The Chinese Tea History Generally

by Brooke Davis April 22, 2016

The Chinese Tea History Generally

The History of Each Sort of Tea

Tea can be classified into six species: Green tea, Black tea, White tea, Oolong tea, Puerh tea, Yellow tea

General History of Green Tea

The history of Green Tea dates back to the 8th century, when the method of steaming the leaves to inhibit their oxidation was discovered. In the 12th century a new frying method of “fixing the leaves" was introduced. Both of these processes resulted in teas that have the characteristic un-oxidized taste and appearance to modern green teas, and both processes are still in use today. Since those early days, as the popularity and production of green tea increased the methods of producing green tea have continuously evolved and improved.

General History of Black Tea

China is the birthplace of black tea, which in China is called, perhaps more appropriately, hong cha – red tea – after its the red colored tea it usually produces. It's history in China can be traced back to the late Ming Dynasty, around the year 1590, when the first black tea – Lapsang Souchong – was produced in the area around Wuyi Mountain in Fujian province. This high mountainous area was called Lapsang and the small leaf tea trees Souchong – hence the name. Today China's best and most well known black teas include Fujian Lapsang Souchong, Fujian Minhong, Anhui Keemun, Yunnan Dianhong, Guangdong Yingteh and Sichuan Mabian Gongfu black teas.

The Earlist Tea in Chinese Tea History - White Tea

White tea is widely believed to be China's earliest form of tea, based on the fact that its processing consists basically of only drying the leaves, and so must have been the first methods that people used to allow the buds to be stored after they were picked.
The earliest written records talking about white tea are from Emperor Song Huizong during the Song Dynasty, dated around 1105 AD.

The History of Oolong Tea

Oolong tea began life in Fujian province, with a history there stretching back more than 1,000 years to an traditional form of tea called Beiyuan tea. Beiyuan tea was the earliest known tribute tea (a tea given in tribute to the emperor or royal family) produced in Fujian, and one of the most well known teas produced during the Song Dynasty. The Beiyuan area is located around Phoenix mountain in Fujian, and had been a tea producing area since the earlier Tang Dynasty. This tea was a compressed type of tea, with the leaves compressed into cakes. When these went out of fashion with the royalty the area began producing a partially oxidized loose leaf tea instead – the original Oolong tea.

Puerh Tea Has A Long History

As one of the oldest tea in China, Pu-erh can be traced back to 1,700 years ago in Eastern Han Dynasty. In that period, Pu-erh tea was also called Pu Cha. It was named after the Pu-erh Town in Yunnan, which was the earliest transaction centre of Pu-erh tea. In southwest area of early China, Pu-erh was used as currency in bartering.

The History About the Crafts of Yellow Tea

The crafting method for yellow tea was created around the time before 1591. People used the technology of slow drying /slower drying phase to make yellow tea. In the process of fixation and rolling, if the teas were not dried in time or were dried incompletely, the leaves would turn into yellow, and the liquid would taste mellower. Thus from knowledge to practice, the method of making yellow tea was created.

The Overview - Tea History
30 century BC – 21 century BC 3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors Period
Tea was first discovered as a medicine in ancient China. Initially, people chew the fresh tea leaves, and then learnt to decoct the leaves and drank the soup.
722 BC – 221 BC Spring and Autumn Period
people started to cook tea leaves with scallion, ginger, tangerine peel and cornel in water, or made tea into food. Today in China, the Lei Cha of Tu Jia is of this kind. The people mixed fresh tea leaves with ginger and rice together, and pounded the mixture, then drink it with hot water.
202 BC – 220 AD Han Dynasty
tea began to spread as drinks, provided for officials and noble lords. Among these teas, several rare kinds were brought to the emperor as tributes. The trade of teas became more commercialized.
420-589 Southern and Northern Dynasty
the custom of drinking tea was nationally popularized. The consumption of teas had been increased rapidly. From then on tea has been a regular drink in south China.
618 - 907 Tang Dynasty
Lu Yu’s Cha Jing started the prosperous time of tea. In Tang Dynasty, tea trees were planted all over the country. Monks from Japan brought some tea seeds back to their country when travelling to China. From then on, tea was spread to Japan, and was gradually known by the world.
960 – 1279 Song Dynasty
the centre of tea culture began to move towards south in this period of time. Wu Yi Tea from Fujian Province developed vigorously. Also great changes had happened to tea’s species. Scented tea was created. Yet in quantity cakes and Tuocha still remained in major place for they are easy to store.
960 – 1279 Song Dynasty
the centre of tea culture began to move towards south in this period of time. Wu Yi Tea from Fujian Province developed vigorously. Also great changes had happened to tea’s species. Scented tea was created. Yet in quantity cakes and Tuocha still remained in major place for they are easy to store.
1271 – 1368 Yuan Dynasty
with the developing of tea crafting methods, machine-made tea came out in this period. Cakes and Tuocha were mainly given as tribute for royal and noble lords. Common people used loose tea.
1368 – 1644 Ming Dynasty
in Ming Dynasty, the making of tea started to use roast. Makers began to be aware of the shape of tea leaves. The leaves were often made into strips. People started to drink loose tea instead of cakes.
1636 – 1911 Qing Dynasty
tea was then a primary drink in daily life. There were various species of teas, including green tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, black tea, dark tea, flower tea and so on. The ways of drinking tea changed to steep. The export of tea was started, and tea became favored by foreign royal.



Brooke Davis
Brooke Davis

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