Zhejiang is home to the most famous of all teas, Xi Hu Longjing, as well as many other high quality green teas.
- The most famous of all of the Chinese teas, Longjing is grown in Hangzhou. It is processed using the pan fry method and has a distinctive matte appearance. Falsification of Longjing is very common and most of the tea on the market is more than likely produced in Sichuan and is fact not authentic Longjing.
- Hui Ming
- A tea named after a temple in Zhejiang.
- Long Ding
- A tea from Kaihua County known as Dragon Mountain.
- Hua Ding
- A tea from Tiantai County and named after a peak in the Tiantai mountain range.
- Qing Ding
- A tea from Tian Mu, also known as Green Top.
Zhu cha or “Gunpowder” or Pearl Tea
Gunpowder tea, which is more appropriately called “Zhu cha” in Pinyin is also commonly known as “pearl” tea in China. Gunpowder tea is so-called because of it’s method of manufacture. It is rolled into tiny balls resembling gunpowder pellets hence the moniker “pearl” or “bead” tea. Is all gunpowder hand-rolled? It depends on the gunpowder. The higher quality grades are hand rolled. Other, lower end gunpowders are machine rolled. However, where labor is cheaper than machinery, it is hand-rolled. How does the discerning tea drinker tell the difference? The difference is in the flavor which is quite remarkable. Since hand-rolled generally represents a higher quality the flavor is much more subtle and not at all harsh; very smooth with a long and delightful aftertaste. Hand-rolled tea has a more grayish appearance and is of a smaller (pinhead) size, since it is usually composed of only the first three leaves. The higher the quality (and price), the smaller the pinhead size. Imperial Gunpowder is the largest, often 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter. Pinhead, contrary to conventional wisdom, is actually a grading and is 3/16 to as small as 1/6 inch in diameter. The larger the size, the looser the roll. The looser the roll, the larger the leaf. The larger the leaf, the lower the leaf position on the branches. The lower the leaf position, the older the leaf. The older the leaf, the harsher the flavor. The harsher the flavor, the less expensive the tea. The less expensive the tea, the more common the tea is. Gunpowder tea is one of the main Chinese green teas for export and is often the first kind of loose-leaf green tea urged on the curious newcomer. Zhu cha was one of the first loose-leaf green teas widely sold in the United States and one of the first green teas available from mail-order houses most likely because of it’s long shelf life which makes it easily transported and kept. Gunpowder tea is produced in Pinshui town of Shaoxing City in Zhejiang province. As historical records state, Pinshui town has historically been the largest marketplace and trade area for gunpowder tea.