Encyclopedia of Chinese and Taiwanese Tea by Janet Chan

A visual display of the varieties of tea from China and Taiwan. As the second most widely consumed beverage, second only to water, tea has a lot more varieties than you would think. Like wine where the taste and smell of the final product is determined by the terroir, the soil and the elevation of the plantation determines the unique characteristics specific to that tea. All of the world’s tea (about 1,500 types) is produced from one species of the tea tree, the Camellia sinensis.

Depending on the location of the bush, the terrior, the leaves tenderness and size, time of harvest, and its production method (amount of fermentation), the resulting leaves develop its own distinct shape, color, aroma and taste that cannot be be produced elsewhere. The fermentation process, or the lack-thereof, determines the type of tea: White, Yellow, Green, Oolong, Black, and Dark.

The teas below are grouped the province they originate from. Each province is listed from North to South. Within these regions, the teas are listed according to the elevation of the tea plantation. Both English and Chinese names are listed. The color block indicates the category and the bar on the right marks the range of the elevation. Under each tea is a number which, when matched with the accompanying provincial map, shows the prefecture.