Hello Tea Cup

Hello Tea Cup

An authentic magazine about all things tea, food and Chinese culture.

Recent Tea Posts

The Qingming Festival: History, Origin & Customs Explained

The Qingming Festival: History, Origin & Customs Explained

Qingming Festival (清明节) is one of the most important traditional Chinese festivals, also known as the Tomb-Sweeping Day. “Qingming” literally means “clear and bright” in Chinese, which is a very suitable name, given its history and meaning. History & Origin This holiday has a history of more than […]

Different Shapes of Pu Erh Tea

Different Shapes of Pu Erh Tea

As early as in the period of the Ancient Tea-Horse Road, with the long distance and rough conditions, the sun-dried pu erh maocha (processed loose tea) was first compressed into different shapes to save space and facilitate transportation for the caravans. Nowadays, when we talk […]

Tea & Upset Stomach

Tea & Upset Stomach

We recently received this question by email: “Can drinking too much black tea cause stomach pain?”

The relation between drinking tea and suffering from an upset stomach is complicated. In fact, drinking tea can be a cause or relieve stomach ache depending on the given circumstances.

Tea Improves Digestion

When you’re suffering from a heavy and perhaps greasy mean, drinking tea can help break down the fatt and help you digest better. The effects of this are optimal when you drink tea about 30 minutes after a meal.

On the other hand, drinking tea on an empty stomach can cause serious issues. Tea contains caffeine, which keeps you energized. However, when consumed on an empty stomach it can cause issues such as diarrhea.

Does it Matter Which Tea?

This side effect can arise for any kind of tea (green tea, black tea,..), though the chances are lower when consuming a dark oolong or ripe pu erh tea. The reason is because these teas are a bit less ‘raw’ and therefore less harsh for your stomach.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, drinking tea on an empty stomach can also effects blood circulation and even cause cold hands and feets.

Go for Herbal Tea for Upset Stomach

The solution for this is simple. When you haven’t eaten yet, simply go for a herbal or flower tea such as rooibos, ginger or chrysanthemum flower tea. These ’tisanes’ don’t contain caffeine and can be consumed at any time of the day!

Yixing Zisha Artists And Different Levels

Yixing Zisha Artists And Different Levels

If you ask Chinese people what the most prominent tea vessel is in China, most of them will give you the answer “Zisha teapot”. Zisha teapot, made of purple clay unique to Yixing, is also known as Yixing teapot. The special properties of Zisha (purple clay) make […]

Pairing Cakes with Tea

Pairing Cakes with Tea

If you love tea, and you want to know what food goes well with tea, you simply can’t miss out on delicious cakes. Yet, every cake is different and depending on the taste profile, you’ll want to pair with the right tea. For tea and […]

All You Need to Know About Fenghuang Dancong Types

All You Need to Know About Fenghuang Dancong Types

Fenghuang Dancong (Phoenix Single Bush) is a collective name for the oolong tea specially grown and produced in Chaozhou area, China. Different types of Dancong are separated and cultivated from the excellent individual plants produced from the Fenghuang Shuixian plants. All types of Dancong follow the single bush picking and single bush tea production method.

There are many types of Dancong, each with its own characteristics. In fact, Dancong tea types are so varied that even local tea farmers cannot know them all. There are about hundreds of Dancong cultivars after many generations of tea farming. Let’s find out the basis of Dangcong classifications.

Named After the Shapes of the Tea Plants

  • Large Bush Tea: the tree is tall, large (arbor type) and flourishing.
  • Wang Tian tea (Looking Up Tea): the height of the plant is around 8 meters, looks like it stands in the middle of many short tea bushes and looks up to the sky.
  • Tuan Shu (Circle Tree): the tree branches grow out like a big round circle.
  • Chicken Cage: the tree looks like a cage for chickens in a farmhouse.
  • Girl with Umbrella: it looks like a girl holding a green umbrella
  • Large Grass Shed: the tree grows like a shed that the farmer stock grass for the cattle.

Named After the Leaf Shape that is Similar to a Certain type of Leaf

If you hear grapefruit leaves, persimmon leaves, guava leaves, bayberry leaves, citrus leaves, bamboo leaves etc. in Chaozhou, people are probably talking about different Dancong tea types. Seeing these names, can you imagine the shape of the various fresh tea leaves?

Named by Leaf Colour

Under this classification, tea leaves are divided into white leaves (actually light green or yellow-green) and dark leaves (the actual leaf colour is dark green).

