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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Classifications of Chinese Teas

White Teas:
Naturally these are the lightest color teas and possess a very mild flavor. White teas are often sun dried and free of processing, as the leaves are usually just-picked. Their leaves are flat and silvery, as are those in Sow Mee, which translates as "Old Man's Eyebrows."

Green Teas:
This color of tea has been getting lots of praise over the past decade as being a cure for all manner of ailments ranging from mild to serious. A more bitter tea, the leaves are very curly and dark green. Green tea is excellent for one's digestive system and can increase energy. Many green teas take their names from the region in which they are grown, such as Jin Chu ["Sun-Poured"] from the southeastern area of China. Despite its name, Gunpowder is a green tea that contains only a small amount of caffeine. It is made from young leaves that are tightly rolled in order to maintain freshness.

Oolong teas:
They are made by semi-fermenting green tea leaves. Some of the best Oolong teas are cultivated on the steep mountain slopes. With tea trees growing almost 100 feet in height, trained monkeys can only pick tealeaves. Those teas are nick named " Monkey Teas."

Red Teas:
A Chinese red tea, Qimun, is valued for the compact size and shape of the dry tealeaves, and the resulting color: bright red. The tea is heavy bodied and strong. Red tea is fermented, thereby containing no more caffeine than green tea.

Black Teas:
There is some mix-up about the difference between black and red teas as the Chinese refer to them as "red" tea, which describes the color of the liquor they produce. Some of this is attributed to the fact that the leaves change color when brewed. Whether black or red, these are the most familiar to Western tea drinkers, and are often taken with the addition of milk and/or sugar. They also contain the highest amounts of caffeine.

Drinking tea will help lower your cholesterol and can be beneficial for those who are trying to lose excess weight. However, to determine the best type of tea for your needs, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine.


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