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How to Select a Chinese Green Tea

Updated on December 11, 2011

How to Select a Chinese Green Tea

Wild tea plants originated in China thousands of years ago. Then, as now, the choices are many and varied. Of all the teas on the market, green tea has earned the distinction of being described as the Science Backed 'Miracle Cure' thanks to its nutrients and antioxidants.*

Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols.

The selection of green teas on the market are many and all have very distinctive flavors. So which do you select?

The following list of 11 Chinese green teas, (and white tea) describing the flavor may help you decide:

Gunpowder - (aka Pearl Tea, Zhu Cha) - this is one of the most popular teas (see photo below) and is easy to find. It has a fresh, grassy taste and I find it full bodied. If brewed too long, or you add too many leaves to the pot or cup, it will have a bitter taste. It is called 'gunpowder' because of the pellet-shaped gray green leaves which unfurl when steeped in hot water. This tea also stays fresh the longest which may be why it is so widely sold. Considered a great everyday tea.

Chun Mee - (aka Chun Mei, Zhen Mei, or precious eyebrow) this popular tea has a distinctive plum-like flavor and also tastes less sweet and is more acidic. The leaves have a dusty appearance.

Dragon Well (aka called Lung Ching or Long Jing) - a favorite, and the most famous tea in China. The leaves are bright, shiny and smooth. It has a brisk taste, and a bit of an earthy aroma. When hot water is added to the leaves, they open up and reveal buds inside. There are several varieties.

Dragon Pearls - this tea has a sweet, nutty taste. It is shaped like small pearls. Described by tea lovers as having a round character on the palate.

Emerald Petals - (aka Lu An Gua Pan) - made from delicate, emerald green flat leaves, without stems or buds. It has a floral aroma and a smooth and refreshing taste. Has a rich flavor with no bitterness.

Green Peony - is a hand made tea, tied with a silk thread into the shape of a peony flower. The best large tea buds are used. It is then partially air-dried and then roasted. It has a smooth, refreshing taste.

Hyson - (aka Young Hyson) - a tea with thick yellow-green leaves. It has a pungent taste.

Imperial - (aka Pi Lo Chun, Huangshan Maofeng) a rolled leaf tea made from leaves plucked at a very young stage with only a bud and a single unfolding leaf. Has a sweet fragrance of apricot and peach.

Jade Spring - this tea variety has downy white hair on the leaves. It is a bit sweet-tasting, with a leafy aroma, and can be resteeped without becoming bitter. Also considered an everyday tea.

Pi Lo Chun - (aka Snail Spring Tea) - a rare green tea. The leaves are hand-rolled into a snail-like appearance. Peach, plum, and apricot trees are planted among these tea bushes allowing the leaves to absorb the fruity scents before being plucked. Has a strong, fresh smell and taste. Described as one of China's top ten teas.

White tea - (aka Silver tip and Silver Needles) - similar to green tea but the processing is different. Unlike black tea, white tea is only lightly processed and retains a very high anti-oxidant level. It has a very pale color and a mild taste. A very light tea. Described as the rarest tea in the world.

*Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals, the damaging compounds in our body that alter cells, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death.


There are also a number of Japanese green teas on the market. Please see link below entitled HOW TO SELECT A JAPANESE GREEN TEA


Chinese Gunpowder Green Tea

gunpowder tea
gunpowder tea | Source


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    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Oh sounds great Pollyannalana. We will drink these teas and write on hub pages as we live to be 103. I'm with you with the chai - there was just too much in it for me. I like tea plain. No milk, lemon, sugar, honey - just tea.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

      Well I figure if they all are good for you then drink them altogether and I do, except Chai, I couldn't stand until I had it hot with honey and no fat creamer,,might have got that idea from you. Tea, Kale smoothies and water..I should live to be 103! Love all your great info!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I love the lung ching tea too, myownworld. Fortunately, I live in NYC where I can find all the super Chinese teas - all loose- and at the best prices.

      Thanks so much for commenting. I'm enjoying your hubs!

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 7 years ago from uk

      Just read your other hub on herbal teas and now this... both are excellent! Am a huge green tea fan (as well as of herbal infusions) and keep drinking them throughout the day to keep energized. I must give some of these chinese flavors a try, though I already love dragon well i.e. lung ching. Anyway, thank you for these great hubs...really enjoyed reading them.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're welcome DeBorrah K. Ogans. Right now I am have a cup of Japanese Sencha green tea. I find that if I don't have green tea for awhile - I crave it. My body is speaking to me!

      Thanks for commenting!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Bk Creative, Wonderful and informative as always you have some of the best tips! Thank you for sharing the great tea tips, Blessings!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I with you spudnik8 - I love green tea too. Fortunately here in NYC I have Asian markets where I can always stock up on great loose tea!

    • spudnik8 profile image

      spudnik8 7 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

      Hey BkCreative, I'm just mad for tea. Thank you for an informative and very well researched hub on Chinese teas. I'm going to run down to my Asian grocer now and pick up some tea!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      So glad to meet you and I will come visit you. Glad you found the information useful. I love green tea! My cousin just brought me some green from India. So good!

      Thanks for writing!

    • profile image

      Am I dead, yet? 7 years ago

      I simply adore tea! Great information and detail, I will definitely look into trying the types of tea you have listed here. Thanks!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I looked at your website - how beautiful! I'd love to come to Huangshan one day soon!

      Meanwhile, I've spent some time in and around Beijing and of course went to the Great Wall. Amazing!

      Thanks for writing!

    • profile image

      Huangshan tour 8 years ago

      Come to Huangshan and drink sample tea.