Chinese Green Tea: easy guide, top 10 best teas

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Last updated: August 29, 2019 at 12:44 pm

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, which starts 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. In order to get ‘green’ tea, oxidation must be stopped 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 a very specific appearance to their finished green tea leaves. For example, the Dragon Well (Longjing) variety can be identified by its perfectly flat leaves. Similarly, the Bi Lao Chun green tea has distinctively curled leaves. In the case of the Dragon Pearl and Gunpowder varieties, the leaves are tightly rolled up, preserving their aromas inside.

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 just do not possess the strength of industrial flavorings and essential oils. The idea is that floral component should not dominate, but rather 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 through 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 Chinese green tea is ever an issue.

Some things are made for Emperors and other important people. Dragon Well is literally one of them. The Chinese have reserved the finest Dragon Well for their Emperors for over 1200 years. In fact, when Richard Nixon visited China in his historic meeting, they served him their finest tea, which happened to be Dragon Well. That’s how much the Chinese love this tea.
Organic Gunpowder green tea is traditionally created by plucking high grade long tea leaves from the tea trees, by hand-rolling them into small tight pellet shapes (also like discoid flower). The whole leaf is used in processing, so this tea when brewed allows the pellets to unfurl and dance in the hot water to produce a beautiful yellowish green, fresh and brisk taste.
The tea bush traces its noble lineage from a family of high-mountain Camellia plants. Numi's Gunpowder Green tea is gently steamed within hours of being plucked, and then skillfully hand-rolled into small, tight pearls. This process preserves its delicate flavor and aroma for far longer than other green teas. Steeped in hot water, the leaves unfurl, releasing a well..
A sweet and refreshing green tea from China. Sometimes known by its Chinese name, Longjing, dragonwell tea is an ancient variety of green tea as colorful as its name. It is well known for its toasty aroma and flavorful sweetness.
Jasmine Yin Hao (meaning 'Silver Tip') is a deeply perfumy green tea from the Fujian province of China. Very layered and lingering floral aroma. Soft, full-bodied and sweet flavor with a slight dryness in the finish. Our Jasmine Yin Hao grade is among the highest for green jasmine teas. This jasmine green tea has been infused with jasmine many times over to create a t..
Dragonwell (Lung Ching or Longjing in local parlance) is one of China's most famous green teas, originating from Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. 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..
Gunpowder is a classic green tea from Zhejiang province, China. As the name implies, Gunpowder tea is made up of leaves hand-rolled into tiny pellets. These resemble gunpowder, and give this tea its distinct name. Full-bodied cup with a hint of smokiness and a smooth mouthfeel. Blend Gunpowder tea with spearmint to create the famous 'Moroccan Mint' tea.
Organic Chinese Green Tea Origin: Henan Province, China. A phenomenal single-origin, organic green tea from northern China - this Mao Jian is smooth, rich, and absolutely lovely. It's grown in high-altitude cloud forests where the unique microclimate keeps the soil highly fertile. The dark green tippy leaves are twisted into thin pointed spindles that unfurl in your c..
Premium Green Tea SachetTea Leaf Origin: Zhejiang, China. This pale golden infusion has a compelling mixture of smoky, vegetal, and citrus aromas. Its earthy taste is well rounded with a slight note of toasted pecans and a buttery finish. The young leaves of this tea are harvested in the Spring from tender buds grown on scenic mountains shrouded in thick mist, praise..

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