The­re are many defi­ni­tions for tea cate­go­ries. Here are only the basics of the tea types.

White tea(白茶)

Whi­te tea is the simplest tea. It is done by pic­king, wit­he­ring and then drying the lea­ves in the sun.

Accor­ding to tra­di­tio­nal Chi­ne­se medici­ne whi­te tea cools the body.

Green tea(lü cha, 绿茶 or 緑茶)

Green tea is non-oxi­di­sed tea. Usual­ly the buds, ear­ly pic­king date and the beau­ty of the lea­ves are res­pec­ted a lot in green teas.
Accor­ding to tra­di­tio­nal Chi­ne­se medici­ne green tea cools the body.

Yellow tea(huang cha, 黃茶)

Yel­low tea proces­sing is simi­lar to green tea proces­sing with the added “meng­huang” step whe­re the lea­ves stay wet for some time.

Black tea(red tea in East-Asia, hong Cha, 红茶 or 紅茶)

Red tea is ful­ly oxi­di­sed tea. Com­mon­ly known in the West as black tea, alt­hough in asian lan­gua­ges it is cal­led red tea.
Accor­ding to tra­di­tio­nal Chi­ne­se medici­ne red tea warms the body(according to TCM*).

Dark tea(black tea in East-Asia, hei Cha, 黑茶)

The most impor­tant dif­fe­rence in dark tea proces­sing to other teas is the post-fer­men­ta­tion step whe­re the lea­ves are gat­he­red to big piles and fer­men­ted in moist and warm con­di­tions for 1–2 months. This process is caused by mic­ro­bes in the lea­ves and should not be con­fused with the oxi­da­tion of black tea. Post fer­men­ta­tion or “wet-piling” is a simi­lar process to decom­po­sing, hence the eart­hy smell and tas­te. Also shou (ripe) pu’er is post-fer­men­ted but it’s not dried over a pinewood fire or compres­sed to big bas­kets like Liu Bao.

Accor­ding to tra­di­tio­nal Chi­ne­se medici­ne dark tea warms the body except Liu Bao is coo­ling or war­ming depen­ding on the situation.


Pu’er comes from Yun­nan pro­vince loca­ted in southwest Chi­na and the neigh­bou­ring areas in Bur­ma and Laos. Yun­nan is a moun­tai­nous area with rich natu­ral resources and lar­gest diver­si­ty of plant and ani­mal life in Chi­na. It is said to be the birthplace of the tea plant and it is the home of the oldest tea trees alive.


Sheng (raw) pu’er

Sheng pu’er is pic­ked, wit­he­red, pan-fired, rol­led and sun-dried. This mate­rial is cal­led rough tea(“maocha”, 毛茶) and can be left as it is, compres­sed to cakes or proces­sed furt­her to shou(ripe) pu’er.

Shou (ripe) pu’er

Shou pu’er is done by wet-piling the “mao cha”. After that it can be left as it is or compres­sed to cakes.


After the ini­tial proces­sing pu’er is often aged to impro­ve the tas­te and medici­nal properties.

Accor­ding to tra­di­tio­nal Chi­ne­se medici­ne gene­ral­ly youn­ger than 15 year old sheng pu’er cools the body. On the other hand shou and older than 15 year old sheng pu’er warm the body.

Oolong(wulong, 乌龙 or 烏龍)

Oolong tea is par­tial­ly oxi­di­sed tea and invol­ves complica­ted and skill­ful proces­sing. Impor­tant aspects which sepa­ra­te oolong from other teas are roas­ting and tos­sing of the leaves.
Accor­ding to tra­di­tio­nal Chi­ne­se medici­ne gree­ner oolongs cool and dar­ker oolongs warm the body.

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