According to Chinese folktale, teas were discovered by Shen Nong (around 3000 BC) who is considered as the founder of Chinese herbal medicine. Teas were considered as herbal medicine in ancient China. They were used to cure common diseases such as cold, flu, cough, stomach ache and diarrhea.
During Tang Dynasty, teas were luxury goods, not everyone can afford it. Until Song Dynasty, teas had become the national beverage in China, considered one of the seven necessities of Chinese life, along with firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce and vinegar.
Chinese teas consist of tea leaves that have been processed using methods inherited from China. Teas are made through a very long and delicate procedure which tea leaves are picked, steamed or pan fried, then dried and sifted. The flavor varies depending on how it is prepared.
Chinese teas can be classified into six categories: green, yellow, white, oolong, red and black. Green, yellow and white teas are cooked soon after picking to prevent oxidization, often called fermentation, caused by natural enzymes in the tea leaves. Oolong teas are partially oxidized. Red and black teas are mostly and fully oxidized. Other differences come from variations in the processing steps.
Degree of oxidization each category of tea:
Green tea: 0%
Yellow tea: 10 to 20%
White tea: 20 to 30%
Oolong tea: 30 to 60%
Red tea: 80 to 90%
Black tea: 100%
List of famous Chinese teas:Bai Hao Yin Zhen
Bi Luo Chun
Da Hong Pao
Huang Shan Mao Feng
Jun Shan Yin Zhen
Liu An Gua Pian
Tie Guan Yin