Tea is China’s national drink and its origin is as vast as it is unclear. In the past, ancient Chinese emperors bestowed tea as gifts upon grateful guests and soon after, teahouses mushroomed across the landscape. Unlike the Japanese, the Chinese have never developed a ritual around tea-drinking but they do possess a great respect for the role of tea in their lives. Chinese tea has gained popularity across the globe, over the years, and here are some common ones which you might like to take note of for the better of your health.
|Related article: 8 Must Knows of the Chinese Tea Culture
A post-fermented brownish red tea with a delicious, deep and earthy flavour. Pu’er, or Pu-erh, has been the traditional choice of tea for dim sum lovers as it is said to aid digestion, remove grease and eliminate leftover, hard-to-digest fats. The microorganisms present in pu’er fortifies the stomach lining and the tea has since been touted to be the perfect antidote to fried dim sum and heavy, oil-laden food dishes. Furthermore, pu’er can reduce the negative effects of alcohol consumption so when you’re faced with a hangover, go on and brew some to recover from all that alcohol damage!
Oolong tea goes through slight fermentation and oxidisation, which then causes it to taste somewhat in between a black and green tea. There are various oolong teas available however, the famous oolong hails from the Fujian province in China. When consumed on the regular, oolong provides robust health benefits for your well-being and can control your blood glucose levels. The oolong leaf combines catechin and caffeine which fights free radicals, reduces body damage, delays aging and revitalises your mental alertness. If you are sensitive to caffeine, we’d recommend limiting your consumption to one lightly steeped cup a day. Due to its fluoride content, it promotes dental health and strengthens teeth as well.
Named after the Chinese Goddess of mercy for its purifying taste, tie guan yin is a premium oolong tea that is highly sought after and praised for its nectar sweet taste. Alongside its intense floral fragrance, it is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids. To illustrate further, the said tea contains plant polyphenols which are able to encourage increased energy and metabolism. Some of the antioxidants present in the tea are also found to slow down cellular aging, reduce heart disease, cancer and promote clear skin. Blend spent tea leaves and create face mask to revitalise your skin! Leave on for fifteen minutes and rinse off with a warm washcloth.
Tie guan yin may cost a little more than your usual tea, but we feel it’s well worth it with its wide assortment of health benefits.
Produced in the Fujian province in China, da hong pao is one of the finest oolong teas which owes its name to a Ming dynasty legend. It is believed that a Ming dynasty magistrate fell ill while visiting the Wu Yi Shan gardens and only recovered his health after sipping on some da hong pao. In recognition and gratitude, the once-sickly magistrate hung his majestic long red robe at the garden’s gates, as a mark of official approval of the tea. The celebrated tea has warm, burnt notes of caramel, butter, toast and vanilla – a truly unique flavour sensation! You’d be glad to know that da hong pao encompasses all the benefits of the usual oolong too.
What a peculiar name for a tea! It was named in reference to its production region in Longjing village of West Lake in Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou. A pan-roasted green tea, longjing has a mellow, fresh taste and toasty note of chestnuts. Of which, mellow sweetness is the hallmark of Chinese-style green teas. Top-grade longjing can be sold for over a hundred dollars per ounce and will not turn bitter from oversteeping. It was the preferred tea of emperors, the official tea of the Qing dynasty imperial court, and is now still offered to heads of state. Because it’s a green tea, longjing aids in weight loss and prevents risk of cancer with its high concentration of antioxidants. Its caffeine content makes a great coffee alternative too.
Xiang pian is the ethereal earl grey tea of the Asian world, with its exuberant floral aroma. Fragrant jasmine blossoms are blended with layers of green tea to give a pleasant taste and smooth mouthfeel. Indulge your senses in xiang pian’s floral perfume as it is said that the smell of jasmine tea contains a sedative-like effect, reduces the heart rate and allows one to feel relaxed.
Bai mudan is an exceptional full-bodied white tea with a delicate, earthy undertone. Did you know? It’s made only from the newly-sprouted buds of the tea plants. Though bai mudan has no actual peonies in its blend, it brews up light in colour and has a slight floral finish. Like some of the other teas mentioned, this tea is packed with antioxidants as well. It contains a certain group of wonder antioxidants which are able to reduce cholesterol, prevent blockages in blood flow and soothe hardened arteries. In a similar vein, it’s also rich in blood thinning properties which in turn aids healthful blood circulation and protects against various cardiovascular diseases.
