In the far southeastern corner of China lies Guangdong Province, one of the more populous provinces in the country, and home to the highly fertile Pearl River Delta. Guangdong is dense, busy, has an economy larger than many countries, and is steeped in over 2000 years of history which led to a strong trading economy, a wide ethnic mix, and the development of neighboring Macao and Hong Kong.
About Guangdong Province
With a land area of 179,800 sq km, Guangdong is about the same size as the state of Missouri. Unlike Missouri,however, which has a population of about 6 Million, Guangdong boasts a population over 17 times larger at over 106 Million. Its capitol city Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton and namesake to the Cantonese dialect, alone has 13 Million residents (New York City has about 8.5 Million). It’s located in the far south of China, further South than Florida in fact, and tends to be very hot and humid. It features both tropical and sub-tropical environments complete with a distinct monsoon season.
As an administered region, Guangdong dates back to at least a couple hundred years before the common era (BCE) in the Qin Dynasty. During the Tan Dynasty (600-900 CE) the region came into its own as a significant trading region and has continued to increase its trade ever since. As a trading region, Guangdong has a wide variety of ethnic peoples playing host to Mongol, Persian, Europeans, as well as Chinese from many other parts of the country.
The geographic makeup of Guangdong is relatively mountainous with the exception of the far southwestern portion and Guangzhou where the Pearl River Delta forms. While it is mountainous the region is also a significant agriculture producer with everything from fruits to coffee and yes, tea.
Guangdong Province Teas
While Guangdong borders many top tier tea producing provinces it doesn’t produce anywhere near the amounts of nearby Yunnan, Hunan, and Fujian. However, it’s role as a major port and long trading history means that many teas pass through the province on their way to a global market.
Within the province Guangdong, like other Chinese provinces, has its own famous teas which include Ying De Black and Phoenix Oolong.
Ying De Black Tea, or Yingde Hongcha is described as a black tea with notes of cocoa. Produced in Yingde, due north of Guangzhou, this black is believed only to have been produced since the late 1950’s. While it is known for its coca notes this tea also has somewhat of a pepper finish and an amber liquor.
Phoenix Oolong, by contrast is an oolong tea produced in Fenghuang on the border with Fujian Province. The tea itself is often said to have honey and orchid aromas though in reality there are many different varieties of Phoenix oolong produced from old tea bushes around Phoenix Mountain. Thus you are likely to find several different Phoenix oolong teas with different aromas and tastes.
Guangdong is yet another in a long list of amazing provinces throughout China with its own teas, culture, and history.