sever times.  It’s awesomely richest taste and long lasting orchid smell is the characteristic of the best quality oolong tea – tie guan yin.(Iron Goddess of Mercy)

Tie Guan Yin is often called “Beauty Tea” as it helps in reducing fats and it also assist in digesting food. It is available at hundreds of shops but question arise how to find the best quality oolong tea – Iron Goddess?  Here are few guidelines which will help you in finding the best quality oolong tea – tie guan yin:

Appearance:

Well generally it’s not quite difficult to distinguish the best quality oolong tea – tie guan yin and a fake or bad oolong tea especially for the person who is well aware of the taste and shape of tie guan yin.  Good quality leaves are fresh, jade green, oil surfaced, stiff and healthy.  This green and red combination gives the liquor golden or orange color.

different grade tie guan yin

Voice:

When you put the best quality oolong tea – tie guan yin into the pot, due to heaviness of leaves you can clearly hear the crispy voice of leaves which sounds like “dang bang”.

Smell:

Tie guan yin smell is the best thing that really distinguishes it from any other tea.  The best quality oolong tea – tie guan yin has a strong smell which still remains fresh even after it is brewed 7 times.  This smell is like the orchid which remains for a longer time than any other tea.

Taste:

Brewed tie guan yin tastes mellow, sweet, fresh aftertaste and smells like some orchid flower if it’s the best quality Oolong tea – tie guan yin.  The liquor color of good tie guan yin is golden, rich and very clear and on brewing the leaves becomes soft but still remain bright like oily surface which is called “satin surface”.  While the low quality tea is have different smell and a bit bitter and thin taste.  The liquor color is red or dark brown type which is due to inferior quality sick leaves and smells smoky.

Bottom of Leaf:

While buying the tea, see the leaves of the tea.  Best quality tie guan yin leaf is shiny and clean.  The health can be felt from its thickness and the leaf will be complete and flat.  At the bottom of leaf you can see the red edges and veins of the leaf very clearly.

different bottom of leaf

Health Benefits of OolongTea

1. Boosts your metabolism, causing weight loss.

Oolong tea helps you burn fat faster by raising your metabolism for up to two hours after drinking it. Oolong also contains polyphenols that are able to block enzymes that build fat. This means you can lose weight with oolong tea, so long as you don’t load it with refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. If your tastes lean towards sweet tea, consider using a small amount of raw honey, maple syrup, stevia or agave syrup—all of which are sugars low on the glycemic index.

2. Lowers cholesterol

Oolong is known to reduce cholesterol levels and promote heart health. Because oolong tea is semi-oxidized, it produces a perfectly sized polyphenol molecule that is able to activate the enzyme lipase, which is known to dissolve body fat.

3. Increases mental alertness

This healing hot cuppa is known to revitalize your mental alertness and performance, naturally, because it contains caffeine. Be careful if you are sensitive to caffeine and limit your consumption to one lightly steeped cup a day, or indulge a few times a week.

4. Aids digestion

Oolong can help aid digestion for those not sensitive to caffeine. The tea alkalizes the digestive tract, reducing inflammation in those with acid reflux and ulcer problems. Because it is mildly antiseptic, oolong tea can clear bad bacteria from your belly. Its calm, smooth flavor can soothe the stomach when consumed hot.

5. Promotes healthy hair

Due to its high level of antioxidants, oolong tea can prevent hair loss if you make a tea rinse out of the leaves. Not only that, but your hair will be thicker and shinier. Oolong softens and adds lustre to your hair.

6. Betters your skin condition

Eczema often occurs in conjunction with allergies or sensitivities. Oolong tea is able to suppress those allergic reactions because it combats free radicals, which is a healing property of an antioxidant. Also, the antioxidants found in oolong are essential for vibrant, youthful skin. Drinking oolong can greatly slow down the aging process, so it’s a great anti-aging tool.

7. Stabilizes blood sugar

When you have type 2 diabetes, your blood glucose levels are elevated. Studies have shown that those suffering from diabetes could benefit from drinking oolong which, in studies, has decreased blood glucose to a healthy level. The antioxidants in oolong, which comes from polyphenols, does wonders for metabolizing sugar.

