Chinese people have been consuming tea for nearly 4 millenniums.
Together with rice, salt, sauce, vinegar, and oil, the Chinese considered tea as one of the seven staples to start their day.
Various Tea Types
Chinese tea may fall under 5 distinct varieties, based on their preparation methods. Here are the main categories:
Also being referred to as “Red Chinese Tea” this tea variety is fermented before roasting.
Keep in mind that black tea is a subsequent type developed based on green tea.
This is the type that maintains the original color of the tea leaves without any processing or fermenting.
Also called Wulong tea, this class is something between green and black in terms of processing, as it’s semi-fermented.
This is a type of tea which as its name suggests, it’s compressed and then solidified into a certain form.
Many people consider this as good to carry on the go.
This is also mainly provided to the ethnic minorities residing in the border regions of China.
This type of Chinese tea is labelled as “scented” because it is produced by blending aromatic blossoms in the tea leaves during processing.
Some commonly used flowers for making this blend include jasmine and magnolia.
in THIS ARTICLE there are other varieties! Keep a look to know more!
The Chinese Tea Production
Chinese believe that a young tea plant must develop for 5 years before its leaves can be harvested.
The old trunk of the plant should be trimmed to encourage new stems to develop out of the roots in the year after.
This somewhat restorative phase should be repeated to allow the plant to produce leaves for nearly 100 years.
The ideal tea harvesting season varies according to the local climate conditions and from one region to the other.
As it is widely known, China is the home country of tea.
It is packed with tea shrubs as old as 6 thousand years and human plantation of these plants goes back to two thousand years ago.
Nowadays, it is known that tea is produced in broad Chinese regions from the Hainan Island down in the wild south to Shandong province the North, Tibet in the Southwest to Taiwan.
Chinese tea is cultivated in more than 20 regions
On the waters of West Lake in Hangzhou, the homeplace of the famous Longjing green tea, it was published that the harvesting begins from the end of March and goes through October.
A seasoned female harvester can only pick 600 grams of green tea leaves in a single day.
Following the picking process, the new leaves must be placed in tea cauldrons.
This process though has been widely mechanized, however, the finest Longjing tea still has to be parched manually, yielding only 250 grams every 30 minutes.
Then, the tea cauldrons are subject to electric heat and a temperature setting of 25C or 74F.
It also takes 4 pounds of fresh Chinese tea leaves to yield one pound of withered Chinese tea.
For the grinding, withering, rolling, drying and shaping process, different types of machines are utilized.
This work has produced around 100kg of completed Chinese tea/hour, freeing the workers from their heavy load