Exploring Rare Teas: 5 Key Indicators of Rarity


If you’re interested in tea, exploring these high-value tea varieties may be your best choice. Whether you’re consuming or collecting premium teas, these varieties can offer you a unique tea experience. There are many rare tea varieties in the world, often grown under specific climatic and soil conditions. Due to their limited production or narrow growing range, rare teas have always been sought after by tea enthusiasts and collectors.

From time to time, there are batches of particularly impressive teas. In 2023, several high-value tea varieties garnered attention. Today, we’ll introduce some of these rare teas and discuss five important indicators of premium teas. If you want to learn more about rare teas, let’s dive in!

茶葉 Tea

Do you know rare tea?

2024 Rare Tea Recommendations

There are many different varieties of rare teas in the world, each with its unique flavor and taste. For tea enthusiasts and collectors, tasting these rare tea varieties is a rare experience.

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China Biluochun – Rare Tea

Biluochun, originated from Fujian Province in southeastern China, is one of the most popular teas in China. Its delicate leaves and rich aroma make Biluochun highly sought after by connoisseurs of fine teas. It is one of the Top Ten Famous Teas in China. What makes Biluochun stand out is its tightly rolled spiral shape, resembling a snail shell.

If the rolled spirals are not tight or coherent, it is not considered high-quality Biluochun. Harvested around April, the earlier the harvest, the sweeter the aftertaste. Biluochun is a type of green tea, also known as Gongfu tea and Xin Xue tea.

Jasmine Pearls – Rare Tea

Jasmine Pearls utilize ancient techniques from thousands of years ago, incorporating fragrant organic jasmine flowers into fresh organic green tea leaves, then gently hand-rolling the tea leaves into precious “pearls”. Jasmine Pearls is a type of green tea from Fujian Province, China, mainly produced in spring, with a rich green aroma.

Junshan Silver Needle – Rare Tea

Junshan Silver Needle is a type of yellow tea with only buds, harvested in early spring when the buds are not yet fully open, usually starting from early March. It has a very limited production due to its small growing area and light bud weight. The high-quality, finely crafted Junshan Silver Needle does not have a grassy taste but instead carries a sweetness reminiscent of corn.

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Rare Tea, like elusive whispers of ancient tales, beckons with its mystique, each leaf a testament to nature’s artistry, infused with the secrets of distant lands, offering a taste of the extraordinary, a journey into realms unknown.

Exploring Rare Teas: 5 Key Indicators of Rarity - ABoxTik 一盒精品 3

What is rare tea?

Five Indicators of Rare Teas

1. Cultivar – Indicator of Rare Teas

Cultivar refers to the different varieties of tea trees cultivated by tea farmers. Over the years, farmers have cherished certain cultivars, and through years of experimentation with specific tea varieties, they may discover which varieties thrive best in their region and continue to produce them long-term. This is why certain regions are renowned for their teas, all tied to the local tea cultivars.

Taiwan also has its own exclusive tea cultivars, such as “Tai Cha No. 12 / Jin Xuan” and “Tai Cha No. 13 / Cui Yu.” These teas are the result of combining original foreign cultivars with Taiwan’s climate, making them distinctly Taiwanese.

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2. Altitude – Indicator of Rare Teas

We often hear that rare teas come from high mountains because these are not easily accessible places. Tea plants grown or naturally occurring at higher altitudes are considered rarer. High mountain teas from around the world are favored by tea collectors. Besides their rarity, high mountain teas endure the harshest conditions, with extreme temperature differences between day and night. This variation locks sweetness in the leaves. Tea plants must work hard to store nutrients to survive in these harsh conditions. Additionally, there are fewer insects at high altitudes, reducing the need for pesticides, so most high mountain teas are organic, even without specific certification.

Mountainous areas in Asia, including China, Japan, and Taiwan, are often shrouded in mist and sometimes see little sunlight. This process is similar to the shading process used in producing shaded green teas. Therefore, high mountain teas from these regions are particularly favored by tea collectors worldwide. However, due to the difficulties in high-altitude operations and the terrain, manual harvesting is predominant, resulting in higher prices and lower quantities, making teas from higher altitudes more sought after.

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3. Shading Effect – Indicator of Rare Teas

Similar to the concept of growing tea at high altitudes, shading tea plants ensures they receive minimal sunlight, resulting in the production of high-quality tea. Direct sunlight can produce teas that are more astringent and bitter. Most inexpensive teas are produced in areas exposed to direct sunlight. Shaded teas help preserve L-theanine in tea leaves, responsible for the sweetness and freshness of the tea.

Conversely, sunlight can kill theanine and increase catechins. Natural shading by clouds is the most excellent shading effect. Rare teas are often produced in geographically advantageous environments. For instance, Japanese Gyokuro uses artificial methods to achieve shading effects.

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4. Harvesting Time – Indicator of Rare Teas

Tea harvested in spring is often considered the best because it’s when farmers can pick the youngest and most delicate tea buds and leaves. These buds have stored all the best flavors during the harsh winter weather. As the harvesting season progresses and the weather warms, the tea gradually becomes rougher and more bitter.

While many believe early spring teas are the best, unique summer and autumn teas can still be found. Another rare tea harvesting time is winter. Even teas from low altitudes harvested in winter can have the sweetness of high mountain teas. Many tea farmers opt for blended harvests to create balanced and consistently available teas throughout the year. The rarity of teas is not only related to harvesting time but also to other factors.

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5. Picking Style – Indicator of Rare Teas

Tea enthusiasts of rare teas definitely lean towards teas picked and selected by hand rather than those harvested by machines in large quantities. When tea is handpicked, farmers handle the leaves very gently and always choose the best ones. Machinery may damage or discard good tea buds, which is not the case with manual picking. Therefore, rare and premium teas are always handpicked.

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In the depths of mist-covered mountains, Rare Tea blooms like jewels scattered across emerald carpets, its aroma a melody that lingers in the soul, each sip a journey to distant lands where secrets are whispered by ancient trees.


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ABoxTik sells tea from various regions in Taiwan, including special varieties like “Jin Xuan Oolong Tea Bags” & “Green Jade Oolong Tea Bags.” With excellent quality at affordable prices, everyone has the opportunity to taste Taiwan’s special premium teas. Visit ABoxTik’s official website now to make your purchase!

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