8. Prevents tooth decay

Both oolong and green tea protect teeth from acid produced by certain bacteria. The production of acid and the growth of bacteria are both inhibited by oolong tea, which means it is effective in preventing tooth decay and build-up plaque.

9. Prevents osteoporosis and forms strong bones

Oolong can protect your bones and prevent osteoporosis. Those who consistently drink oolong tea are less likely to lose their bone mineral density, helping retain minerals from healthy foods consumed. It has been discovered that oolong contains magnesium and calcium in its leaves.

10. Strengthens the immune system

Known for its anti-cancer properties, oolong tea assists in maintaining a healthy immune system. The antioxidant flavonoids found in the tea prevent cellular damage. The production of anti-bacterial proteins is much higher in those who drink oolong tea, indicating a strong immune response when fighting infection.

Oolong Tea 乌龙茶

Oolong tea belongs to the category of partially fermented tea. Its degrees of oxidation, fall between green and black tea, are mainly controlled by the pan-firing procedure. Oo (Wu) means Blackand Long means Dragon. Oolong Tea is also known in China as “Qing Cha”.The bright yellowish infusion has a fresh rich flavour and a long-lasting aromatic aftertaste.

A Quick History of Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea as we know it today is the result of a long evolution, originating during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907)  in the Beiyun region of Phoenix Mountain (Fenghuanshang) in Fujian Province. It was first known as Beiyun Tea and because of its fine quality and unique flavour, it was the first tea to be made a tribute tea, in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In the tribute custom, tea regions were selected by the Emperor to produce tea to be offered as a gift to the royal court, which was a great honour and good for business.

乌龙In time, government officials, monks and scholars began visiting and emigrating to the Fujian area and were surprised with the strong “earth-stone” taste of the teas from the Wuyi Mountain region, so different from the un-fermented Green Tea which was the only tea that existed in China to that point. These teas came to be known as Wuyi or Cliff Tea. Hearing of this wonderful new tea, the Emperor sent a sample of an un-fermented compressed Green Tea cake to Wuyi and asked for tribute tea. What he received was Dragon Phoenix Compressed Tea which was made from a mold which imprinted the tea cake with the design of a dragon and a phoenix. This tea became very famous as a result.

The fame of Wuyi teas spread far and wide and continued to be designated as a tribute tea throughout the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644 – 1911).

In 1725, tea producers in the Anxi region of Fujian adapted the methods of making   traditionalWuyi Tea and improved the technology to develop a new tea – Oolong. In 1796, Oolong Tea was introduced to the Northern Fujian region and to Taiwan, where today, each region is well known for their distinctive Oolong Teas.

 

Most Popular Varieties:

Production of Oolong Tea

乌龙6Oolong Tea has 7 processing steps:

Withering

Picked leaves are spread out (inside and/or outside in the sun) to soften the cell walls of leaves. This draws the moisture to the surface for evaporation, softens the leaves, begins natural enzymatic fermentation and sets up the next stage of processing. This also reduces the grassy taste of tea leaves.

Tossing/Bruising (Turning Over)

Known as “Shaking” in Chinese, because in the old days, the leaves were simply shaken in a wicker basket. Today, this step is done with the aid of machines to further break down the leaves by mechanical means (as opposed to chemical means as in “Withering”). This improves oxidation and mixes chemical elements from the stems with the leaves, removing bitterness and balancing the flavour of the tea.

Oxidization (Partial and Full)

This step used in Oolongs and Black Teas continues the natural process of fermentation by allowing the leaves to rest after the Withering or Tossing/Bruising (Turning Over) steps. The time allowed determines the amount of fermentation for the tea being made. At this point, the leaves turn to a darker green or even a red colour, due to the breaking down of the cell structure of the leaves. It is at this stage where the tea begins to develop its grassy, flowery or fruity taste characteristics.

