It is commonly said that there are ten Chinese teas that surpass all others in taste and popularity. However, there is no consensus to what teas those actually are. The list varies considerably depending on region and current of tea trends.
Tea is often given as gifts, and so a lot of attention is given to tea fads. Last year you would do well to give Dahongpao, the year before the most common gift tea I heard of was Tieguanyin, and in the spring time Longjing was by far the most expensive.
If you are giving tea as a gift to a Chinese friend it is important to know the recipient. If the friend is not familiar with tea then it is best to go to a store and buy a gift box with fancy wrapping. If they are familiar with tea, and your relationship is casual, then it would be better to get a higher quality tea.
Here is a list of some of the most famous teas — sited in no particular order. You are not likely however to be served any of these teas as you sit down for a casual dinner in China. The most common teas are the much more affordable generic varieties of green or wulong teas.
As Chinese are known to do, there are fakes of anything and everything in China. With some products you will never know the difference, but if you know what the ‘real’ tea should taste like you can not be fooled. Ideally, you should go to a reputable seller and/or bring a knowledgeable friend with you. The best tea for the best price will always be found at wholesale markets, but that is also the best place to get ripped off. Buyers Beware!
You are always welcome to taste any teas you are considering buying. I recommend trying a few of each kind to find the best tea for the price (according to your taste and budget). If you are going to a large tea market bring this list to a tea market and try them all!
|1.||西湖龙井||Dragon Well, Long Jing||Hangzhou, Zhejiang||Green|
|2.||碧螺春||Green Snail Spring||Suzhou, Jiangsu||Green|
|3.||黄山毛峰||Yellow Mountain Fur Peak||Huangshan, Anhui||Green|
|4.||君山银针||Junshan Silver Needle||Yueyang, Hunan||Yellow|
|5.||祁门红茶||Keemun Black Tea||Qimen, Anhui||Red|
|6.||大红袍||Big Red Robe, Dahongpao||Wuyi Shan, Fujian||Wulong|
|7.||六安瓜片||Liu’an Melon Seed||Liu’an, Anhui||Green|
|8.||安溪铁观音||Iron Goddess, Tieguanyin||Anxi, Fujian||Wulong|
|9.||太平猴魁||Taiping Monkey King||Huangshan, Anhui||Green|
|10.||信阳毛尖||Xinyang Fur Tip||Xinyang, Henan||Green|
|11.||白毫银针||White Down Silver Needle||Fuding, Fujian||White|
|12.||庐山云雾||Lushan Cloud Mist||Lushan, Jiangxi||Green|
|13.||冻顶乌龙||Frozen Peak Oolong||Nantou, Taiwan||Wulong|
|14.||云南普洱||Yunnan Puerh Tea||Simao, Yunnan||Heicha|
|15.||顶谷大方||Dinggu Dafang||Huangshan, Anhui||Green|
|16.||蒙顶甘露||Meng Ding Sweet Dew||Mengshan, Sichuan||Green|
|17.||都匀毛尖||Du Yun Fur Tip||Duyun, Guizhou||Green|
|18.||苏州茉莉花||Su Zhou Jasmine||Su Zhou, Jiangsu||Jasmine|
|19.||恩施玉露||Jade Dew, Honeydew||Ensi, Hubei||Green|
|20.||平水珠茶||Pearl Tea, Gunpowder||Shaoxing, Zhejiang||Green|