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May 26, 2014

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Tea in China

CHINESE people have been using tea as drinks and in medicine for more than 4,000 years. Today, the country is still the No. 1 producer and consumer of tea in the world.


Green tea is a non-fermented tea that keeps the original color of tea leaves. Fresh tea leaves are picked, naturally dried and fried briefly to become green tea.

Health benefits: A “cold” herb in TCM that helps dispel pathogenic heat, freshen the mind, improve digestion and relieve inflammation. Modern science has also found it an antioxidant that helps delay aging and prevent cancer.

Producing regions: South of the Yangtze River, including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces


Yellow tea is produced similarly to green tea, but has one extra step called men huang, or sealed yellow, which involves a slower drying phase where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and turn yellow. Both the leaves and beverage are yellow, and taste sweeter than green tea.

Health benefits: A “cold” herb with similar health benefits with that of green tea, while it is more beneficial to the spleen and stomach. It is good at adjusting digestion, stimulating appetite and weight control.

Producing regions: Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces


White tea is a lightly fermented tea known for the fine silvery-white hair on the tea leaves, which are withered in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing. No frying is involved. The beverage is usually pale yellow and tastes more refreshing than green tea.

Health benefits: Very similar to green tea, white tea contains the most antioxidants, which strengthens its anti-aging benefits and preventing cancer.

Producing regions: Fujian and Zhejiang provinces


Oolong tea is semi-fermented, with the leaves green in the middle and red on the edges. Oolong tea beverages are usually amber, with a strong aroma. It tastes like a mixture of green and black tea — fresh, mellow, puckery — but not too strong.

Health benefits: A “neutral” herb that helps dispel pathogenic dryness, moisten organs, improve eyesight and dissolve phlegm. Modern research has found it helpful in reducing blood pressure, delaying aging and preventing cancer.

Producing regions: Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan


Black tea is a fermented tea which undergoes withering, is left to ferment for a long time and then roasted. The tea leaves turn dark as they are completely oxidized after processing. A black tea beverage is usually dark red. It has a robust taste with a mild aroma.

Health benefits: A “warm” herb that helps dispel pathogenic cold, warm organs, improve digestion and appetite. It also helps delay aging as an antioxidant.

Producing regions: Yunnan, Hunan, Hubei, Fujian and Henan provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region


Dark tea is also known as compressed or post-fermented tea. The tea leaves are fried, rolled, dried and compressed for fermentation. Most dark tea is compressed into brick shapes, thus it is also known as brick tea.

Health benefits: A “warm” herb that helps balance the body from greasy food. It is often recommended for reducing blood pressure, blood fat and benefiting the stomach.

Producing regions: Yunnan, Hunan, Hubei and Sichuan provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region


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