“Kill-Green” (also known as Fixing”)乌龙5

Stops the natural fermentation and growing processes within the leaves without damaging them.  Steaming the leaves, hand pressing in a hot pan and baking techniques are used. This also sets up the next step for Rolling/Forming the leaves.

Rolling/Forming

Leaves are passed through hot and/or cold rollers to slightly break down the leaves, which establishes the shape of the leaves and intensifies the tea flavour.

Drying

Establishes the final moisture content of the leaves, stops fermentation, prevents mold growth, removes any grassy leaf taste and develops the tea’s aroma.  Sun drying, pan heating and hot air methods are used.

Firing

(Oolongs) Various methods of roasting in a pan or a basket with charcoal or electric heat are used to give a smoky flavour or a fruity characteristic. 

How To Tell the Quality of the Green Tea

There are so many types of Green Tea in China, here we use Dragon Well Green Tea as a example

The Dry Dragon Well Tea Leaves Before Brewing:

In Dragon Well green teas, the appearance of the dry leaf is smooth, flat and spear-like.   Like Grade A below (shown on the far left), the color of the dry leaf is yellow-green with a straight flat body, and one leaf and bud which are well-proportioned.   It has a light, delicate grassy fragrance and is smooth to the touch.

The Grade B (shown in middle) is called Premium Grade Dragon Well Green Tea, which also has a green color, but the color is a much deeper green with a much more intense fragrance and flavor.   It has a very elegant flavor to it.

The leaf of Grade C (shown on the far right) is much darker and the leaves are tight and heavy.  It smells very mild and light but does not keep well in storage for as long as the other grades.

Differences when brewing Dragon Well Tea

Flavor and Aroma

With Grade A Longjing tea, it presents a delicate and aromatic fragrance that is smooth and long lasting and similar to that of a freshly plucked green bean. It tastes very fresh, smooth and mellow with a hint of natural sweetness.

In the Grade B Longjing tea, the leaves will brew up to a bright green liquor with a mellow fresh taste that has no sharpness to it. It is smooth and delicious.

Grade C Longjing tea will not store for very long before going bitter. However, if brewed while still fresh it has a very mild flavor similar to the Grade B Dragon Well, but the leaves brew up a much more deeply green color than the other two grades.

绿茶12副本

The Brewed Tea Leaves and Buds

You can also tell the difference between different grades of Dragon Well green tea by simply observing the brewed tea leaves.  You can see that the Grade A Dragon Well on the far left is still very brightly colored, even after brewing.  The other two grades are more of a dark green color.

Additionally, the Grade A Dragon Well is always tender, slight and thin leaves with a very light appearance while the other grades look thicker and the leaves appear broader.

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The Color of the Brewed Dragon Well

Observe carefully the color of the brewed tea liquor. A high-quality Dragon Well has a tender green, clear and bright color, with a touch of yellow. The darker the liquor is colored, the lower the quality of it.

The Flavor of the Brewed Dragon Well Tea

The best way to distinguish a nice, high quality Dragon Well is
by it’s flavor. It is just as aromaticsmooth and mellow to taste as
it’s aroma leads us to believe. A high quality Dragon Well will
always be soft and mellow flavored, never grassy or harsh. The
higher quality Dragon Well often have a slight floral note in
their undertones with very green and smooth overtones.

Finally, you can always observe the tea as it is brewing to notice
the color, flavor and depth of the more subtle notes in a fine Dragon
Well. A fine Dragon Well will be light and spear-like
with mellow and slightly floral notes, while the lower grades of
Dragon Well brew up darker with sharper notes to them.

 

 

How To Prepare Green Tea

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Note:

1:The most important thing is the balance of the bitterness and astringent taste of tannin and umami of amino acid in Green Tea. High quality green tea are prized because they containe high amounts of amino acid and strong umami tastes.

Therefore, with high quality Sencha, using about 70-80 C Temperature.Water of this temperature prevents extracting tannin, and boosts the umami of amino acid which can be extracted with lower temperature hot water.

2:When add water into Tea, leave it for 45  seconds to 1 minute, then pour out water.Don’t leave any water in the pot.If water was left in the pot,it will fume the tea leaves and ruins the taste.

