Speciality Chinese Teas

Green tea is graded depending on the quality and the parts of the plant used. There are large variations in both price and quality within these broad categories, and there are many specialty green teas that fall outside this spectrum.

There is archaeological evidence that suggests that green tea has been drunk for almost 5000 years, with India and China being two of the first countries to cultivate it. Green tea has been used in traditional medicine in India, China, Japan and Thailand to aid in everything from controlling bleeding and helping heal wounds to regulating body temperature, blood sugar and promoting digestion.

What is Oolong Tea

Oolong tea (Wu long tea) is a traditional semi-oxidized Chinese tea, occupying the middle ground between green and black teas, ranging from 10% to 70% oxidation. Combining the best qualities of green tea and black tea, the best oolong has a nuanced flavor profile. Oolong tea is clear and fragrant like green tea but as fresh and strong as black tea, with the bitterness leaving a sweet and pleasant aftertaste. Well known oolong teas include those produced in the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian Province and in the Central Mountains of Taiwan.

The Chinese have long been aware of the health benefits of oolong tea. For thousands of years, tea has been used to treat everything from headaches to depression. Oolong tea has proven anti-aging properties. In addition oolong tea contains powerful anti-oxidants, known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Anti-oxidants may also lower cholesterol and help control blood pressure, and over time, the risk of heart disease. They even help protect the liver against toxins in alcohol and cigarettes. Oolong Tea can also aid in food digestion and make you feel refreshed and revitalized. 

What is White Tea

White tea is tea made from new growth buds and young leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis.

The leaves are steamed or fried to inactivate oxidation, and then dried. White tea therefore retains the high concentrations of catechins which are present in fresh tea leaves. As white teas contain buds and leaves, whereas other teas are mainly leaves, the dried tea does not look green and has a pale appearance. Buds and young tea leaves have been found to contain higher levels of caffeine than older leaves, suggesting that the caffeine content of some white teas may be slightly higher than that of green teas.

White tea is a specialty of the Chinese province Fujian. The leaves come from a number of varieties of tea cultivars. The most popular are Da Bai (Large White), Xiao Bai (Small White), Narcissus and Chaicha bushes. According to the different standards of picking and selecting, white teas can be classified into a number of grades, further described in the varieties section.

In hard times, very poor Chinese people would serve guests boiled water if they could not afford tea. Host and guest would refer to the water as ‘white tea’ and act as if the tradition of serving guests tea had been carried out as usual. This usage is related to plain boiled water being called ‘white boiled water’ in Chinese.