Chinese Green Tea (Types and Benefits)

Green tea (绿茶, Lǜ Chá) is one of the six main types of Chinese tea. Among the six types of tea, green tea has the most varieties, about hundreds of varieties. And there are six kinds of green tea among the top 10 famous Chinese tea. Green tea is widely produced in China, and more than 15 provinces are producing green tea.

Green tea is a kind of unfermented tea. It retains many natural substances of the fresh leaves, such as tea polyphenols, catechins, chlorophyll, amino acids, and vitamins, which have good effects of anti-aging, anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, lowering blood sugar and blood lipids, etc.

Table of Contents

History of Chinese Green Tea

Green tea is the earliest type of Chinese tea and some other types of tea are evolved from green tea.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> and <The Classic of Tea>, Chinese tea was first used by Shen Nong more than 4,700 years ago. And according to other historical records, the tea-processing first appeared more than 3,000 years ago.

The Tang Dynasty (618-907) is a high-speed period of tea development. Lu Yu, a Chinese tea master and writer,  respected as the Sage of Tea, he wrote the tea book <The Classic of Tea>, which is the first tea book in the world.

This book records the production history, current situation, processing technology, drinking skills, and ceremony of the tea. From ancient times to the present, this tea book has promoted the development of Chinese tea culture.

During the Tang Dynasty, Chinese tea also officially spread to other countries. In 805, Japanese monks came to China to study Buddhism. When they returned home, they brought Chinese tea to Japan, which is the beginning of Japanese tea.

In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), tea became one of the necessities of people’s daily life and many new production technologies of the tea came out gradually. From the Tang Dynasty to the Song Dynasty, many poems and paintings related to tea were appeared, which was also promoted the Chinese tea culture.

Later, from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), tea developed further. The tea production areas became larger and larger, and new types of tea gradually emerged, such as black tea, oolong tea, white tea, etc. During this time, many kinds of tea began to be exported to Southeast Asia and Europe.

In modern times, with the improvement of people’s living standards, the production of green tea is also improved. Green tea has the most varieties and output. It accounts for 70% of the total output of the six main types of tea in China.

Processing of Green Tea

The processing of green tea can be simply divided into three steps: kill-green (杀青, Shā Qīng), rolling (揉捻, Róu Niǎn), and drying (干燥, Gān Zào), of which the key step is kill-green, which means “Kill the enzymes of the tea leaves”.

kill-green makes the enzymes of the fresh leaves lose activity, and the chemical substances in the fresh leaves will not be oxidized by the enzymes, thus forming the characteristics of green tea.

During the process of kill-green, part of the water of the leaves is evaporated, which makes the leaves soft and creates conditions for the next rolling.

Rolling is to reduce the volume of the tea leaves and lay a good foundation for drying. Drying is to evaporate the moisture of the tea leaves.

Types of Chinese Green Tea

According to the tea name, the common types of Chinese green tea:

According to the different technologies of kill-green, green tea can be classified into four types.

Shai Qing Green Tea

Shai Qing green tea (晒青绿茶, Shài Qīng Lǜ Chá) is made by using sunlight to deactivate the enzymes. Shai means “Basking”. The best-quality Shai Qing green tea is produced in Yunnan Province, called “Dian Qing”. Dian is the short name of Yunnan Province.

Besides, there are Chuan Qing produced in Sichuan Province, Qian Qing produced in Guizhou Province, Shan Qing produced in Shanxi Province, etc.

Zheng Qing Green Tea

Zheng Qing green tea (蒸青绿茶, Zhēng Qīng Lǜ Chá) is made by steaming to deactivate the enzymes. Zheng means “Steaming”. Zheng Qing is an ancient technology and it was already existed in the 8th century (during the Tang Dynasty) and spread to Japan.

Nowadays, Zheng Qing green tea has few types and low yields. The famous green tea En Shi Yu Lu belongs to Zheng Qing green tea.

Chao Qing Green Tea

Chao Qing green tea (炒青绿茶, Chǎo Qīng Lǜ Chá) is made by stir-frying to deactivate the enzymes. Chao means “Stir-frying”. Chao Qing was invented in the 12th century and it is a technological advancement of Zheng Qing green tea.

Chao Qing green tea is characterized by bright green, rich fragrance, beautiful shape and it has the highest yield.

The famous green teas Longjing tea and Biluochun tea belong to Chao Qing green tea.

Hong Qing Green Tea

Hong Qing green tea (烘青绿茶, Chǎo Qīng Lǜ Chá) is made by using the dryer to deactivate the enzymes. Hong means “Baking”.

Some green teas are more suitable for producing with Hong Qing, such as the famous green teas Huangshan Maofeng tea, Lu An Gua Pian, Yunwu tea, etc.

Besides, Hong Qing is suitable for producing herbal tea that is mixed with green tea, such as rose green tea, jasmine green tea, osmanthus green tea, etc.

According to the season of tea production, green tea can be classified into spring green tea, summer green tea, and autumn green tea. And according to the growth environment of the tea trees, green tea can be classified into flat ground green tea and mountain green tea.

Benefits of Chinese Green Tea

Among the six types of Chinese tea, green tea retains the most nutrients of fresh leaves. The tea polyphenols, tea catechins, vitamins, and trace elements of green tea have good pharmacological effects.

Benefits of Chinese green tea:

  • Detox
  • Diuretic
  • Refresh
  • Skincare
  • Weight loss
  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-cancer
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Lower blood sugar
  • Lower blood lipids
  • Protect teeth and eyesight
  • Inhibit cardiovascular disease

How to Make Chinese Green Tea

  • Tea sets: glass cup or porcelain cup (Gaiwan).
  • The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:50. For example, 3g of green tea leaves require 150ml of water to brew.
  • The temperature of the water: 80℃-85℃. Green tea leaves are very tender. Water with high temperatures will destroy the nutrients of green tea.