An easy-to-drink golden herbal infusion, Ju Hua tea is a popular tea with the masses. It can be found in bottles, cans and tetra packs within supermarkets, Chinese restaurants and teahouses worldwide. This Chinese tea is non-caffeinated and has a slight tinge of sweetness, replenishing your energy throughout the day without giving you the caffeine crashes and jitters from coffee. It’s also a natural coolant which detoxifies your system and melts your stresses away – perfect for those with sore throats and fever. Chrysanthemum has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to treat respiratory problems, high blood pressure and hyperthyroidism so beat the heat with Ju Hua and drink up now!
Save your English Breakfast and sip for a healthier life with these Chinese teas.
Besides traditional Chinese tea, organic herbal teas also provide a huge array of benefits. From improving your insomnia to soothing your mind, Nilufer Tea organic herbal tea is great for drinking anytime of the day because it is non-caffeinated. Delve into our wide collection and you will surely find something you love. If you are not sure what to get, the Rose Paradise is our most popular product that will transport you to a bed of roses.
The rich history of Chinese tea culture dates back to more than 4,000 years ago. Green tea, the oldest of Chinese tea, was a luxury beverage drunk by emperors before it became part of common culture along with formalised tea ceremonies. Today, this tea-centered way of life is not only still prevalent in the country, but it has also spread to other countries and influenced other cultures. Tea is the most popular refreshment in China, with the average person in China drinking 400 cups of tea a year according to US-China Institute.
Navigating its vast history, here are what we think are the 8 must-knows of Chinese tea and its culture!
A famous legend tells the story of Sheng Nong who was poisoned after a day of eating various wild plants. As he lay on the ground barely alive, he noticed a bunch of fragrant leaves and out of habit, ate them as well. These leaves turned out to be tea leaves that detoxified his body of the poison and made him well again, portraying the benefits of tea on our bodies.
More recently, tea has been found to have inflammatory properties due to its antioxidants. The multi-purpose beverage also helps with weight loss and reduces the risk of cancer. The Chinese also believe that different teas have ‘heating’ and ‘cooling’ effects on the body to balance out the body’s 氣 (qi), or life force.
There are 6 main families of teas originating from China, namely white, green, black, yellow, wulong (better known as oolong) and pu’er tea. While some of these teas are wildly popular and can be drunk in various places around Asia, they are not grown in the same area. In fact, different regions in China grow and harvest specific different types of tea, and they also have distinctive tea cultures and preferences! People in Beijing prefer flower-scented teas while Tibetans enjoy buttered tea. Mongolians enjoy their tea with milk and the Northern Chinese enjoy black teas and pu’er which is tea that has been fermented.
Next time you make a visit to China, be sure to observe what the locals like to drink. You might be surprised at what you find!
With its long and deep-rooted history, tea is held in high regards. It was a tradition for someone of a lower rank to serve tea to someone more senior as a sign of respect. Nowadays, serving tea to seniors, colleagues or even guests, regardless of their status, has become a widespread symbol of respect in China. Don’t be surprised if you’re served tea after a pleasant chat with the shopkeeper of a hole-in-the-wall store!
In traditional Chinese weddings, the bride and groom serve tea to their own and each others’ parents by kneeling in front of their families and presenting the cup of tea while bowing. This is done as a deep symbol of thanks for raising them into adulthood. As the Chinese also strongly believe in fate, the meeting between husband and wife may also be seen as only possible due to their parents’ years of care and guidance, another reason for serving tea as a sign of gratitude.
Tea culture in China isn’t just limited to it’s tea alone. There are over 25,000 tea houses in China. With the purpose of drinking tea and socialising, these tea houses are seen as a gauge of the country’s and cities’ economy. The more glorious the tea house, the more prosperous the country. Tea houses in China are also the birthplace of xiangsheng, or crosstalk — comedic monologues or dialogues rich in puns and allusions.
Surprise! The first pot filled with hot water is not drunk but actually thrown out. Hot water is first poured into the pot and left to settle for one minute to warm the vessel. Doing this ensures that the temperature of the water is optimal for brewing tea leaves. Warming the walls of the pot will prevent the second round of hot water from cooling down quickly, thereby bringing out the strongest flavour of the tea!
The most famous type of teapot in China is the Yixing clay teapot that’s been around since the 15th century. While the Chinese brewed tea for personal enjoyment, they also brewed tea to ‘wash’ their clay pot and cups. Pouring hot brewed tea on both the inside and outside of the teaware, they believed this would strengthen the mould and shape of the clay and deter erosion, allowing the clay to last longer.
If Chinese tea isn't your cup of tea, perhaps organic herbal tea may be more up your alley. After all, everyone has their own preferences and unique taste in tea. We recommend the Rose Paradise tea. It is full rosy goodness and strawberry sweetness. To add the cherry to the top, it creates a beautifully soft pink tea, perfect for your instagram feed!