China’s Ten Tribute Teas

by Jason Walker on June 8, 2009

in Member Content

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There is good reason that royalty was associated with the finer things in life. Kings and government meant taxes, and if gold couldn’t be had, your locality paid in other forms. If your locality was recognized for horses, you worked to contribute your best horses as a form of tax. The emperors of China were no different. Throughout the centuries, various teas became recognized as “tribute teas.” His royal person then had the privilege of drinking these tribute teas or offering it as gifts.

While no definitive list of tribute teas exists, here are ten of the most commonly recognized:
  1. Long Jing (dragonwell)
  2. Bi Luo Chun
  3. Huangshan Mao Feng
  4. Liu An Gua Pian
  5. Xinyang Maojian
  6. Duyun Maojian
  7. Lushan Yunwu
  8. Junshan Yinzhen
  9. Tie Guan Yin
  10. Pu’er
Each of these teas tells stories of its own, including colorful legends of its origins, and exploits of how it became acclaimed as tribute teas. Suffice it for now to notice the dominance of green teas on the list (1-7) over yellow (number 8), wulong (number 9), and black (i.e. Pu’er).
Armed with this information, you are better prepared to delve into the best China has to offer in teas. After all, if these were treasures dedicated to the king, shouldn’t they spend a little time enriching your palate?

Further research of your own is still advised before acquiring these teas for yourself. For example, Xinyang Maojian originates from Henan province. Similar maojians from other provinces attempt to imitate the style and flavor. Accept substitues at your own risk, but just as when choosing wine, be mindful that life is considerably brief to spend time drinking poor tea. Follow the lead of kings and seek tribute teas.

Compare teas with others on the Scoresheet.
Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings.
Want to see a tea reviewed? Contact me: jason@walkerteareview.com

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