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China's Four Tea Drinking Regions and Their Teas

Posted by Path of Cha on

We all know China is a big country! With many varying climates, traditions and culture. This is also true when it comes to Chinese tea. And while tea is grown in many of China's regions, prominent tea growing regions occupy less than 50% of the whole country. The perfect tea calls for a very particular climate, ideally with high moisture and not too cold.

 

That’s why most of China’s teas grow in the Southern parts of the country. There each region has their own specialty tea that is produced based on history and climate that might suit the tea perfectly.

 

It is of no surprise that often times the people who live in these regions drink nothing but the kind of tea that is produced there, not venturing out to try other varieties from different regions. It is said that if a farmer is able to cultivate a tea that is superb in all senses, this tea will only stay in its vicinity to be enjoyed by locals and visitors, but not be sold to outsiders. 


When purchasing loose leaf tea you’ll see that each tea comes from a different region. But would you be able to identify where it comes from based on the tea? Possibly not, but if you know which teas are grown in which region you can probably make a close guess.

 




SOUTHWEST CHINA


This is where it all started!

 

Southwest China includes Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou, and it is known to be the oldest tea growing region in all of China and the world.

 

Although this region consists of many mountains the climate is quite stable.

The most common teas that are grown here are black tea and pu-erh, with true pu-erh coming only from Yunnan.



The Tea Horse Road also runs through this region; it was a means for transporting pu-erh from China to Tibet in exchange for Tibetan ponies.

 


Our Award Winning Yunnan Dian Hong Black Tea, being a high-mountain tea, is a particularly prized tea from Yunnan which we are very proud to carry. 

You can read more about Yunnan and how tea first appeared there over 2000 years ago here

 


SOUTHERN CHINA


The south of China has the most suitable conditions for the growth of tea trees and the production of many kinds of tea. Out of all China the most tea gets produced in the south.

 

This includes Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, and Hainan. The most popular teas produced here being oolong and black teas.

With the most popular teas being Tie Guan Yin and Da Hong Pao from the infamous Wuyi Mountains.


JIANGNAN


Jiangnan is known as the area south of the Yangtze river. It includes Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan and southern parts of Jiangsu, Hubei, and Anhui. Unlike the southern parts of China, this region has four distinct seasons which affects the final tea.

The most famous teas from this region are Dragon Well green tea, Keemun black tea and the Dan Cong oolong series of teas, with each one imitating a specific scent.

 




JIANGBEI


North of the Yangtze River we have Shandong, Gansu, Shaanxi, Henan and the northern parts of Jiangsu, Anhui, and Hubei. This tea region has the coldest climates and less humidity, which limits it to a smaller variety of tea trees that can enjoy this kind of weather.

Higher grades of green tea are cultivated here with the most famous one being Liu An Gua Pian from Anhui. Teas that grow in colder climates (including high mountain teas) can stack up on sweetness during the colder months. This produces a truly unmistakable sweetness and high umami content which is prominent when drinking our Liu An Gua Pian green tea.


If you are ever thinking of visiting China for a tea drinking adventure, now you will know just where to go based on tea teas that you prefer! And remember, the best time to visit is spring to early summer since the temperature is still mild and of course that is when the early spring teas go on the market!


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