Let’s just lay the facts on the table: Tea is a special kind of beverage. Coffee is for kick-starting mornings, soda is for an afternoon break, and juice is for brunches and flights. You wouldn’t want to really mix those. After all, coffee on a flight just means you’ll be awake with nowhere to go, pulling out a juice box in the break room will get you funny looks, and soda for breakfast just sounds kind of gross. But tea is a different breed, and Chinese tea gets a special spotlight.
Thanks to its incredible biodiversity and tea-rich cultural heritage, China has elevated tea to an art form with countless types of plants and preparation techniques. But with so much varie-tea, it’s hard to know where to start. Sure, you’ve always heard green tea is good for you, so maybe you should just drink that. But what about the other types, like white, yellow, and oolong? Each type is prepared a certain way, which produces a radically different taste. But who has time to go through all that Googling anyway?
Luckily, we’ve investigated these questions so you didn’t have to. Covering thousands of years of Chinese history, we’ve curated a list of 10 classic Chinese teas fit for any and all occasions.