Named by Leaf Size

There are types like big dark leaves, baby dark leaves, big white leaves and baby white leaves.

Named After the Appearance of the Dry Tea Leaves

Big bone red, Da Hu Qi (shape like a leech with small ends), silk tea, noodle tea, “glue paper wings” (like the wings of a dragonfly, opened up and thin).

Named by Location of the Tea Plants

Wudong Dancong (Dancong from Wudong Village), Shitou Huang Zhi Xiang, Zhongping Zhi Lan, Chengtou Zhi Lan, Shemen and so on.

Named After Events or Historical Background

For example, “Oriental Red” was named during the Cultural Revolution period.

Special Naming

For example, the “Eight immortals crossing the sea”, as well as the Ya Shi Xiang (Duck shit) tea we have introduced before.

Named After a Flower that Resemble the Aroma of the Tea

This is the most versatile classification method and the most widely accepted one. People may wonder if the actual flowers were used during the tea production process. The answer is a resounding no. These amazingly intoxicating aromas that smell like gardenia, magnolia, osmanthus, pomelo, jasmine, orange blossom etc., all come naturally from the tea leaves!

All of the above classifications reflect the unique style of the Dancong. Many tea names are related to local dialects and traditions, and it may not be easy for outsiders to understand. That’s why the Dancong tea types commonly found on the market are usually named according to the aroma types:

Fenghuang Dancong Top 10 Aromas (Since 1996)

  • Huang Zhi Xiang: the fragrance is similar to yellow gardenia
  • Zhi Lan Xiang: the fragrance is nice and sharp like orchid.
  • Gui Hua Xiang: it has a osmanthus aroma.
  • Xing Ren Xiang: it has an obvious almond fragrance.
  • Mi Lan Xian: It smells like the honey- like sweet aroma of sweet potato.
  • Ye Lai Xiang: it smells like a tuberose.
  • Jiang Hua Xiang: its smell resembles ginger flower fragrance, and it is also known as “Tong Tian Xiang”, meaning intense aroma that could reach the sky.
  • Rou Gui Xiang: It has a cinnamon aroma.
  • Mo Li Xiang: it has a jasmine fragrance.
  • Yu Lan Xiang: It is like a magnolia aroma.

Of course, everyone could have a different top ten list in their mind.

Yes, figuring out Dangcong types is complicated. That’s partially because Fenghuang Dancong is oolong tea. With oolong’s unique production process, even the same tea tree could produce teas with different aromas due to the differences in picking, making or preservation.

And even if one type is defined by one aroma, it often contains a variety of other aromas too, which could resemble other flowers, fruits, cream, nut, honey and so on.

To find out which Dancong type is your favourite, or just to enjoy different drinking experience, it is always fun to drink more and compare. After all, there are so many types to try, which is also a reason why the Dangcong is so interesting and attractive to many.

How to Make Orange Peel Tea? Recipes, Food Pairings & Health Benefits

How to Make Orange Peel Tea? Recipes, Food Pairings & Health Benefits

Who wouldn’t want to have an orange for a healthy snack? Oranges are known to have plenty of health benefits together with their juicy, delicious taste. Usually, people eat the flesh of this fruit and just throw the peels away. To save these peels and […]

Why Yixing Teapots May Crack in Winter: Here’s How To Avoid It

Why Yixing Teapots May Crack in Winter: Here’s How To Avoid It

As the weather gets colder during the Winter season, your clay teapot faces the risks of cracking. This may even happen to people who’re very careful with their precious teapots. If this happens to you, your first thought would be that something was wrong with […]

The Five Great Kilns Of The Song Dynasty

The Five Great Kilns Of The Song Dynasty

The term “Five Great Kilns” (Chinese: 五大名窑, wu da ming yao) was first mentioned in a book of imperial collections of the Ming dynasty. It referred to the five kilns that were famous for their production of Chinese ceramics during the Song dynasty (960–1279). They are respectively Ruyao, Junyao, Guanyao, Dingyao and Geyao.

The character 窑 (yao) means both ceramic kilns or wares. Before their existence, ceramics were made mostly for practical use. The Five Great Kilns started a new era of making ceramic wares that were practical and ornamental at the same time. The distinctive characteristics of the products of each kiln was highly esteemed and reproduced after. In this article we introduce and discuss of type of kiln.