 

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet.

It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body.

This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits.

Here are 10 health benefits of green tea that have been confirmed in human research studies.

1. Green Tea Contains Various Bioactive Compounds That Can Improve Health

Green tea is more than just green liquid.

Many of the bioactive compounds in the tea leaves do make it into the final drink, which contains large amounts of important nutrients.

It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants (1).

These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a role in aging and all sorts of diseases.

One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.

Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health.

Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride

That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk.

2. Compounds in Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function and Make You Smarter

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Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also make you smarter.

The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant.

It doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the “jittery” effects associated with too much caffeine.

What caffeine does in the brain is to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine

Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory .

However… green tea contains more than just caffeine. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier .

L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain.

Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. The combination of the two is particularly potent at improving brain function.

Because of the L-theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of “buzz” than coffee.

Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.

Bottom Line: Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.

3. Green Tea Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance

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If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there.

This is because green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate, in human controlled trials .

In one study in 10 healthy men, green tea increased energy expenditure by 4% .

Another study showed that fat oxidation was increased by 17%, indicating that green tea may selectively increase the burning of fat .

However, I’d like to point out that some studies on green tea don’t show any increase in metabolism, so the effects may depend on the individual .

Caffeine itself has also been shown to improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy .

In two separate review studies, caffeine has been shown to increase physical performance by 11-12%, on average .

Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.

4. Antioxidants in Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Various Types of Cancer

绿茶6

Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death.

It is well known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect .

Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes perfect sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do:

  • Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that whomen who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women .
  • Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men .
  • Colorectal cancer: A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer .

Multiple other observational studies show that green tea drinkers are significantly less likely to get various types of cancer .

It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because it can reduce the antioxidant value.

Bottom Line: Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.

5. Green Tea May Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

绿茶9

Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine producing neurons in the brain.

Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, potentally lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s .

Bottom Line: The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders.

6. Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria, Which Improves Dental Health and Lowers Your Risk of Infection

绿茶8

The catechins in green tea have other biological effects as well.

Some studies show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections .

Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay.

Studies show that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of streptococcus mutans. Green tea consumption is associated with improved dental health and a lower risk of caries .

Another awesome benefit of green tea… multiple studies show that it can reduce bad breath (41, 42).

Bottom Line: The catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria and some viruses. This can lower the risk of infections and lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of caries and reduced bad breath.

7. Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

绿茶7

Type II diabetes is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the past few decades and now afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.

This disease involves having elevated blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.

Studies show that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.

One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes .

According to a review of 7 studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, green tea drinkers had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic .

Bottom Line: Some controlled trials show that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of developing type II diabetes in the long term.

8. Green Tea May Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the biggest causes of death in the world .

Studies show that green tea can improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases.

This includes total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Green tea also dramatically increases the antioxidant capability of the blood, which protects the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is one part of the pathway towards heart disease .

Given the beneficial effects on risk factors, it is not surprising to see that green tea drinkers have up to a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Observational studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

9. Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Becoming Obese

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Given that green tea can boost the metabolic rate in the short term, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight.

Several studies show that green tea leads to decreases in body fat, especially in the abdominal area

One of these studies was a randomized controlled trial in 240 men and women that went on for 12 weeks. In this study, the green tea group had significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat .

However, some studies don’t show a statistically significant increases in weight loss with green tea, so this needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It is particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.

10. Green Tea May Decrease Your Risk of Dying and Help You Live Longer

green-tea

Of course, we all have to die eventually. That is inevitable.

However, given that green tea drinkers are at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it makes sense that it could help you live longer.

In a study of 40,530 Japanese adults, those who drank the most green tea (5 or more cups per day) were significantly less likely to die during an 11 year period (60):

  • Death of all causes: 23% lower in women, 12% lower in men.
  • Death from heart disease: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men.
  • Death from stroke: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men.

