Sunday, March 25, 2012

Top 5 Most-Viewed Chinese Provinces on RateTea

Previously, I wrote about the top 5 most-viewed pages on tea producing regions on RateTea. RateTea not only has pages on each country that produces tea, but also on sub-regions of the country, on the level of states (provinces, prefectures, etc.) and even counties or districts.

Incidentally, we just did a major improvement to the region pages on the site, rolled out March 8th, so if you haven't explored them recently, I would encourage you to do so! Even more recently, Mar. 23rd, we just added maps of county-level divisions within Fujian province.

The following list shows which of the 14 Chinese provinces listed on RateTea gets the most views. The list is relatively predictable, although there's one surprise:

  1. Yunnan - This province doesn't surprise me at all. Yunnan province, besides being the origin of Pu-erh, also produces well-known black, green, and white teas, and it has a bit of a reputation for "weird" or "esoteric" teas, and it's just an interesting province in general. Yunnan would be high on my list of provinces that I'd imagine tea enthusiasts would want to read about, both because it's interesting in its own right, and because the people who tend to like teas from this province tend to be those most interested in tea's origin and production.

  2. Fujian - If I had to pick one province that is most important in tea production, I'd probably pick Fujian. It is undoubtedly the most important place in the world with respect to white tea, and it houses both Anxi (producing Tie Guan Yin and numerous other oolongs) and the Wuyi Mountains, making it where most of the "oolong stuff" (other than dancong) happens in China. And Fujian is also is the origin of numerous well-known green and black teas.

  3. Zhejiang - Zhejiang province, just nort of Fujian province, along the coast, is a major producer of green teas, and the origin of many famous varieties of green tea, including Dragon Well, gunpowder green tea, and Anji bai cha. There's no surprise for me here.

  4. Anhui - Anhui is the origin of Keemun, and also produces Huo Shan Huang Ya, a yellow tea, and numerous green teas, including Huang Shan Mao Feng, Tai Ping Hou Kui, and Lu An Melon Seed. This one was also not a surprise.

  5. Jiangxi - This was the only surprise for me on the list. I know relatively little about Jiangxi, having only ever sampled three teas from there (the only memorable ones being two Wuyuan green teas). Up until very recently, RateTea's article on this province was briefer than many others, so why it has been getting so many views is a mystery to me.

Runners up, in order, were Sichuan, Shandong, Hubei, and Hunan. The other provinces got even less attention. I was a little disappointed to see Guangdong, the origin of most Dancong (single-trunk) oolongs, even lower down on the list.

What do you think?

Does anything on this list surprise you? How would you explain Jiangxi, or the absence of Guangdong?


  1. Jiangxi (primarily north) and Anhui (primarily south) historically belonged to one tea district and was the largest green tea district in China. Nowadays Jiangxi tea is overall less famous and therefore less expensive than Anhui and Zhejiang, but it has more high mountains than the other two and has great teas.

  2. That's interesting; I did not know that. Do you know if there are any English-language sources about this? If you ever need topics to write about, I'd be curious to hear what you know on this topic because I haven't seen anything on it yet.

    I was quite impressed by the two green teas that I tried from Wuyuan in Jiangxi, one from you and one from Upton Tea Imports. They were oddly similar--so similar in fact that when I sampled your tea, I was immediately struck with the similarity to the Upton tea, which I had sampled over a year ago. I was not aware that the two teas were from the same region, but they had a distinctive enough character that I was able to make this connection instantly, even with a full year in-between tasting them. I was then not surprised when I looked them up and found they originated in the same region.

  3. I don't remember if Mary Lou Heiss's The Story of Tea mentioned any of the tea producing districts. But I guess overall people wouldn't be that interested in names of provinces that produce tea. Well, your blog is probably the first one I've seen that focuses on it :-p Interestingly, Wuyuan was part of Anhui until 1950s when it was put into Jiangxi.

  4. Ninghong is from Jiangxi. Lu Shan, of Yun Wu fame, is in Jiangxi. More importantly, so is Jingdezhen, the porcelain center. When I visited your provinces page I went straight to Jilin! Cuz I was like, huh?