Chinese Tea: The Best Types From Green Tea to Black Tea
From black tea and green tea to oolongs and pu-erh tea, the Chinese know how to make an incredible cup of tea. With centuries of experience cultivating tea plants and honing the artistry of tea making, it's no surprise that there are dozens of delicious Chinese teas. Here, we've narrowed things down to our top ten favorite Chinese tea options. From grassy and roasted green teas to delicately floral white teas, there's something for everyone on this list.
The Best Types of Chinese Tea
Pai Mu Tan
Also known as Bai Mu Dan, this type of Chinese white tea is cultivated in the Fujian Province. The tea is made using one tea buds and two young leaves resulting in a fuller-bodied flavor than Silver Needle tea. It offers hints of orchid and floral aromas and brews into a pale yellow hue.
Dragon Well Tea
Also known as Longjing, this Chinese tea is cultivated in Longjing Village located near Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. The tea is cultivated on five different mountain peaks in the Xihu or West Lake area. The most desirable varieties include Shi Feng and Cloud Peak Dragon Well teas.
It is a pan-roasted green tea that offers nutty and toasted flavors. The tea comes in a variety of grades with the highest quality Longjing teas among the most expensive Chinese teas on the market. The tea has large concentrations of amino acids such as L-theanine as well as antioxidants including catechins and polyphenols.
Biluochun is a Chinese green tea that is cultivated in the Dongting Mountains, as well as the Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces. The tea offers a nutty flavor that is more robust than other green teas. The tea is rolled into tight pearls, which unfurl gracefully when they are infused in hot water. The tea is easily recognizable thanks to its rolled appearance that looks similar to a snail shell.
Huang Shan Maofeng
Also known as Yellow Mountain Fur Peak tea, this Chinese green tea is cultivated in the Anhui Province of China. The tea is harvested in early spring and consists only of the two youngest tea leaves and one bud. The leaves feature small, delicate white hairs similar to Silver Needle white tea. The tea is celebrated during the Qingming Festival and features a mild flavor with sweet and orchid-like tasting notes.
Xinyang Maojian Tea
Also called Yu Maofeng, this green tea is produced in Xinyang in the Henan Province of China. It is among the Chinese Famous Teas and offers a brisk flavor that is accented by a lingering aftertaste. The tea I made using hairy tips — young tea leaves with fine, silver-colored hairs. The tea boasts a strong floral aroma that will delight the senses.
This is a yellow tea hailing from Junshan Island located in Hunan Province. The tea is extremely similar to Bai Hao Yinzhen or Silver Needle tea. This yellow tea offers a delicate floral and mildly fruity aroma with a light body. It brews into a pale sunshine-hued color and is considered one of the highest quality Chinese teas.
Da Hong Pao
Da Hong Pao is one of the world's most expensive teas. The tea is a Wuyi rock tea, which is cultivated in the Wuyi Mountains and is also known as Big Red Robe tea. The highest quality Da Hong Pao oolong tea is made from tea plants that are over 1,000 years old. The tea boasts a unique flavor as it is grown in a rocky environment that is high in minerals. It's typically consumed by elite populations and is often reserved for visiting foreign dignitaries and important guests. It's also suitable for use in the traditional Gongfu tea ceremony.
Also known as Iron Goddess of Mercy Tea, this Chinese tea is a rich oolong tea. These tea leaves can also be used to make red tea — black tea in the Western world — or green tea. Tieguanyin oolong teas offer a robust flavor that lingers on the tongue minutes after each sip. It's brightly floral with a mildly sweet aftertaste. The tea is largely produced in Anxi in the Fujian Province using the leaves of the Camellia sinensis tea plant.
Keemun Black Tea
A favorite of Queen Elizabeth, it's no surprise that Keemun tea is one of the best Chinese teas. The tea has notes of stone fruit and unsweetened chocolate in a malty body with a mildly smoky aroma. It's a favorite of people who like high-caffeine teas and offers a robust flavor similar to that of coffee.
Lapsang Souchong is one of the most distinct Chinese teas. It is a smoked tea that smells and tastes just like a roaring campfire. The tea leaves are roasted over open pine fires, which impart a rich, smoky flavor and aroma to each leaf. The tea is cultivated on Mount Wuyi in the Fujian Province and is made using large, coarse tea leaves from lower stalks of the tea plant.
While China is most famous for its true teas, it also makes exquisite herbal teas and flavored blends across the country from Yunnan Province to Anhui. One of the most famous herbal teas from China is jasmine tea. The tea offers a subtle floral flavor and sweet aroma.
Sip High-Quality Tea With These Delicious Chinese Creations
You can't talk about the best teas or tea culture without touching on the importance of China. From new tea blends to traditional strains, Chinese tea is exquisite regardless of which type of tea you enjoy most. From herbal tea blends like jasmine green tea to types of tea such as green tea and pu-erh tea, China offers options bursting with flavor.
Not only is tea delicious, but it also offers excellent health benefits. Thanks to high amounts of catechins, polyphenols, and vitamins, a loose leaf tea is a great alternative to sugary soft drinks that can damage your weight loss goals. A great cup of tea can also help you unwind after a tough day at the office and keep your immune system healthy by keeping you hydrated.
Try a tea sampler or tea set to discover the best teas China has to offer. Steep your favorite tea flavor in hot water and sip your way to happiness. Whether you choose to fill your teacups and teapots with a fermented tea or a minimally processed blend, you're sure to love the options on this list of the best Chinese teas.