⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4.5/5 Trustpilot Trusted by Tea Friends From 80+ Countries
/ /

6 Types of Chinese Tea

Apr 30,2024 | TeaTsy Team

Chinese tea is not only a staple food, but also a vehicle for art and philosophy, influencing social customs, medicine, and literature. Chinese tea has become a prized commodity in the international market for its variety, unique flavor, and far-reaching ceremonial significance.

In this article, we will explore the six main types of Chinese tea-green, black, oolong, white, pu-erh, and yellow-each with its distinct processing techniques and cultural significance.

Green Tea Chinese

Green tea has a refreshing flavor and a variety of health benefits for a cool and refreshing experience. Green tea originated in China and permeated various cultures.

Green Tea Processing

The picked leaves are quickly heated through pot boiling or steaming to stop the natural oxidization process that occurs after the tea leaves are picked. Keeping the tea leaves green prevents a lot of chemical breakdowns, thus retaining the natural antioxidants and vitamins that make green tea lighter and fresher than other teas.

Popular Green Teas

Among green teas, the most popular are Longjing and Biluochun. Longjing has a mild, sweet flavor and beautiful flat leaves and is often referred to as China's national drink. Bi Luo Chun has a delicate aroma, spiraling leaves, and a slightly stronger flavor.

Green Tea Benefits

Green tea is rich in antioxidants called catechins, which help fight cell damage and build a strong immune system. Regular consumption of green tea reduces the risk of heart disease, many types of cancer, and diabetes. In addition, green tea has a calming effect that helps maintain mental health.

How to Make Green Tea

Brew with fresh, soft water at about 80-85°C (176-185°F) to avoid burning the tea leaves. In general, each cup of tea should be steeped for one to three minutes, one to two teaspoons of tea at a time, depending on the desired strength.

Green Tea Sets Recommendation

Glass or ceramic teapots are recommended, as these materials do not retain the flavor of the previous brew and allow you to appreciate the beautiful color and shape of the tea leaves during the brewing process.

glass teapots

Black Tea (Known as Red Tea in China)

Black tea is oxidized in its entirety. This not only darkens the leaves but also enhances the flavor of the tea, making black tea stronger and mellow. In China, black tea symbolizes sophistication and the rich flavors of autumn. In the West, black tea is usually served with milk and sugar.

Black Tea Processing

The transformation of delicate green tea leaves into robust black tea involves withering, kneading, oxidizing, and finally firing. This careful processing results in black tea developing a strong flavor and deep color. It gives black tea a refreshing and invigorating effect.

Types of Black Tea

The most popular types of black tea are Keemun black and Dian Hong. From smooth and aromatic Keemun black tea to Dian Hong tea, which is known for its golden hair and sweetness, each type of tea offers a unique tasting experience.

Black Tea Benefits

Not only does black tea delight the taste buds, but it is also rich in antioxidants that help reduce free radicals. Drinking black tea can improve cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol levels. Although moderately caffeinated, it provides a mild pick-me-up, making it the perfect drink for a morning or afternoon pick-me-up.

How to Make Black Tea

Black tea must be brewed in boiling water to extract the full flavor of the tea leaves. Steep for about 3-5 minutes for full-bodied tea. Adjust the steeping time according to your taste preference for a lighter or stronger tea.

Recommended Black Tea Sets

A teapot made of porous clay is suitable. The teapot absorbs the oils from the tea leaves and gradually enriches the subsequent brew.


Oolong Tea

Oolong tea has a variety of flavors, from the delicate floral aroma of green tea to the rich roasted aroma of black tea. Oolong tea is oxidized between green tea and black tea. The degree of oxidation ranges from 8% to 80%. Different levels of oxidation have a great impact on its flavor and color.

Lightly oxidized Oolong teas typically exhibit bright, floral aromas, while heavily oxidized Oolong teas exhibit deeper, richer flavors that echo dark, woody, and nutty tones.

Oolong Tea Processing

Processes that Create Complexity: The process of making oolong tea involves several key steps: withering, bruising, oxidizing, and burning. Tea leaves are first withered to reduce moisture, then bruised to initiate oxidation. This is usually done by shaking the tea leaves in bamboo baskets or tumbling them in rollers. The exact amount of time the oxidation is stopped by heat determines the taste of the tea.

Popular Oolong Tea

Among the many varieties of oolong tea, Tieguanyin and Dahongpao are the most prominent. Known for its fresh floral aroma and sweet aftertaste, Tieguanyin is one of the most beloved teas in China. Dahongpao is a darker, more flavorful oolong tea that often fetches high prices at auctions.

Oolong Tea Benefits

Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants and contains important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, manganese, copper, carotenoids, selenium, and potassium. Since oolong tea metabolizes fat faster and is low in calories, it has weight loss benefits. In addition, regular consumption of oolong tea increases mental alertness and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

How to Brew Oolong Tea

To brew oolong tea, first heat fresh filtered water to about 85-95°C (185-205°F). Use about 2 teaspoons of loose tea leaves per cup and steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on the desired strength. Oolong tea can be re-steeped several times.

Oolong Tea Set Recommendations

To truly honor the tradition and craftsmanship of oolong tea, a gaiwan - an ancient Chinese covered bowl - is recommended. This vessel allows for precise control of steeping time and temperature.


White Tea

With its delicate flavor and therapeutic properties, white tea is a great choice for tea drinkers seeking serenity. White tea is often touted as the purest of teas due to its minimal processing.

White Tea Processing

After harvesting, the tea leaves are quickly dried using natural sunlight or minimal mechanical heat. This gentle process is done to preserve the natural antioxidants in the tea leaves and to maintain the delicate flavor and high nutrient content of the tea.

