|Image: Sencha, two types|
This post is an optional homework assignment for a tea education course. During an early class we discussed tea cultivation and the Japanese green tea cultivar 'Yabukita' was the case study. A cultivar is a cultivated variety that must be propagated vegetatively typically through cuttings whereas as a plant variety occurs naturally and is propagated through seeds. Learn more about cultivar versus variety. Yabukita accounts for 85% of green tea production in Japan. It is is one of more than 52 registered cultivars, both green and black, in Japan. Ricardo at My Japanese Green Tea has a list of the Japanese tea cultivars registered between 1953 and 2012.
|Image: Dragon Well|
I found the discussion of cultivars fascinating so decided to complete the optional assignment. Although the assignment was to chart 12 Chinese green tea cultivars I had been considering researching Taiwanese oolongs because I have been drinking a lot of these teas this year. However, in looking for the possible cultivar used to produce the Alishan oolong offered by Adagio Teas, I came across a list of Taiwanese oolong and black cultivars created by James at TeaDB. You can read my review of the Alishan oolong here.
|Image: Silver Needle|
Without further ado, here is my chart of 12 Chinese Tea Cultivars with preference given to green teas. I have drunk every tea on this list; most I have reviewed.
|Tea Name||Translated Name||Type of Tea||Cultivar(s)||Region (Province)|
|1||Longjing||Dragon Well||Green||Longjing #43; |
Longjing Jiu Keng
|2||Pi Lo Chun/ Bi Luo (or Lu) Chun||Spring Green Snail||Green||-||Jiangsu|
|3||Lu Shan Yun Wu||-||Green||Longjing #43||Jiangxi, Anhui and Zhejiang|
|4||Huang Shan Mao Feng||-||Green||Mao Feng||Anhui|
|5||Bai Hao Yin Zhen||Silver Needle||White||Da Bai (Fuding; Zhen He)||Fujian|
|6||Bai Mu Dan||White Peony||White||Fuding Da Bai||Fujian|
|7||Tie Guan Yin||Iron Goddess of Mercy||Oolong||Tieguanyin||Fujian|
|8||Da Hong Pao||Big Red Robe||Oolong||Beidou No. 1 (is it a cultivar, or a sub-varietal of Shui Xian/ Shui Hsien?)||Fujian (Wuyi Mountains)|
|9||Jin Jun Mei||Golden Eyebrow||Black (Lapsang Souchong)||Jin Jun Mei (buds only); Fu Yun Liu Hao||Fujian (Wuyi Mountains)|
|10||Keemun||-||Black||Keemun Mao Feng (fine pluck); Keemun Hao Ya (A, B)||Anhui|
|11||Bai Lin Congfu||-||Black||Fuding Da Bai; Da Hao||Fujian|
|12||-||Golden Monkey||Black||Fuding (imperial pluck)||Fujian; Yunnan|
|Image: Golden Monkey|
One of the things that struck me on reviewing the chart was that although the birthplace of tea is Yunnan Province, many of the teas I list here are from Fujian Province. This was accidental; I did not purposefully select teas from Fujian. The authors of Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties point out that Fujian "is renowned for the variety of teas it produces." Another curious feature is the lack of translated names for all the teas. I did not find a central source for tea cultivar information. Not all tea vendors list cultivar names. Luckily, of the teas presented in the chart, only one is missing a cultivar name, the Bi Luo Chun. It's possible that this tea does not have a cultivar, or that the cultivar used is not officially recorded, or that there is some disagreement about whether the tea is produced from a sub-varietal or a cultivar as in the case of Da Hong Pao. In some cases, such as Longing and Tieguanyin, the tea name and cultivar name are the same.
|Image: Huang Shan Mao Feng|
Please review the chart. Let me about errors. Help me to fill in the missing information. Thank you!