 

Another study in 14,001 elderly Japanese individuals aged 65-84 years found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6 year study period

 

Green Tea 绿茶

Green tea belongs to the category of unfermented teawhich goes through the pan-firing process right after the leaves have been plucked. It is now the most common type of tea in China. The infusion of green tea is yellowish green with a fresh aromatic taste.

Green tea undergoes minimal oxidation during processing. Raw tea leaves are heated, rolled and dried without fermentation. This enables the leaves to keep their original color and retain their naturally occurring antioxidants, which according to recent research can help reduce the risk of cancer and slow down the aging process.
茶经

With a longer history than other varieties, green tea is the most popular variety of tea consumed
domestically in China.A book written by Lu Yu in 600-900 AD (Tang Dynasty), “Tea Classic” 茶经;is considered important in green tea history.China is the world’s largest green tea exporter, comprising more than 80 percent of the global market.

Green tea is produced all over China. Representative varieties include Dragon Well (Longjing) from Zhejiang, Biluochun from Jiangsu and Huangshan Maofeng from Anhui Province.chinese_provinces-map

 

 

  • Zhejiang Province is home to the most famous of all teas, Xi Hu Longjing (西湖龙井), as well as many other high-quality green teas.
  • 龙井 Longjing
Maybe the most well-known green tea in China; originates from Hangzhou (杭州), the capital of Zhejiang Province. Longjing in Chinese literally means dragon well. It is pan-fired and has a distinctive flat appearance. The tasteless frying oil is obtained from tea seeds and other plants. There are many fake Longjings on the market[3] and in less-scrupulous teahouses around the country.
  • 景宁惠明茶 Huiming
Named after a temple in Zhejiang.
  • 开化龙顶 Kaihua Longding
A tea from Kaihua County known as Dragon Mountain.
  • 华顶云雾 Hua Ding
A tea from Tiantai County, named after a peak in the Tiantai mountain range.
  • 天目青顶 Qing Ding
A tea from Tian Mu, also known as Green Top.
  • 平水珠茶 Gunpowder
A popular tea also known as zhuchá, originates in Zhejiang but is now grown elsewhere in China. This tea is also the quintessential ingredient in brewingMoroccan mint tea, which is brewed green tea with fresh mint.
  • Jiangsu Province
A plate of Bi Luo Chun tea, from Jiangsu Province in China
  • 洞庭碧螺春 Bi Luo Chun
A Chinese famous tea also known as Green Snail Spring, from Dong Ting. As with Longjing, inauthentic Bi Luo Chun is common and most of the tea marketed under this name may, in fact, be grown in Sichuan.
  • 南京雨花茶 Rain Flower
A tea from Nanjing.
  • 金坛雀舌 Que She (Tongue of golden altar sparrow)
originate in Jin Tan city of Jiangsu Province.
  • 太湖白云 White Cloud
Camellia sinensis, the tea plant
  • Fujian Province is known for mountain-grown organic green tea as well as white tea and oolong tea. The coastal mountains provide a perfect growing environment for tea growing. Green tea is picked in spring and summer seasons.
  • 茉莉花茶 Jasmine tea (Mo Li Hua Cha)
A tea with added jasmine flowers.
  • 毛峰 Mao Feng tea
Meaning “furry peak”.
  • 翠剑 Cui Jian
Meaning “jade sword”.
  • Hubei Province
  • 玉露 Yu Lu
A steamed tea also known as Gyokuro (Jade Dew) in Japanese, made in the Japanese style.
  • Henan Province
An example of a Chinese green tea, called Mao Jian.
  • 信阳毛尖 Xin Yang Mao Jian
A Chinese famous tea also known as Green Tip, or Tippy Green.
  • Jiangxi Province
  • 珍眉 Chun Mee
Meaning “precious eyebrows”; from Jiangxi, it is now grown elsewhere.
  • 狗牯 Gou Gu Nao
A well-known tea within China and recipient of numerous national awards.
  • 云雾 Yun Wu
A tea also known as Cloud and Mist.
  • Anhui Province is home to several varieties of tea, including three Chinese famous teas. These are:
  • 大方 Da Fang
A tea from Huangshan also known as Big Square suneet.
  • 黄山毛峰 Huangshan Maofeng
A Chinese famous tea from Huangshan
  • 六安瓜片 Liuan Leaf
A Chinese famous tea also known as Melon Seed
  • 猴魁 Hou Kui
A Chinese famous tea also known as Monkey tea
  • 屯绿 Tun Lu
A tea from Tunxi District.
  • 火青 Huo Qing
A tea from Jing County, also known as Fire Green
  • 雾里青 Wuliqing
Wuliqing was known since the Song dynasty. Since 2002, Wuliqing is produced again according to the original processing methods by a company called Tianfang (天方). Zhan Luojiu a tea expert and professor at the Anhui Agricultural University who relived its production procedure.
  • Hyson
A medium-quality tea from many provinces, an early-harvested tea.
  • Sichuan Province
  • 竹叶青茶 Zhu Ye Qing
Also known as Meng Ding Cui Zhu or Green Bamboo
  • 蒙顶甘露 Meng Ding Gan Lu
A yellowish-green tea with sweet aftertaste.
  • 百美绿茶 Baimei Green Tea
  • Shaanxi Province
  • 汉中仙毫 Han Zhong Xian Hao
A green tea from the Han Zhong.

