Kingfisher said

Benchmarking Chinese Teas

Hello all,

I’ve been reading and researching avidly, but ultimately drinking tea is a taster’s sport and I am trying to establish a palette for Chinese tea so that I can start to hone in on the defining characteristics of the different main categories of tea and tell when a tea has unique processing, characters from a good year, or is a fake. I’m always open to an exceptional brew but I would like to have a standard to start tasting against. Anybody have recommendations for benchmark drinking in any of the following categories? I know some of these are WIDE OPEN and I am open to any recommendations on additions or category shifting/redefining. I just like to proceed in a structured way— it helps me to learn more effectively to classify. I also ask that any recommendations be available at the time of posting and you cite the shop/tea name.

Green Teas of Zhejiang Province
—Anji Bai Cha (Anji White)
—Ping Sui Zhu Cha (Ping Shui Pearl)
—Xi Hu Long Jing (West Lake Dragon Well)

Green Teas of Anhui Province
—Huang Shan Mao Feng (Yellow Mountain Fur Peak)
—Lu An Gua Pian (Lu An Melon Seed)
—Tai Ping Hou Kui (Tai Ping Monkey King)

Green Teas of Sichuan Province
—Meng Ding Gan Lu (Misty Peak Sweet Dew)
—Zhu Ye Qing (Bamboo Leaf Green)

Other Greens
—Lu Shan Yun Wu (Lu Shan Clouds and Mist)
—Dong Ting Bi Luo Chun (Dong Ting Green Snail Spring)
—En Shi Yu Lu (En Shi Jade Dew)
—Xin Yang Mao Jian (Xin Yang Fur Tip)

Yellow Teas
—Jun Shan Yin Shin (Junshan Silver Needle)
—Huang Ya (Yellow Sprout)

White Teas
—Bai Hao Yin Zhen (White Hair Silver Needle)
—Bai Mu Dan (White Peony)
—Gong Mei (Tribute Eyebrow) *I love this name so much
—Shu Mei (Longevity Eyebrow)
—Yue Guang Bai (Moonlight White)

Wulongs of Minnan
—Anxi Tie Guan Yin (Anxi Iron Goddess of Mercy)
—Anxi Huang Jin Gui (Anxi Golden Cassia/Osmanthus)
—Anxi Ben Shan (Anxi Original Mountain)
—Anxi Mao Xie (Anxi Hairy Crab)
—Anxi Jin Guan Yin (I dont know an alt name)

Wulongs of Minbei
—Wu Yi Da Hong Pao (Wu Yi Big Red Robe)
—Wu Yi Shui Jin Gui (Wu Yi Golden Water Turtle)
—Wu Yi Tie Luo Han (Wu Yi Iron Monk Arhat)
—Wu Yi Bai Ji Guan (Wu Yi White Cockscomb)
—Wu Yi Rou Gui (Wu Yi Cassia/Cinnamon)
—Wu Yi Shui Xian (Wu Yi Narcissus)

Taiwainese Wulongs (Im not trying to make a political statement here, its just that Taiwan has the best Wulongs and I dont want to leave them out of the survey)
—Nantou Dong Ding (Nantou Frozen Summit)
—Muzha Tie Guan Yin (Muzha Iron Goddess of Mercy)
—Wen Shan Bao Zhong (Wen Shan Wrapped)
—Dong Fang Mei Ren (Oriental Beauty)
—Gao Shan (High Mountain)
—Jin Xuan (Golden Lily)
—Si Ji Chun (Four Seasons of Spring)
—Cuiyu (Green Jade)
—Qing Xin (Green Heart)
—Gui Fei (Precious Concubine)
—Jia Xie Long Cha (Gaba Tea)

Other Wulongs
—Feng Huang Dan Cong (Feng Huang single bush or single trunk)
—Lan Gui Ren (Lady Orchid)

Red (Black) Teas of Fujian Province
—Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Mount Zheng Small Variety)
—Yan Xiao Zhong (Smoked Small Kind)
—Jin Jun Mei (Golden Steed Eyebrow)
—Jin Hou Hong Cha (Golden Monkey Red Tea)
—Bailin Gongfu (no alt name)
—Zhenghe Gongfu (no alt name)
—Tanyang Gongfu (no alt name)

Red (Black) Teas of Yunnan Province
—Dian Hong Gongfu (Yunnan Red)
—Dian Hong Jin Ya (Yunnan Red Golden Shoot)

Red (Black) Teas of Anhui
—Quimen Hao Ya (Quimen Downey Sprout)
—Quimen Mao Feng (Quimen Downey Tip)

Hei Cha of Hunan Province
—Hei Mao Cha (Semi-Finished dark)
—Hei Zhuan Cha (Dark/Black Brick Tea)
—Fu Zhuan Cha (Fu Brick Tea)
—Huan Zhuan Cha (Flower Brick Tea)
—Hua Juan Cha (Flower Roll Tea)
—Xiang Jian Cha (Hunan Tip Tea)
—Qu Jiang Bao Pian Cha (Qu Jing Thin Slice Tea)

Hei Cha of Sichuan
—Kang Zhuan Cha (Peaceful Brick)
—Jin Jian Cha (Golden Tip Tea)
—Fang Bao Cha (Square Wrapped Tea)

Other Hei Cha
—Lu An Hei Cha (Lu An Dark Tea)
—Qing Zhuan Cha (Green Brick Tea)
—Liu Bao Cha (no alt name)

Sheng, Shou, and Mao Cha Puers of Yunnan
—this is a HUGE category and also one of great interest to me, but I don’t feel like I have any more defined ideas about approach yet

4 Replies
mrmopar said

Dayi, Haiwan sheng and shou. Chen Sheng Hao sheng, Yunnan Sourcing sheng, W2T Sheng, Crimson Lotus sheng, Mandala sheng and shou, TeaJunky,Liquid Proust teas and for factory productions with a broad supplier base King Tea Mall. Puerh is a big category for sure. Probably a few others can be added to this.

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Yunnan Sourcing, Teavivre and Upton have some decent Chinese black teas. Upton’s Jin Jun Mei is a good example and Teavivre is famous for their yunnan black tea (at least on steepster). My favorite Golden Monkey comes from a tea shop in Ft Collins, CO: Happy Lucky’s Tea
I’d be happy to swap with you if you want to try the generic yunnan from SF Herb that is my daily drinker or anything more fancy in my cupboard.

Kingfisher said

Sorry for the delay in response, I was travelling! I would love to swap. I am originally from CO (Loveland area) so I know and love happy lucky’s. They used to carry a tuocha sheng called the Golden Snitch that kept me going on backpacking trips. I would love to try to Golden Monkey and SF herb and am happy to reciprocate. I have some knockout reds and blacks from postcard teas in London, or I could offer some oolongs from a teahouse in DC (Ching Ching Cha) which are daily drinker pricing, but the most consistent quality I have found at that price point.

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SooTea said

It’s a very comprehensive list, but maybe a bit too long to start with. I would first skip all the pu erh and dark teas. There’s a lot of variation in flavour in that category, and you will be better able to recognise them when you’ve developed a more advanced taste for tea. Instead, start with the other categories first (green, black, white, yellow, oolong).

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