China is the cradle of tea. Although many countries around the world are nowadays producing tea, not trying a Chinese tea would be like not trying tea at all. With thousands and thousands of different teas produced, and more than 15 tea producing provinces, a few of them truly stand out – Fujian, Zhejiang, Yunnan and Guangdong. There is a big chance every tea drinker will try at least one of the teas from each of these province without even knowing.
Let’s start with Fujian, a province on the coast of China, that produces hundreds of unique white, oolong and black teas.
- Fujian produces teas for more than 1000 years
- Fujian is the birthplace of white tea
- The most expensive oolong ever comes from Fujian
- 3 out of 10 most famous Chinese teas are grown in Fujian
5 best Fujian Teeas to Try
Fujian is one of the most famous Chinese tea producing provinces. It’s a birthplace of black teas, oolong tea and white tea. Being one of the olderst tea regions, Fujian has some amazing tea to offer. In fact, 3 out of 10 most famous Chinese teas come from Fujian – two oolongs and one white tea. Green teas are more rare in Fujian, although there are some exceptional types of tea coming from Wu Yi mountain, and scented jasmine tea.
Fujian oolongs are some of the best oolong in the world, and the most popular and important areas are Anxi and Wuyi Mountain region. Apparently, the first oolong tea was produced in Fujian about 1000 years ago.
Ti Kwan Yin oolong
Ti Kwan Yin, Tie Guan Yin or The Iron Goddess of Mercy is a semi fermented Chinese ball shaped oolong tea. It is harvested 4 times per year, and comes in many different quality grades, flavor notes, fermentation and roasting levels. Today, there are two main categories – traditional and modern.
Traditional Chinese Ti Kwan Yin is stronger, roasted over charcoal, has dark leaves and gives a darker, orange brown infusion with stronger roasted flavor. Modern Ti Kwan Yin is green, and less roasted than the traditional one. It gives a very light, yellowish green infusion with floral notes. Interestingly, while the traditional Ti Kwan Yin is slowly loosing its popularity in the Mainland China, it’s still very popular in Taiwan, the country of green oolong teas.
Tie Guan Yin can be found in tea bags too, although loose leaf tea will always taste better.
Red Robe oolong
Red Robe, Da Hong Pao or the Big Red Robe is the most famous oolong tea in the world. It’s also one of the most expensive teas in the world. It belongs to the group of tea called “rock tea“ or “yancha“ and it’s grown in the Wuyi Mountains. What’s really special about this tea is that there are still original mother plants growing in the area. The price? About 20 years ago, 20 grams of this tea was sold for $28 000. Today, these mother trees are protected and not harvested for commercial use anymore. The higest quality Da Hong Pao teas today will come from cuttings taken from those mother plants.
Da Hong Pao is a medium-oxidized oolong, with darker leaves with full bodied, complex fruity, flowery, toasty, woodsy and mineral notes.
Lapsang Souchong black tea
Lapsan Souchong or Zhengshan Xiaozhong is a black tea from Wuyi mountain in Fujian. It can be smoked over pine wood, or unsmoked. This tea was one of the first teas exported to western countries under the name Bohea or Wuyi tea. Today, there are more and more unsmoked Lapsang Souchong teas available on the market, with full, rich, fruitty flavor accompanied by other notes.
On the other hand, a smoked version can have a whole range of flavor notes too – it can be light with distinctive pine wood note, or strong, with many notes – from tobacco to whiskey or – smoked ham. Lapsang Souchong is often included in the Russian Caravan blend, to add a bit of smokiness to the blend.
Silver Needle white tea
Silver Needle is a tea liked by many people becauseof its lightness, sohpistication and health benefits. Although there are many types of silver needle tea, and many of them are produced outside of Fujian, the original one – Bai Hao Yin Zhen, is grown in Fuding and Zhenghe counties in the Fujian province. Silver Needle contains buds only and gives a very light and refreshing infusion with delicate sweetness. Silver Needle is rarely flavors, but it can be scented – usually with rose, jasmine or smanthus flowers.
White Peony white tea
The other name of White Peony is Bai Mu Dan or Pai Mu Tan tea. White Peony is the second most popular white tea in the world. It’s made from both buds and leaves from Camellia sinensis tea plant. White Peony has a stronger flavor than Silver Needle, with fruiter notes and a bit darker color. It usually has a bit less caffeine than Silver Needle tea.