Tea World

Lesson 23

Chinese Tea Grading System

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Chinese teas are usually numbered, first being the highest grade and down from there. There is no set stopping point, but generally 7 or 9 is what most people deal with. Again, this is specific to the leaf style and shape and how perfectly that was executed in production. It says nothing to the quality of the flavor. You remember, the kind of tea that seems best in appearance is not   always the best in taste.

In addition to numbering, you may also find reference to the season of harvest in the Chinese system. Pre-qingming Dragonwell ("before the rains") is a good example of this.  

Chinese tea names are often poetic and descriptive of the leaf ('hairy crab', 'longevity eyebrow', 'red snail'). Some can also indicate where the tea came from - Yunnan, for example, is a well-known tea province in China.   

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