Ru Ware (Ruyao)

Ruyao only existed for twenty years towards the end of Northern Song Dynasty. It was destroyed due to the war between the Northern Song and the Jin army. This made Ru wares so rare and valuable even in the following Dynasty – Southern Song Dynasty. To this day, there are no more than 70 authentic Ru wares left in the world from that period of time.

Same as Guanyao and Geyao, Ruyao was famous for its celadon vessels. Over the thick bright glaze of Ru wares, there are very fine crackles (decorative patterns of very fine cracks on the surface of the glaze that can be seen on products of other kilns too). The sleek glaze changes colours slightly with light, it was so admired that a verse compared it to the colour of the sky right after the rain. At the bottom of Ru wares, we can see burn marks of small studs that sometimes looked like sesame seeds. That’s because Ru wares were supported by those studs during the firing, so the bottom of the products could be glazed as well.

A set of 5 cups each representing a reproduction of one of the Song dynasty kiln styles. Available on Teasenz.com

Jun Ware (Junyao)

Junyao was built in the early Northern Song Dynasty, and the site was in Yuzhou, Henan Province.

Jun wares were covered with an opacified glaze that contained a small amount of copper. During the firing, the oxide of copper turned into the colouring agent, which was the secret of the renowned various colours of Jun wares.

Depending on the amount of copper used in the glaze, after the firing, the glaze colours would range from blue/bluish to violet, celadon, pale blue, etc. On the glaze, there were sometimes irregular thin lines, which was called “earthworm creeping in mud”.

Guan Ware (Guanyao)

“Guan”, meaning the government in Chinese, showed that Guanyao was the official kiln that only produced fine porcelains for the royal family and court.

Normally, Guan Wares were simple plain-coloured, at most with straight edges and string lines as decoration. There were tiny crackles in the light grey-blue glaze. Different patterns of the crackles had different names, such as “ice cracks”, “plum blossoms” and “crab claws”. With the upper rim of a purplish color while the lower rim with a dark iron color, there was a saying that “purple mouth and iron foot” was a characteristic of Guan wares.

In addition to the usual cups, plates and washing vessels, there were many Guan wares that imitated the styles of wares from Shang, Zhou, Qin and Han dynasties.

Ding Ware (Dingyao)

Started from Tang Dynasty, Ding kiln lasted for over six hundred years. Dingyao was best known for its white porcelains made of white clay and white glaze. It also produced wares of other colours like black and brown. Ding wares usually had the rims unglazed, called “mang kou”, meaning rough rims. The rims were later covered by metals like gold, silver and copper. Occasionally there was over-glazing that looked like tear marks on the surface of the products, counted as a distinguished feature of Ding ware.

There were a variety of decorative patterns on Ding wares, such as flowers, birds, lions, phoenix and dragons. The patterns were simple and symmetrical during Northern Song Dynasty, and got more and more complicated and exquisite towards Southern Song Dynasty. Carving with knives, printing and painting were three popular decoration methods.

Ge Ware (Geyao)

Ge Kiln was established in Zhejiang Province by craftman Zhang Shengyi during Song Dynasty. However, the exact site of Ge Kiln has not been found.

The glaze of Geyao has a matte sheen with various colours, such as beige, gray-blue, ivory. There were often weblike crackles on the surface of the glaze. Cracking of the glaze was originally a defect in firing. Later on, craftmen mastered the cracking techniques and deliberately made crackles, created a unique sense of beauty. One of the typical patterns was thick black crackles intertwined with thin red/yellow crackles.

The most wonderful and the most overlooked feature of Ge wares is so-called “accumulation of beads”. It referred to the tiny bubbles that looked like little beads or water droplets formed inside of the thick glaze. Same as Guanyao, “purple mouth and iron foot” is a characteristic of Geyao as well.

Tie Guan Yin Production: How Is Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea Made?

Tie Guan Yin Production: How Is Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea Made?

Tie Guan Yin (铁观音, literally translated as “Iron Goddess”) is an excellent variety of oolong tea. With a fermentation degree between 50-70%, it combines the fresh scent of green tea and the mellowness of black tea. Tie Guan Yin can be divided into Spring, Summer, Autumn […]

Tea Market Flooded by Typhoon Mangkhut: Guangzhou Fangcun

Tea Market Flooded by Typhoon Mangkhut: Guangzhou Fangcun

On the 18th of September, Guangzhou’s Fangcun tea market, was completely ruined by typhoon Mangkhut. This is really big deal for tea shop owners who’ve a huge part of their wealth in pu erh tea. On September 16th, between 19:00 and 20:00, the water level […]