All the tea in China. If you’ve never wondered how this popular phrase came to be, consider that not only is China the birthplace of tea drinking and culture but to this day remains the number one tea-producing country in the world – albeit with India more or less hot on its heels.
There are a number of regions in China that are critical to the production of tea. Some are synonymous with a certain type of tea, such as Yunnan, which turns out a variety of tippy black tea by the same name and which is also the point of origin for a great deal of the world’s puerh supply. Some other important tea-growing regions include Zhejiang, Sichuan, and Anhui.
Fujian Province is another well-known Chinese tea-growing province. Located on the southeastern coast of China, Fujian is one of China’s 22 provinces and is home to about 44 million people. Its location is worth noting since it lies across the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan – which is formerly known as Formosa and which is another of the world’s important tea-growing areas.
Taiwan is perhaps best known for it’s production of a number of fine oolong varieties and so it should come as no surprise that its neighbors across the way in Fujian also produce several of the same. Other popular types of tea grown there include jasmine, white, Lapsang Souchong (a black tea flavored with pine smoke) and a relatively obscure black variety known as Golden Monkey.
But it’s really the oolong teas of Fujian that are its calling card. Some of the best of these, as noted in The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook, are the rock or cliff oolongs produced in the mountainous Wu Yi Shan region in the northern part of the province. Among the most noteworthy of these, Da Hong Pao, Bai Ji Guan, Tie Luo Han, and Shui Jin Gui. Among the more notable varieties produced in the southern part of Fujian, in the region surrounding the city of Anxi, the popular Tieguanyin oolong, also known as Iron Goddess of Mercy.