It is said that there are about 8000 different types of tea produced in China.
China, known in Chinese as Zhōngguó (中国), meaning "central country", is one of the most important tea-producing countries. The written history of tea consumption in China goes back longer than in any other country, thousands of years. In ancient China, tea was originally used as a medicine, over hundreds of years it slowly shifted towards being viewed first as a tonic, and then as a beverage as it is today.
Plantations are mainly found in the southern and central provinces. For a long time they were managed on a regional level by an exclusive central body, which was responsible for selling the whole region's production. When Deng Xiao Ping came to power, there was a liberalisation of trade and consequently many private companies were born bringing the plantations and the importers into direct contact with each other.
The main producing areas are Zhejiang, Hubei, Yunnan, Szechuan, Anhui and Fujian. China produces a big variety of green and black teas, as well as Oolong and other speciality teas. Every tea has its unique and distinguished flavour.
The birth of black tea in China is very mysterious. No one knows exactly what lead the Chinese to start oxidising tea after having produced only green tea for centuries. One legend says that black tea was the accidental result of a cargo of green tea having oxidised during an overly long sea crossing. Having arrived at its destination the tea was greatly appreciated by its recipients, who then went on to order some more… Whatever the case, black teas are essentially produced for export. They come from the Yunnan, Anhui, Fujian, Jianxi and Sichuan regions.
At Muave we offer various black teas and we are expecting to be adding more very soon.
Discover Our Black Teas
Green tea, the daily drink of the Chinese people, accounts for 80% of the total production with a large part reserved for home consumption. It is mainly grown in the mountainous, humid regions of Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Fujian and Guanxi. The leaves can be folded, twisted, rolled lengthwise (needles), or made into balls or other shapes. These teas are known by their freshness, greenness and long lasting flavour in the mouth. As a general rule, they should be infused for three minutes.
Discover Our Green Teas
The name ‘white tea’ is rather confusing. One would assume it refers to the light colour of the brewed tea, but actually it’s a nod to the fine silvery-white hairs found the plant’s youngest buds. Despite being relatively rare and unusual, the idea of white tea has become so popular that you’ll now find low-quality versions gracing the bleached teabags of the least discerning supermarkets. To really appreciate the delicate flavours and the dazzling silver buds and leaves, this is a tea that needs to be drunk loose-leaf and usually at lower temperatures. And if you like it served with a side order of folksy romance, then all the better.
Muave doesn't offer white tea yet, but will start in near future.
Native to China, Yellow Tea is another drink that has slowly gained popularity across the world. This one is a little different in taste, as it offers a fruity and distinct after taste, smooth texture and a pleasing aroma. When it comes to benefits, it is somewhat similar to green tea. However, it is easier on the stomach as compared to green tea and other teas as well. The bright yellow colour of this hot drink is not natural and is attained through a process called ‘Sealed Yellowing’. Under this process, the tea polyphenols (catechins) are first oxidised to attain the yellow tinge and then further treated to preserve the colour and aroma of the dried leaves.
Produced in the Fujian province, these teas are obtained from Souchong leaves (low, large sized leaves), which are smoked with spruce tree roots. Very low in caffeine, they are suitable for any time of day and can be drunk with meals or savoury breakfasts.
These teas come from Yunnan province and have being oxidised in heaps under a damp cover, in order to maintain a degree of hygrometry greater than 85%. Pu-Erh teas usually go through this process several times.
These also include teas which the Chinese call blue-green. These teas, which have long, pale leaves before treatment and a low caffeine content, are processed using three types of oxidation.
Usually low caffeine teas, perfect in the late afternoon or in the evening. They are highly regarded by traditional Chinese medicine: they are thirst quenching, calming and help the digestion of fatty foods. Wu Long (oolong) teas can be prepared in a traditional teapot, using 15 to 20 g of tea per litre of water and allowing it to infuse for 5 to 6 minutes. They can also be enjoyed using the Gong Fu Cha method in tiny teapots that are filled with leaves and allowed to infuse for 30 to 50 seconds. Very high quality semi oxidised teas can be infused several times without spoiling the taste.