Tea drinking was popular in ancient China as tea was regarded
as one of the seven daily necessities along with firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce,
and vinegar. It is important in people's daily life.
In China tea
is a symbol of earthly purity. It has been pointed out that tea resembles the
recluse and is for quit company. It can only be enjoyed in an atmosphere where
there is no loudness or noises. For more than a thousand years tea drinking has
given the greatest pleasure in Chinese life. It is not just quenching of thirst
but for relaxation in quiet environment.
For the Chinese, tea drinking and
tea tasting are not the same. Tea drinking is for refreshment and tonic effect.
Tea tasting has moral meaning, while drinking should match surrounding views like
breeze, moonlight, pines, bamboo, or snow. All these show the ultimate world of
Chinese culture: the harmonious unity of human beings with nature.
also cooperated with personal character. The fragrance of tea is pleasant and
lasting. A friendship between gentlemen is also like a cup of tea. With a cup
of tea in hand, you will feel quiet and comfortable. You will never care about
fame, wealth and other earthly affairs.
In China, there are customs about tea.
A host will inject tea into teacup only seven tenth, and it is said the other
three tenth will be filled with friendship and affection. Moreover, the teacup
should be empty in three gulps. Tea plays an important role in Chinese emotional
is always offered immediately to a guest in Chinese home. Serving a cup of tea
is more than a matter of mere politeness; it is a symbol of togetherness, a sharing
of something enjoyable and a way of showing respect to visitors. To not take at
least a sip might be considered rude in some areas. In previous time, if the host
held his teacup and said "please have tea", the guest will take his
conge upon the suggestion to leave.
Whatever sayings are of Chinese tea, it
is a life time of enjoyment! If you are new to China, Chinese tea is one of the
drinks that you should certainly have a taste!
God of Agriculture (GoA), one of the prehistoric representatives
of Chinese people, was known to have invented agriculture, medicine. And he was
said to be the one who found tea. In (GoA's Book of Herb), it says "GoA personally
tasted hundreds of herb. In a single day, he was hit by 72 poisons. But he discovered
the tea tree and used the tea leaves to neutralize all poisons." This is
probably the earliest record of tea among Chinese people.
It is believed that
China has tea-shrubs as early as five to six thousand years ago, and human cultivation
of tea-plants dates back two thousand years. Tea from China, along with her silk
and porcelain, began famous to the world over more than a thousand years ago and
has since always been an important Chinese export. Tea as a drink prospered during
the Tang Dynasty, and tea shops became popular. A major event of this time was
the completion of Tea Classics, the cornerstone of Chinese tea culture, by Lu
Yu, Tea Sage of China. This little book are detailed concerning various aspects
of tea, such as growth areas for tea trees, wares and skills for processing tea.
present more than forty countries in the world grow tea with Asian countries producing
90% of the world's total output. All tea trees in other countries have their origin
directly or indirectly in China. The word¡¯ tea ¡®as a drink
in many countries is derivatives from the Chinese character "cha." Now,
it is impossible to know how many people are drinking tea in the world, it must
be a huge number and will go on increased.
Chinese tea usually be classified into five types
according to the different methods by which it is processed.
Green Tea is the most popular in most places in China. About
50% of China's teas are Green tea. It is the most natural of all Chinese tea classes
which keeps the original colour of the tea leaves without fermentation during
processing. This category consists mainly of Longjing tea of Zhejiang Province,
Maofeng of Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province and Biluochun produced in Jiangsu.
tonic effect of green tea has earlier been known. Its radiation-resistance effect
makes it a top choice for people who sit before computers for long hours.
temperature of water should be varied according to the type of green tea. Generally,
water temperature of 85 Celsius degree is the best.
Black tea, known as "red tea" (hong cha) in China,
is the category which is fermented before baking; it is a later variety developed
on the basis of the green tea. However, unlike green tea, black tea does not lose
its fragrance easily so it is suitable for long-distance transportation. The best
brands of black tea are Qihong of Anhui , Dianhong of Yunnan, Suhong of Jiangsu,
Chuanhong of Sichuan and Huhong of Hunan.
Oolong Tea is half way between green tea and black tea in a sense
that it is half- fermented. It's also called "Qing Cha" (grass tea).
It is a specialty from the provinces on China's southeast coast: Fujian, Guangdong
Oolong Tea is the chosen tea for the famous Kung Fu Cha brewing
process. It's the serious Chinese tea drinker's tea. Aroma ranges from light to
medium. Beginners in Oolong Tea should be careful as even though flavor is only
mild to medium, the tea could be very strong.
