Quite a celebri-tea!
Seasoned tea drinkers around the world swear by Chinese green tea. Why the hype? A famously refreshing range of flavors? Sure. Several thousand years of history to go with it? Of course. But there’s more. Chinese green tea has hundreds of different cultivars, each with its unique aroma, taste, and texture. Add to this numerous tea growing regions and different processing methods involved in tea production in China. That means there’s a special variety of Chinese green tea to suit every tea drinker’s taste.
How does Chinese green tea differ from any other?
Tea leaves get their coloration and tannic qualities from a process known as oxidation, starting as soon as the leaves are picked. The longer the oxidation process lasts, the darker the tea gets. Black teas represent the final stage in the oxidation process, and Chinese black teas also enjoy great popularity. Oxidation must be stopped to get ‘green’ tea while the leaves still retain their fresh, herbal scents. There are many ways to do this; the Japanese, for instance, steam the freshly picked tea leaves, while the Chinese go for pan firing or oven roasting. Hence, the difference in flavors.
Looks matter…at least for Chinese tea masters
If you take a closer look at a pack of Chinese green tea, you’ll find that every tea leaf looks exactly the same. This is hardly a coincidence. Chinese tea masters go to great lengths to give their finished green tea leaves a very specific appearance. For example, the Dragon Well (Longjing) variety can be identified by its perfectly flat leaves. Similarly, Bi Luo Chun tea has distinctively curled leaves. In the Dragon Pearl and Gunpowder varieties, the leaves are tightly rolled up, preserving their aroma inside.
Chinese Tea for the novice
New to Chinese green tea? Start with Dragon Well. This is a great classic Chinese green tea with a mild flavor and slightly sweet aroma. Or, try Pearl Jasmine tea, a fragrant, ever-popular green tea variety. Make no mistake – quality Pearl Jasmine is a departure from the ‘jasmine tea’ found in most grocery stores. Traditionally, Chinese jasmine tea is infused with delicate jasmine flowers that do not possess the strength of industrial flavorings and essential oils. The idea is that the floral component should not dominate but subtly complement the vegetal green tea flavor in your cup.
Health benefits of Chinese green tea
A number of studies associate green tea with reduced chances of heart disease, stroke, and even cancer. Despite that scientific evidence seems to be somewhat inconclusive, there are more than enough reasons to adopt Chinese green tea into your lifestyle. Arguably, the real health benefits of green tea have more to do with the tea-drinking ritual itself. Sipping a cup of Chinese green tea throughout the day makes for a great way to beat stress. Its crisp, refreshing flavors and herbal tones are tailored for relaxation and rejuvenation. What’s more, a well-set tea drinking routine automatically increases your daily water intake, which by itself does a world of good.
Any pitfalls to avoid?
Barring the price tags that some premium Chinese green teas come with, the only catch is their shelf-life. Air-tight packaging helps to an extent, but as a general rule, green tea is best consumed as fresh as possible. Not that going through a pack of green tea is ever an issue.
10 best Chinese green teas to buy online
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Pi Lo Chun
Green tea from the Jiangsu province of China. Pi Lo Chun (sometimes written biluochun) is made from the finest tender buds, gathered and processed exclusively by hand. Perfumy and sweet floral, with a full body and slight earthiness. Lingering, aromatic finish and interestingly floral-smoky. Pi Lo Chun is known for having a very distinct character; you'll find ours to be quite friendly to the palate and savory. Enjoy!
Jasmine Bi Luo Chun Green Tea
Refreshing, smooth with jasmine fragrance. Although this tea has the Bi Luo Chun name, it is made using different materials; the name comes from its similar appearance, slightly curly leaves like snail shells. This tea has a lovely jasmine fragrance to it, a result of meticulous scenting with jasmine blossoms.
Lu Shan Yun Wu Green Tea
Refreshing and brisk, durable infusions. Renowned throughout China for its breathtaking scenery, Jiangxi Province is also the home of Lu Shan Yun Wu green tea. The leaves of this tea curl into small spirals due to its unique rolling process, where the leaves are placed in a rounded bamboo basket and then rolled by hand into strips. This tea has a mellow flavor and thick fragrance: if you love tea with a long-lasting flavor, then this is the perfect choice for you.
Peach Jasmine Dragon Pearl Green Tea
Peach fruity, slight jasmine aroma. This Peach Jasmine Dragon Pearl green tea is made with the same methods as the regular jasmine pearls, where it is rolled into small, pearl-shape balls, and dried. However, while drying, these pearls are mixed with natural peach extractives, giving it its special fruity flavor. The scenting of the tea leaves with jasmine flowers lasts as long as five hours, and the step is repeated for up to seven times in a row; though the crafting process is complicated, the brewing of this tea is a pleasant experience.Brewing will coax the sweet peachy aroma out of the tea leaves as well as infuse it into the liquid, becoming thinner after several steeps and giving way to the more floral taste of the jasmine.
Organic Jasmine Pearls
Organic Dragon Phoenix Pearls - Organic Green Tea. If you like Jasmine Tea you have to try our Organic Jasmine Pearls green tea. We start with fine Chinese Dragon Phoenix Pearls green tea and take it to a new level by adding fresh Jasmine flowers for fragrance and added flavor to create California Tea House's very own Organic Jasmine Pearls loose leaf green tea.Our Chinese Dragon Pearls is made from hand picked single buds from the 'Fuding Dahao' tea plant variety. The buds are then refined by hand into tiny 'pearls'. It is a very refreshing green tea and even more so with our added Jasmine tea punch. Buy Organic Jasmine Pearls green tea with our 100% satisfaction guarantee.Use 6-8 pearls of Jasmine Pearls per cup of water after falling from a full boil, about 180o F. Steep the pearls from 2 to 3 minutes and enjoy a pick-up in your step!
Organic Zhu Cha Bang! Organic Green Tea. Organic Organicer green tea, also called Organic Zhu Cha, production started way back with the Tang Dynasty which ran from 618 to 907 A.D. Gunpowder tea leaves are naturally withered, steamed, rolled, and then dried. California Tea House's high grade, loose leaf Organic Gunpowder green tea are still rolled by hand into small tight balls that make the tea leaves less susceptible to damage, allowing them to retain more of their flavor and aroma. It is believed that the English gave the tea this name due to the resemblance to the gun powder of their black powder muskets of the time. Buy Organic Gunpowder green tea with our 100% satisfaction guarantee.Use 1 even teaspoon of gunpowder tea for each cup of mineral or filtered water. Steep the tea for 2 to 3 minutes at about 180o F.
Dragonwell Tea Organic
This tea has a very distinctive shape: smooth and perfectly flattened along the inside vein of the leaf, the result of highly skilled shaping in a hot wok. This process, known as pan-firing or pan-frying, was perfected in China by tea masters over the centuries and gives the tea an inviting, toasty aroma. Its sweet, rounded flavor with nuances of roasted chestnut makes this a truly satisfying cup of tea. It's especially refreshing when sipped throughout the day.
More tea, please!
Isabelle is a freelance writer, self-taught tea nerd, and tea blending enthusiast. She is a herbalist with a strong interest in Ayurveda. Each year Isabelle travels extensively, returning with tea samples from around the world. She is a big fan of handmade teaware and Japanese green teas.