China Tea Facts
China's cultural and geographical diversity means that there are a seemingly endless range of tea varieties.
One of the striking aspects of China's tea industry is that almost all the tea, unlike India, Africa or Sri Lanka, produced is consumed by the internal market. May be because of the 2000+ years of tea history, tea of some type is an fundamental part of daily life for rich and poor alike.
Here we will take a look at some of the key regions behind some of the teas and tea wares we enjoy. Due to the range of teas from FuJian and YunNan we have set up dedicated tea facts pages.
Zhejiang's capital is the renowned city of HangZhou, which is also home of the Chinese national tea museum and the famous West Lake (Xi Hu). If you have the opportunity, take a trip to the famous West Lake in Hangzhou. Travel from Shanghai is very easy with the cities connected by China's high speed rail system. By the West Lake you will see many people enjoying their LongJin green tea in tall glasses; it is a great place to enjoy tea and to spend time relaxing and watching the world go by.
The majority of Zhejiang's tea production is given over to green teas such as Long Jing (Dragon Well), though An Ji white tea is another famous Zhejiang tea. The best Long Jing teas should be prepared using water from Hu pao quan or Running Tiger Spring.
The Long-Quan kilns of Zhe-Jiang province, have been producing much sort after ceramics since the early part of BEI-SONG (Northern Song 960-1127AD) period. It was during the NAN-SONG (Southern Song 1127-1279AD) period that the kilns reached a most glorious period and their output increased alongside their quality. It is said that when you have the opportunity to look upon these ceramics and touch them, the sensation is like that of jade.
One of JiangSu's most famous teas is Bi Luo Chun (green snail spring), a green tea produced near Dong Ting Lake. Another name for this tea was Xia Sha Ren Xiang or deadly fragrant tea! Because of this tea's amazing fragrance it was given as a Tribute Tea to the emperor, who although loved the tea was not so impressed with its name! The emperor renamed the tea Bi Luo Chun, as it is a spring tea and the shape of the curled tea leaves reminded him of a snail.
Yang Xian tea was a classic tea during the Tang dynasty (618-907) of JiangSu. The tea was made famous by the founding father of tea, Lu Yu, a JiangSu native, and his 'Classic of Tea'. Such reference meant that it was not long before the emperor requested that a Tribute of Yang Xian be sent to his court, further ensuring that remained a famous tea.
JiangSu's legacy to tea reaches beyond its range of fine tea through its tea pots and in particular the ZiSha clay or purple sand from the surrounding hills of YiXing including the famous Huang Long mountain. In tribute to JiangSu's classic products of Yi Xing zi sha and Yang Xian tea, a number of people refer to some tea pots as Yang Xing.
Mao Feng and Mao Jian green teas typically come from the regions around Huang Shan, the 'Yellow Mountains' and Qi Men. One of the largest markets for the Huang Shan Mao Feng can be found in the town of She Xian. From here the teas are distributed around China.
The town of Tai Ping home of the beautiful long green tea leaves of Tai Ping Hou Kui is also located in AnHui.
JingDeZhen is a city county in JiangXi, is the home of the world famous porcelains that have been exported throughout the world, especially during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The fine porcelain of the region, along with the skilled artisans has captured hearts of many and as with other Chinese arts has been combined with a practical usages. The tea sets and tea cups of JingDeZhen can be found as pure white porcelain or hand finished in a wonderful range of designs.
It is believed that ceramics production may have begun in JingDeZhen as early as the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD. 220), certainly by the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-906) it was a thriving industrial area. By the Song dynasty (960-1280) JingDeZhen was given it's current name by virtueof emperor Jingde (1004-1007) who commissioned many wares for use by the imperial family. The latter part of the Song Dynasty saw increasing amounts of porcelain wares being exported, though it was not until the Mongol Emperor's Yuan dynasty (1280-1368) that these porcelain wares became truly renowned outside of China. It was the Qing Dynasty, where both trade volumes and artistic excellence rose to their peaks to make region the home of fine ceramics.
For even more on this fascinating history and topic please visit our Tea Culture web links page for more external sources of information about JingDeZhen.
In the early years of its economic growth, much of Taiwan's tea was exported to the mainland. However, recent economic prosperity had produced a local population with a taste for some very refined oolongs. This includes an increasing production of quality organic teas. Presently, only about two percent of the island's famous teas are exported. These fall into three categories: fuller oxidised dark oolongs, jade oolongs, and the lightly oxidised, almost-green pouchong oolong tea.