Types and varieties of Chinese tea

At the very beginning of the journey, the variety of Chinese tea can be confusing. Do not be afraid ahead of time: there are more than a thousand varieties of Chinese tea, and there are only six types! Let's figure out how this variety fits into a concise classification.

Classification of Chinese tea

First of all, tea is determined by the variety of the tea bush, its geographical location, and its processing. In China, the classification of tea is based on the degree of fermentation of raw materials, i.e. how much tea raw materials undergo enzymatic oxidation after drying. This process in the sheet is artificially interrupted by the following processing process, for example, frying. According to the Chinese classification, all tea is divided into six large groups: white, green, yellow, oolong, red, and black (Pu-erh is included in this category).

White tea

The leaf is harvested and dried naturally. Oxidation partially occurs during drying. Fermentation goes on in a special way because the leaf has not crumpled. White tea refers to the color of the most famous variety of Bai Hao Yin Zhen, which is covered with delicate silver fluff. The main volume is produced in Fujian Province. The number of leaves taken together with the kidney will determine the grade and price: tea made entirely from the kidneys is most appreciated. The delicate nature of white tea requires attention, which is a step in the right direction. Its sweetness is similar to birch sap, with a refined bouquet of berries and flowers. Leaf varieties become denser with age, and kidney varieties are better to drink fresh. They open up perfectly during cooking on the fire. Try them!


White tea (kit. 白;; pinyin bái chá)

Three different flavors of white tea:

— Leaf white tea #4

— Kidney white tea #1

— Aged white tea #3

Green tea

Minimally fermented: the leaf is harvested, dried, twisted, warmed, and dried completely. In it, you will find sweetness, light astringency, and the colors of spring. The feeling of a taut bowstring, a juicy cut of grass will remain on the lips. In green tea, freshness is appreciated, since rare green tea retains its taste for longer than one season. When brewing, it is imperative to monitor the temperature of the water and not overdo it. Gaiwan is ideal for brewing green tea.

Green tea (kit. 绿茶; pinyin lǜ chá)

Fresh green tea:

- Green tea #1

- Green tea #2

- Green tea #3

- Green tea #4

Yellow tea

The degree of fermentation is even higher, but its quality is different — it takes place in a moist, warm environment with limited oxygen access. This process is called "languor". The taste of yellow is closer to green, but the emphasis shifts to depth, softness, and mystery. Notes of bitter almonds and smoky caramel appear. Tea of this quality is impressive and elite. Yellow tea is a rarity in the market. Buy this tea only from trusted sellers, because there are many fakes on the market.


Oolong begins with a special kind of shrub with fleshy leaves for making. Oolongs are divided into two large groups: light and dark. The light ones come into contact with the green and yellow ones according to their taste profile, but they are often more fragrant and denser. Dark teas are closer to red teas. Between these poles, there is a gamut of flavors with countless nuances. Cooking technology involves fermentation from partial to almost complete, with or without baking in the end. The most diverse group of teas. The aromatics of oolongs are complex and bright, the taste is multilevel, unfolding over time, and can resemble perfume and essential oils. Oolongs are the heart and crown of the art of drinking tea.

Oolong tea (Chinese: 乌龙茶; pinyin wū lóng chá)

Famous oolongs from all over China:

 Tie-Guan Yin #1

 GABA Oolong #1

 Aged Oolong #1

 Dan tsung#1

 Wishan Oolong #1

Red tea

These are highly fermented teas, produced from different cultivars. Red teas tend to be warm, dense, and bright. Also among them are weightless, fruity-spicy kidney teas from Yunnan, and Taiwanese camphor-citrus Assamica hybrids. Thick-smoked Xiao Zhong will surprise you with its unique aroma of pine smoke, and exquisite wild plants will delight with a slight sourness. The palette of reds is wide. Be aware of this! When brewing, they give themselves generously, and quickly. Therefore, part with them, taking a few steps from the top of the taste, then you will not know emptiness and tartness at parting.

Warm, classic red Chinese tea:

 Red tea #3

 Red tea #4

 Red tea #6

 Red tea #10

Black tea

This tea passes through the stage of wet stacking, so it has notes of shu pu-erh in taste, but the similarities end there. For Hay Cha, coarse raw materials like cuttings and mature leaves are often used. Different post-fermentation methods and the stages of aging in the warehouse determine the differences between varieties of black tea. It has a dense taste and a hidden sweetness in the aftertaste, deep wine notes, hints of nuts, and creaminess.

Black tea (kit. 黑茶; pinyin hēi chá)

Traditional Liuan black tea in baskets:

 black tea #1

 black tea #2

 black tea #3


They are divided into shu (ripe) pu-erh and sheng (raw) pu-erh. Both are produced in Yunnan Province, but using completely different technology.

Sheng (raw) pu-erh is similar in manufacturing technology to green teas, but they are not thermally fixed in the final product, so they develop and change over time. Shen teas are similar to green teas in that they are bright, springy, and herbaceous. As they age, they lose their audacity, and bitterness, and sink into the nectar depth, like dried fruits. It is noteworthy that old trees over 300 years old can be used for sheng (raw) pu-erh.

Shu (ripe) pu-erh passes through the process of wet stacking: its peculiarity lies in the combined action of tea leaf enzymes and the symbiosis of fungal microflora. In the case of shu, the shutter speed of pancakes does not matter. Raw materials, maturation processes, and the technical level will have the biggest influence on taste. Shu is appreciated for its nuts, chocolate, dried fruits profile, and smooth, powerful body. He is easy-going in brewing even for a beginner and loves boiling water.

Pu-erh tea (kit. 普洱茶; pinyin pǔ'ěr chá)

Young and old sheng (raw) pu-erh:

Sheng pu-erh#1

 Sheng pu-erh#3

Shu (ripe) pu-erh in the shape of a pancake, head, and nest:

 Shu pu-erh #2

 Shu pu-erh #10

 Shu pu-erh #16

Finally, we will share with you another "secret": when choosing tea, the place where it is grown, the soil, the height, and the professionalism of the technologist — in a word, the quality of raw materials will be paramount. But the type and variety of tea do not guarantee gastronomic delight: any tea can be prepared at the highest level.

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