As Chinese New Year approaches, we’re taking a closer look at the exciting celebrations and the role China has on the world’s tea. While Art of Tea doesn’t feature China’s majestic cities or towns in the Location Collection, you can find countless Chinese teas at Art of Tea.
Tea originated in China and the landscape of China is still blooming with tea today. Chinese tea plants are notably wild, growing like vines in fields and in mountainous regions. This sprawl is somewhat unique to China, a country with a lot of space to spare. Other countries, like Japan, take a more measured approach to tea growing – shaping tea plants precisely for easy harvesting. Here are some of our favorite varieties of Chinese teas.
The two major players in the world’s Green Tea production are China and Japan. While all green teas are categorically the same, there’s a huge difference between some Chinese green teas and some Japanese green teas.
Chinese green teas are more-often-than-not pan-fried or baked, while Japanese green teas are often steamed. You can taste some of the powerful roasty flavors from pan-frying in Gunpowder. Jasmine-scented green teas from Art of Tea are also produced in China. These leaves are plucked and left underneath a mesh screen of night-blooming jasmine flowers to infuse the delicious scent of this fragrant flower.
Like Camellia sinensis, Oolongs originated in China. The word “oolong” translates to “black dragon.” This name might not make sense if you’re used to seeing oolong leaves rolled into pearls, but is completely understandable if you look at an unrolled oolong, like Wuyi Oolong. The shape of this tea leave is wavy, like a dragon’s body.
Oolong tea is semi-oxidized, meaning the leaves are slightly agitated to allow air to reach the leaves – much like biting into an apple oxidizes the exposed piece of apple. Some oolong teas, like Iron Goddess of Mercy, are rich not just in flavor, but in history.
While an oolong tea is only slightly-oxidized, a black tea is 100% oxidized. Even being 1% off classifies a tea as an oolong, as evident in our 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong. Black teas are the most prominent of the tea types. They’re most likely what you’re drinking with breakfast, what’s in your glass of iced tea, and what’s forming the base of some of your favorite blends. Notably exquisite Chinese black teas include Golden Monkey, a pale yellow tea with subtly sweet pistachio and molasses notes.
Of course, you can find Chinese teas from all tea types at Art of Tea. From Pu-erh to White Teas, Chinese tea plants can create wonderful versions of all the major tea types. China didn’t just introduce the world to tea. It’s kept its interest.