Types of White Tea

The most revered white teas are White Hair Silver Needle and White Peony. White Hair Silver Needle is made from the unopened buds of the tea tree, which are covered with fine white hairs and appear silvery white. Its taste is light and sweet with a subtle and complex flavor. White Peony consists of young buds and leaves that have been slightly oxidized, resulting in a mellower flavor with a hint of sweetness and floral aroma.

White Tea Benefits

White tea has a higher concentration of antioxidants than other processed teas due to minimal oxidation. These antioxidants help prevent skin aging and promote overall skin health by protecting against UV-induced damage. White tea consumption also enhances oral health, reduces the risk of heart disease, and helps control diabetes symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

How to Brew White Tea

To brew white tea, begin by heating fresh, soft water to approximately 75-85°C (167-185°F). Use about two teaspoons of loose-leaf tea per cup and steep for 4-7 minutes, depending on your flavor preference. White teas are delicate, so pay attention to water temperature and steeping time.

Recommended White Tea Sets

A high-quality porcelain teapot is recommended. Porcelain is non-reactive and retains heat well, making it ideal for maintaining the delicate flavor of white tea. Its smooth surface also helps to maintain the integrity of the tea leaves during the brewing process.

porcelain teapot

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh tea is made through aging and is a fermented tea unique to China. Pu-erh tea will become more flavorful the older it ages, like a fine wine, with deeper flavors and more pronounced aromas.

Pu-erh Tea Processing

Pu-erh tea leaves go through a primary production process similar to that of green tea, including withering, heating, kneading, and drying. What makes Puerh tea unique is its second stage - post-fermentation. This can be a natural fermentation over many years, or an accelerated fermentation under controlled humid conditions that transforms the raw tea into a richer, more complex product.

Types of Pu-erh Tea

There are two main types of Pu-erh tea: raw Pu-erh and ripe Pu-erh. Sheng Puerh is essentially an unoxidized green tea that slowly changes in flavor after years of natural fermentation. In contrast, Shou Puerh is aged quickly through deliberate fermentation techniques that mimic the effects of aging, with a darker and usually smoother tea color.

Pu-erh Tea Benefits

Pu-erh tea contains antioxidants that contribute to heart health and blood vessel function. In addition, pu-erh tea is often used to aid digestion, increase mental alertness, and even control weight.

How to Brew Pu-erh Tea

To brew pu-erh tea, brew about 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per 8 ounces (236 ml) of water. Brew with water that has just come to a boil (about 95°C or 203°F) to awaken the tea's rich flavor. Steep for 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting the time according to taste preference. Pu-erh tea can be brewed several times, with each brew revealing new flavors, so feel free to experiment with subsequent brews.

Recommended Pu-erh Tea Sets

To experience authentic Puerh tea, we recommend using a teapot or a gaiwan. These traditional Chinese tea vessels are perfect for brewing pu-erh tea and other multi-brewed teas. Teapots are made of porous clay that enhances the flavor of the tea over time. Gai bowls allow precise control of steeping time and temperature.

gaiwan teapot

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea has a soft, delicate flavor with less astringency than green tea. The unique smothering process of yellow tea not only enriches its flavor but also reduces the grassy taste often associated with green tea, making it smoother and rounder to drink.

Yellow Tea Processing

Although the initial processing steps for yellow tea are the same as those for green tea, including steaming or decocting the tea to stop oxidization, it is the "wrapping and stacking" stage that really determines the quality of yellow tea.

At this critical stage, the tea leaves are lightly steamed again, then wrapped in cloth and gently oxidized in a controlled environment. This process may be repeated several times, allowing the enzymatic fermentation to proceed slowly, resulting in the tea's signature yellow color and sweet, mellow character.

Types of Yellow Tea

Among the yellow tea varieties, Junshan Silver Needle and Huoshan Yellow Bud are particularly revered. Junshan Silver Needle is made exclusively from young buds and has a delicate sweet flavor and exquisite softness. Huoshan Yellow Bud is made from young buds and leaves and is a slightly fuller-bodied tea with a strong nutty flavor.

Yellow Tea Benefits

Similar to green tea, yellow tea is rich in antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Its unique fermentation process also fosters beneficial probiotics that promote digestion and enhance intestinal health. Yellow tea is mild and suitable for people who are sensitive to the stronger tannins found in other teas.

How to Brew Yellow Tea

When brewing yellow tea, heat the water slightly below boiling point (about 80-85°C or 176-185°F) to preserve its delicate flavor. Steep one teaspoon of loose leaves per cup for about 1-3 minutes, depending on the desired strength. The subtle flavors of yellow tea are best appreciated when brewed lightly, and yellow tea can often be steeped several times, with each steeping revealing new flavors.

Recommended Yellow Tea Sets

To enhance the brewing experience, a clear glass teapot is recommended. It not only allows you to enjoy the slow unfolding of the tea leaves, enriching the sensory enjoyment of the brew, but it also showcases the beautiful golden color of the tea leaves during the steeping process.

yellow tea teapot

If you still want to read more articles related to tea, you can come and see our blog: click here! If you want to buy tea sets, you can click on our official Teatsy website. We offer many quality tea sets including covered bowls, porcelain tea sets, and more.


Chinese teas come in a wide variety of flavors, traditions, and health benefits, each variety reflecting China's rich cultural heritage. From lightly oxidized and refreshing green teas such as Longjing, to complex, deeply fermented Pu'er teas. White teas are delicate and pure, while oolongs bring balanced complexity with their varying degrees of oxidation. Black teas (as the Chinese call them) are rich in flavor, while the rare yellow teas round out the variety with their mild, mellow character. Every cup of tea has a story waiting to be discovered.