 

Production of Green Tea

Each successive century has provided some refinement in the processing of Green Tea but the process has 3 basic steps:

“Kill-Green” (also known as Fixing”)

Stops the natural fermentation and growing processes within the leaves without damaging them. Steaming the leaves, hand pressing in a hot pan and baking techniques are used. This also sets up the next step for Rolling/Forming the leaves.

Rolling/Forming

Leaves are passed through hot and/or cold rollers to slightly break down the leaves, which establishes the shape of the leaves and intensifies the tea flavour.

Drying

Stabilizes the final moisture content of the leaves, stops fermentation, prevents mould growth, removes any grassy leaf taste and develops the tea’s aroma. Sun drying, pan heating and hot air methods are used.

Because Green Tea is exposed to the least amount of processing, this tea retains more of the naturalness of the tea plant than any other tea. More than 85% of the caffeine, 50% of the chlorophyll and most vitamins are retained.

Storing Green Tea

Because Green Tea is exposed to the least amount of processing, the leaves are subject to natural enzymatic breakdown by oxidation just like any other organic material and faster than other teas. Green Tea is best kept in a cool, dry place in an airtight container or even in a refrigerator. We recommend refrigeration which actually improves the taste of the tea, as well as making it last much longer. However, if refrigerated storage is used, the tea should be kept refrigerated at all times as successive warming and cooling will degrade the tea.

 

How To Tell the Quality of the Pu’er Tea

See how the tea is packaged and stored. Pu-erh should generally be stored and aged in a dark, cool, dry area, away from other aromas, where it has access to some airflow. It is usually stored in its original paper wrapping. Tea shops that have elaborate or airtight, sealed packaging for Pu-erh cakes often are not offering the best Pu-erh for the best deals and are often not storing it properly.

Smell the tea. Good pu-erh tea should smell clear and distinctly “tea-ish”. Depending on the age, you may detect smoky or woody aromas. The tea should not have odd odours, and it should not smell moldy. Tea absorbs smell rather easily; thus, if improperly kept, the tea can pick up funny smells from anything: cooking smells, spices, etc.

Notice the tea’s appearance. Very ancient green pu-erh tea cakes should look reddish. Newer pu-erhs will be more yellow-to-greenish, but they will never look pure black. The tea cake should not have white/yellow dots which might be mold or yeast forming. When buying expensive tea cakes, it’s generally preferred for the cakes to be whole, without large cracks. Sometimes, people might sample expensive tea cakes by using a knife to scrape the centre of the depression behind the tea cake, flaking a few leaves off. This is seldom noticed, but be aware that you’ve lost a bit of tea if your cake has been sampled.

Do a taste test. This can only come with experience and more exposure to pu-erh tea. Purchasing samples from pu-erh tea museums can allow one to taste teas of different ages, enabling people to distinguish what’s good.

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