Enjoying a cup of tea at a Chinese restaurant is sometimes as delightful as the food itself. If you need help identifying a wonderful tea that you had in a restaurant, then this is the guide you need. Below, we’ll discuss all the Chinese teas that are commonly served.
Jasmine Green Tea
The only green tea that’s mainly served in Chinese restaurants is Jasmine tea. You may wonder why a tea that mainly consists of tea leaves, is named after a flower. It’s simple: Jasmine tea consists of green tea leaves which are scented by jasmine flowers. Sometimes, you’ll find some flowers in Jasmine tea as well, while in other cases there’s no flower at all. Don’t worry about this, since the flowers are mainly for decorative purposes. What matters is that the scent of jasmine is already absorbed by the leaves.
Jasmine tea is one of the most popular teas, because the strong aroma can easily withstand food strong flavours. Not everyone is fan of it though, since it can be slightly bitter.
Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea
Tie Guan Yin is a kind of oolong tea, which is also often served in Chinese restaurants. The tea liquor of this is somewhat thicker and though unscented, it still has a wonderful subtle flowery aroma. Oolong teas are partially oxidised, resulting in a more smooth and less bitter taste compared to Jasmine green tea! This is why it’s considered one of the best beginner teas among tea enthusiasts.
Oolong can be considered a type of tea between green and black tea. While green tea is minimally oxidised, black tea is fully oxidised. Oolong tea is partially oxidised. And depending on the oxidation level, it can range from light to dark oolong. Tie Guan Yin is a kind of light oolong, hence the greener appearance of the leaves.
Pu erh tea
There are two kinds of pu erh tea: raw and ripe. What’s mainly served in Chinese restaurants is ripe puerh. The flavor of ripe pu erh is sweet and earthy. The texture is thick due to post fermentation. For more information about the difference between ripe and raw and all the kinds of flavours, you may read this article: pu erh tea taste explained.
If you’re ordering food that is a bit greasy or oily, then pu erh tea is the best choice. It’s known for its ability to break down fat and support digestion!
For those who want to avoid caffeine, Chrysanthemum tea is the way to go. The flavour of this flower tea resembles chamomile. No wonder it’s also known as the ‘Chamomile of the East’.
The Chinese prefer Chrysanthemum when they want to avoid heat and inflammation as a result of eating too much fried food.
Chrysanthemum Pu Erh Tea
Blending tea with herbs/flowers isn’t that common in China, but the Chrysanthemum pu erh combination is a popular exception. Those who don’t like the overly earthy notes of pu erh, will be delighted by the softening touches of Chrysanthemum flowers, while also adding a soothing flowery aroma. To make this tea at home, you can follow this Chrysanthemum pu erh recipe.
We hope you’re now more familiar with what teas are served in Chinese restaurants. It’s important to note that this article is mainly written based on teas that are served in Chinese restaurants outside China. Inside China, there will be regional differences. For example, in Hangzhou, locals prefer to drink their local produce: Longjing tea, while in Yanzhou they serve their famous Kui Long Zhu blend.