Green tea is made from unfermented leaves which are dried and baked immediately after they are picked in order to remove their grassy smell and keep their original flavor. Both the color and the soup (after being steeped in the teapot) of baked green tea are green, hence its name, whereas a cup of green tea features clear soup with green leaves.
Green tea makes up over 50% of China's tea market share, which not only has many nutritional substances, such as polyphenols, caffeine and catechins, but it also has effective health functions, such as preventing cancers, lowering blood sugar levels and promoting digestion. It has a high medicinal value and is therefore used as both a beverage and a medicine in China.
According to written historical records, green tea has a long history of over 3,000 years, and is now widely planted in more than 20 provinces of China, including Henan, Guizhou, Jiangxi, Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Hunan, Hubei, Guangxi and Fujian. Below is a list of the famous green teas of China.
As a tribute tea in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Bi Luo Chun (literally meaning Green Snail Spring) is cultivated on Dongting Mountain, Taihu Lake, Wu County, Suzhou of Jiangsu Province. It is cropped during the spring equinox and grain rain (according to the 24 solar terms), and it is famous for its curled shape, snowy white hair, bright color, floral aroma and mellow taste.
Praised as the national tea of China, Dragon Well Tea is planted on the mountainous areas (such as West Lake Lion Peak, Wengjia Mountain and Meijiawu), in Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province. Its history dates back to the Song Dynasty, and it's cropped four days before or after the Tomb-Sweeping Day. Dragon Well tea is renowned for its green color, fragrant aroma, mellow taste and beautiful shape.
Huangshan Mao Feng tea (literally meaning Yellow Mountain Fur Peak) originates from Yellow Mountain of Anhui Province. It has been famous since the Guangxu Emperor's reign during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and it's picked in the early spring. It has peak-shaped leaves with ivory-tinted hairs, and its golden soup is slightly sweet and fragrant with a lingering aftertaste.
Mao Jian (literally meaning hairy tips) is planted on the Cheyun Mountain Range, Xinyang of Henan Province, and it has been well-known since the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), featuring a green color, white hairs and a thin and firmly rolled appearance with both ends in a pointed shape.
Listed as a tribute tea in the Song Dynasty, Yun Wu (literally meaning cloud and mist) tea is planted on Lushan Mountain, Jiangxi Province. It is famous all over China owing to its origin on Lushan Mountain, and it' s characterized by its tender leaves, jade green luster, clear soup and sweet flavor.
Though named white tea, Anji white tea is actually green tea, which originates from Anji County, north Zhejiang Province, and it features a yellow-green color, orchid-bud shape, fragrant aroma, apricot yellow soup, and a light and fresh flavor.
Yu Lu (literally meaning jade dew) tea is planted on the Five-Peak Mountain (Wufeng Mountain) and in Baijiao Village, south of Enshi, Hubei Province. It has a tight and round shape with white hairs, is an emerald green color and creates a green soup.
Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that tea plays an important role in improving the health of human beings. It not only helps in relieving heat and thirst, eliminating indigestion and phlegm, and sobering up drunkards, but it has a pharmacological effect on chronic radiation sickness, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and cancer.
According to the Chinese tea ceremony, there are three steps for the infusion of green tea, and each step has its own points for attention.
The First Infusion of Green Tea
Attention should be paid to the leaves dancing in the boiling water during the first infusion of tea, and you're advised to imbibe it slowly in small sips to taste its fresh and fragrant flavor.
The Second Infusion of Green Tea
As two thirds of the first infusion of tea is consumed, water is supposed to be infused fully into the cup in time (the soup will become tasteless if the water is infused too late). The second infusion of tea has a much stronger flavor and a lingering fragrance, which makes you feel fresh and joyous, and you're supposed to concentrate your attention on its flavor.
The Third Infusion of Green Tea
As half of the second infusion of tea is left, water is supposed to be infused fully into the cup in time, and then the soup becomes light in color and insipid in flavor, so it's advisable for you to add some sugar in the soup during the third infusion of tea.