China was one of the first countries to grow and process tea in the world. Chinese tea can be divided into black tea, green tea, scented tea, Oolong tea, white tea and tea lumps.
Green tea has the longest history and still ranks first in production and variety in China. Famous green tea include Longjing Tea from the West Lake of Hangzhou, Maofeng Tea from Huangshan Mountain, Yinzhen Tea from Junshan Mountain, Yunwu Tea from Lushan Mountain and Biluochun Tea from Jiangsu.
Black tea also enjoys a good reputation both at home and abroad. Different from green tea, black tea is thoroughly fermented.
Oolong tea possesses the freshness of green tea and the fragrance of black tea. In recent years, it has become popular with more and more people for its effects in helping to reduce high blood pressure, lower the cholesterol, prevent coronary heart disease and aid digestion.
White tea is as white as silver. The major producing areas are Fujian’s Zhenghe and Fuding. Famous varieties include Yinzhen(Silver needle) Tea and White Peony Tea.
Scented tea (also called Flower Tea) is a variety unique to China, having the smells of flowers. When put in boiled water, the dried flowers spread as fresh as they were just picked up. Sweet osmanthus, jasmine, rose, orchid and plum flowers can all be used.
Besides the famous brands of tea in China, there are special kinds of tea among the minority people- Leicha( Pounded Tea) in Hunan and Oil Tea in Guangxi.
Leicha has a history of more than 1,600 years. It can stimulate body energy and is believed to be good for the liver and stomach.
Oil tea, popular among the Miao and Dong minority nationalities in Guangxi, has a similar procedure of making the leicha. The local people often entertain their guests with oil tea on festivals and holidays. Refreshments, such as cakes, sweet potatoes, peanuts and fried soybeans are often served with the tea.