Chinese Tea and Health
Balancing the Four Seasons

Chinese tea and health is inseperable. Tea type to drink by season.

A Swedish customer once asked if we should vary our tea intake by season.

He said the Swedes tend to drink more of red wine in the winter and more of white wine in the summer. Does the same apply to Chinese tea?

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, tea - in its unprocessed form - is cool in nature.

However, different types of tea acquire different properties according to how it is made. Generally speaking, you want to drink "cooling" tea in the summer and "warming" tea in the winter.

Here is one popular Chinese approach the problem.

Chinese Tea and Health #1:

After the hibernation of the long winter, let's celebrate the onset of spring with the harvesting of the green tea!

This is the high point of the tea season, and you can't miss the anticipation of the Nation for the first spring harvest - known in China as the Chun Cha (春茶).

Green tea is cooling. The female principle means it detoxify and cleanse.

It contains high concentration of antioxidants such as EGCG, a miracle cures for many illnesses. It is great for clearing your body of excess phlegm caused by allergies.

Chinese Tea and Health #2:

Move on to summer, the need for a cooling tea begins to dominate the mind.

While your green tea will continue to taste great, why not also try to have a cup of fruity white tea?

The most ying of Chinese tea, white tea is a bit like a raw salad (as supposed to a Chinese stir fry).

Little heating is applied during the making process. The process is very dormant: instead of roasting, leaves are left to mature at room temperature to allow chemical changes to take place.

Chinese Tea and Health #3:

As the air chills and leaves start falling in the autumn, oolong tea begins to make their way to the market.

In the southern province of Fujian, especially, this is the time when the most fragrant Tieguanyin tea (铁观音) is harvested.

Unlike green tea, which is unoxidized, oolong teas come in various levels of oxidation.

They come in the a range of frequency. The lightly oxidized oolong is like a violin, high in aroma and light in body.

The heavily oxidized oolong is like cello, light in aroma and rich in body.

The more heavily oxidized oolong tea is usually roasted. This process imparts "fire" to the tea, making it more warming.

During autumn, you may want something more warming than green tea, and there are many types of oolongs to choose from.

Chinese Tea and Health #4:

If you are looking for a warming tea to shelter you from the bitter cold, then you may want to turn to a dark, roasted tea.

A dark roasted tea can take the form of a semi-oxidized tea such as an oolong tea or a fully oxidized black tea.

In China, there are various names assigned to such treatment of tea.

The proper name for a roasted tea is hongbei (烘焙), which means oven-roasted.

It is also more commonly known as zhonghuo, which means "strongly fired" or shu, which means "cooked".

A high grade is neither astringent nor bitter. It has a body that is thick and rich. The flavors are chocolate-ly and charcoal, with many layers of floral aroma.

Durability is very high. You can usually infuse the tea leaves for more than 5 to 9 times.

Which Winter Tea?

The southern provinces of Fujian and Guangdong are the undisputed masters of dark, roasted tea. They love to drink tea gongfu style using a Yixing tea set.

The most famous of roasted oolong tea is probably the Yancha, popularly known in the West as the Rock Tea.

The King of Wuyi is known as the Dahongpao. The first medallist of the Beijing Olympic 2008 was awarded the Dahongpao harvested from the original 600-year-old tea bushes..

Another roasted black tea worth seeking out is the Keemun, which is fruity, with hints of pine, dried plum and floweriness.

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