The History of Tea
Tea has a long and complex history, spanning across thousands of years and spreading across multiple cultures. Tea was first introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16th century. Historians believe that tea originated from southwest China as a medicinal drink during the Shang dynasty - there are records of medical text dating back to 3rd century of tea drinking for medicinal purposes, written by Hua Tuo. During the 17th Century, drinking tea became popular in Britain, and the British introduced tea production to India, in order to compete with the monopoly on tea in China.
Tea preparation Tingqua (1809-1870) source from: Bonhams
Tea Production in China
This rare export painting depicting the various stages involved in the production and preparation of tea, with plantations in the background, the middle ground with figures storing tea into crates and carrying packed tea, the foreground with men sampling tea and binding crates and women sorting leaves, the large doorway inscribed 'Specialising in Various types of Renowned Teas', the flanking columns with banners inscribed 'For One Investment You Receive 10,000 in Return', and 'Unity Leads to Harmony'.
Different Types of Chinese Tea
There are many different types of tea classifications in China; according to the different degree of fermentation, tea can be divided into non-fermented tea, semi-fermented tea, fully-fermented tea; The six types of teas are green tea, black tea, oolong tea, yellow tea, white tea and dark tea; re-processing tea, namely, scented tea, condensed tea, extracted tea, medicinal tea, fruit tea and tea food. Among them, six teas and scented tea are the most common tea.
Green tea is non-fermented tea, made from Camellia sinensis leaves. What makes Green Tea different to Oolong and black tea is that Green Tea has not gone through the same withering and oxidation process. The number of Green Tea's varieties ranks the highest of China’s six basic teas. The quality of green tea is influenced not only by tea varieties and environmental impact but also by tea processing. The different varieties are slightly different in the early manufacturing process, but in overall, the steps to make green tea include fixation, rolling and drying. Green tea is thought to be one of the world's healthiest drinks, as it contains more antioxidants than any other type of tea. Why not try our Jasmine Snowflake Green Tea, originating from Guangxi, China? It is delicious!
Black tea is a type of tea that is fully fermented and more oxidised than Green, White and Oolong tea. In China there are four types of Black tea that are made from the shrub Camellia Sinensis, which is then made into 17 varieties. The main production processes are composed of four stages, namely: withering, rolling, fermentation, and drying. Black tea has a stronger flavour in comparison to its sister teas. Start your morning the right way with our Captain's Breakfast Tea.
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that is withered under sun and oxidation before it is twisted and curled. Oolong tea is also known as Cyan tea. Its producing method is characterized by the combination of primary processing technology of black tea and green tea; it is also known as semi-fermented tea. The main process of Oolong Tea consists of five steps, namely: withering, stir fixation, fry fixation, rolling, baking, etc.
Yellow Tea (Commonly asked question)
In the production of stir fixation, it was found that if drying is inadequate or not timely after rolling, leaves will turn yellow, then yellow tea was born. Yellow tea generally is made after fixation, pile-fermentation, and drying.
White tea is a Chinese special treasure tea and refers to several styles of tea. White tea is slightly fermented in a degree of 10%, and boast young or minimally processed Camellia Sinensis leaves. The key steps are withering and drying, fresh taste and also the natural vitamins that are beneficial to people’s health. Decisive to the formation of tea fragrance and fresh liquid. Our Moonlight White Tea is out of this world.
Dark Tea (Commonly confused with Black tea)
Dark tea is a deeply fermented tea that is commonly confused with Black tea. Dark tea is famous for its dark brown colour. The longer dark tea is kept, the mellower flavour it is. Raw material used in the dark tea is old coarse tea leaves, which are primary materials of condensed tea. Dark tea is processed through fixation, rolling, fermentation, and drying. Our Dark-Rose Waltz Tea is worth singing and dancing about!
Scented tea (also known as smoked scented tea), is a reprocessed tea and mainly uses green tea, black tea or oolong tea as the tea basement, paired with flowers such as rose or jasmine as raw materials. It is made by scenting. Its most prominent feature is the perfect combination of flowers and tea. In addition to scented tea, there are health tea, craft tea, and herbal tea and so on. Try our Oriental Time-Lapse Tea!
Check out our beautiful range of teaware here.