All teas originally come from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The differences between types of Chinese tea are caused by variations in processing methods, as well as the geographic location of the tea plant and by the appearance and taste of the infused tea.
Chinese teas can be categorized into five different groups -- green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea and post-fermented tea. Often, scented teas and compressed teas are included in this list.
|File photo: Green tea|
Green tea leaves are light to dark green in color and brew into a light green infusion. Green tea undergoes minimal oxidation during processing. Raw tea leaves are heated, rolled and dried without fermentation. This enables the leaves to keep their original color and retain their naturally occurring antioxidants, which according to recent research can help reduce the risk of cancer and slow down the aging process.
With a longer history than other varieties, green tea is the most popular variety of tea consumed domestically in China. China is the world's largest green tea exporter, comprising more than 80 percent of the global market.
Green tea is produced all over China. Representative varieties include Dragon Well (Longjing) from Zhejiang, Biluochun from Jiangsu and Huangshan Maofeng from Anhui Province.