The history of Chinese tea (茶, chá) goes back for many centuries, and though there is no specific evidence that proves when tea started to be used as a beverage, it was still originally drunk for its health purposes. There are many different types of Chinese tea, and the more natural or fermented the leaves are, the more expensive the tea tends to be.
Green Tea (绿色 , Lǜchá):
This is the most natural tea class that is dried with no fermentation process. It is believed to have the most medicinal values of tea and one of the lowest levels of caffeine. Green tea carries a lot of antioxidants that strengthen immune systems. An example of this class of tea is 龙井 (Lóngjǐng).
Oolong Tea (乌龙茶, Wūlóngchá):
This is a kind of tea that also belongs in its own class. It is half-fermented which gives it more flavor than natural teas. Oolong is an emulsifier for fat and cholesterol so it is often paired with greasy food. A example of this class of tea is 铁观音 (Tiě guānyīn).
Black Tea (红茶, Hóngchá):
Red tea in Chinese is sometimes translated to “Black Tea” in English depending whether the fermentation has reached a standard level. Red tea is not very popular. Black tea leaves are fully fermented. The tea is very strong and the liquid turns a dark color due to all the years of fermentation. Black tea is good for cleaning the digestive system. An example of this class of tea is 普洱 (Pǔ’ěr).
Scented Tea (花茶, Huāchá)
“Flower tea” is sometimes referred to as scented tea. Petals and bases of flowers are added to a mixture of tea leaves and are brewed together. Different flowers are believed to have different health benefits, but each kind has a floral taste. Examples of this class of tea are Jasmine (茉莉花, Mòlìhuā) and Chrysanthemum (菊花, Júhuā).
Sometimes tea leaves are compressed into bricks (砖茶, zhuānchá). This helps the tea leaves ferment and age like wine.
Unlike the British who add sugar and cream to their tea, the Chinese drink their tea naturally so they can enjoy the earthy flavors of the leaves.