In China, if you visit a friend’s or someone else’s house, usually homeowner will offer us a cup of tea. We can say China is the ‘hometown’ of tea. In the beginning, tea is used in the field of medicine, over time the local realized that tea not only can be used for medicine but also can be a drink. Since this time the local began to multiply the planting of tea trees.
A writer from Tang Dynasty named Lu Yu, due to his obsession with tea, he wrote a book about tea, this book contains the types of tea, the benefit of tea, how to make tea, etc., so that he became the first writer who do research about tea in this world.
According to him, tea is divided into 6 types:
1. 红茶 (Hong Cha) = Black Tea. China’s famous black tea is from 祁门 (Qi Men) a county in 黄山 (Huang Shan) Mount Huang, 安徽 (An Hui) Province.
2. 绿茶 (Lu Cha) = Green Tea, the most famous green tea in China is 西湖龙井茶 (Xi Hu Long Jing Cha) = Dragon well tea which originally from Hangzhou and 碧螺春 (Bi Luo Chun) which originally from Suzhou.
3. 乌龙茶 (Wu Long Cha) = Wu Long Tea, the most famous tea is called 武夷山岩茶 (Wu Yi Shan Yan Cha) from Fujian province.
4. 花茶 (Hua Cha) = Scented Tea, the most famous one is 茉莉花茶 (Mo Li Hua Cha) Jasmine Tea.
5. 白茶 (Bai Cha) = Plain Tea, the most famous one is 白毫银针 (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) White Hair Silver Needle which produced in Fujian province.
6. 紧压茶 (Jin Ya Cha) = Compressed Tea, the famous one called 普洱茶 (Pu Er Cha) which traditionally produced in Yunnan Province.
Due to the large size of the country of China and the large population, each place has different ways of drinking tea, for people who live in the north of China, 花茶 (Hua Cha) or Scented Tea is the most popular type of tea.
But for people who live in the south of China such as Shanghai and Hangzhou, they more like to drink Green Tea, while Fujian and Guangdong province mostly like to drink Wulong Tea.
Some of minority ethnic group likes to drink compressed tea, while inner Mongolian group usually add salt and milk when drinking tea, nowadays people called it Milk Tea. Tibetan ethnic group likes to add butter and salt, or better known as buttered tea.
BLACK TEA VS RED TEA?
Some people might wondering why in english 红茶 is translated as a black tea, not red tea? as 红 (Hong) means red.
There might be a lot of argument regarding this and some might think red tea and black tea are not same. But based on a version that i heard from someone who is a ‘master’ of tea, Chinese people named the tea based on the color of the liquid (after the tea is served as a drink), while Western people named in based on the color of the tea leaves (which is black color).
Whichever the true answer is not necessary, the most important is which type of tea do you like? If you have interest or a fan of tea, you can try those type of tea i mentioned above.
I hope this article helps you! Welcome to China!