Most Chinese Compressed Tea uses Black Tea as base tea. This
is the kind of tea which is compressed and hardened into a certain shape like
bricks, cakes, columns and other shapes. It is mainly produced in Hubei, Hunan,
Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
Compressed Tea has all the characteristics of
Black Tea. It can be stored for years and decades and mainly supplied to the ethnic
minorities living in the border areas of the country. Aged Compressed Tea has
a tamed flavor that Compressed Tea fans would pay huge price for.
It is a mixture of fragrant flowers with green tea, black
tea or oolong tea in the course of processing. The flowers include jasmine, orchid,
plum, gardenia, roses, etc. Jasmine tea is a well-known favorite with the northerners
of China and with a growing number of foreigners. There are strict rules about
the proportion of flowers to tea. If there are too many flowers, the scent of
flowers will dilute that of tea; if too few, the tea is not perfect. Scented tea
is sweet, pleasant and delightful to the palate. Fuzhou in Fujian Province and
Suzhou in Jiangsu Province have long been famous for jasmine tea.
Wares and Tea House
There is a saying, ¡°China has the
best tea wares and teahouses in the world." It really has a well-deserved
reputation, not only because of the numerous tea wares and teahouses, but also
because the special way of serving and drinking tea.
wares consist of tea rollers, teapots, cups, tea bowls, and trays and so on. Nowadays
with the development of tea procedure, we can make a cup of tea with a single
porcelain cup. In traditional china people call it gaiwan. A gaiwan dated back
to the 30's. It looks very close to a modern gaiwan except that the cup part is
more bowl-shaped, and the plate has a big hole in the middle to hold the cup.
The cups which look like antiques have covers and saucers. The cup sitting on
the saucer looks like a boat floating on the water, hence the name of " the
tea-boat " . The cover keeps the water warm and also adjusts the steeping
speed of the tea. If you want to drink it immediately after the tea has been made,
you can use the cover to strain the tea. So the tea can be soaked well quickly
and then it can be drunk. Or the tea can be drunk with the cover on the cup. In
this way the tea leaves won't go into the mouth. In China, people think different
teas prefer different tea wares. Green tea prefers glass tea ware, scented tea
porcelain ware while Oolong tea performs best in purple clay tea ware. In its
long history, tea wares not only improve tea quality but also by-produce a tea
art. Skilled artisans bestow them artistic beauty.
People who go to the teahouses
are not really thirsty. Retired people pay little money to go to the teahouse
and sit there all day long to chat with each other. Sometimes, people bring guests
to the teahouses. They eat melon or sunflower seeds while they chat and return
home when they are tired of sitting there. Normally, teahouses are the ideal places
to kill time, especially for old people. For young people and businessman, it
is a good place to make friends, do business and relax yourself. To some extent,
it is something like the pub in western countries.
important reason why is the teahouse gathering still booming after hundred and
thousand years of history is that since the ancient times, teahouses have played
the role as an important occasion for normal people to exchange information and
handle with public affairs. Today, although almost every family has possessed
radio, TV and computer and a lot of coffee bars and ballrooms are opened to public,
many people, especially the elderly people, still like to go to teahouses, because
they believe that teahouse is a good place which makes a harmonious atmosphere
to meet old friends and to communicate with each other.
Alcohol is part of Chinese folklore and in modern
China alcohol still remains an important role in people¡¯s life. It
still appears in almost all social activities, the most common occasions being
birthday parties for seniors, wedding feasts and sacrifice ceremonies, where liquor
must be the main drink to show happiness or respect.
is one of the first countries to have invented alcohol as a drink. As early as
in the Shang dynasty of the 18th through 11th centuries B.C., the use of grain
to make wine had become widespread. Inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells
as well as bronze inscriptions preserve many records of Shang-era people worshiping
their ancestors with wine, and surely wine drinking was very popular at the time.
ancient China, since alcohol was regarded as a sacred liquid it was only used
when people made sacrificial offerings to Heaven, Earth or significant ancestors.
After the Zhou Dynasty, alcohol was deemed as one of the Nine Rites and every
Dynasty since, placed heavy emphasis on alcohol administration, setting up special
ministries to manage alcohol production and banqueting. Later, along with the
development of the social culture alcohol became much more of an ordinary, everyday
Drinking wine enables people of different
cultural backgrounds to understand the Chinese alcohol culture and folklore. The
symbolic drinking of wine on various occasions and in different places convey
different meanings. It can express either joy or sorrow. In China, there is a
saying that 'a thousand cups of wine is not too much when bosom friends meet together',
which indicates the exited feelings when one meets an ideal friend.
drunk and released is an important way for Chinese artists to unleash their artistic
and creative inspiration. After drinking the mysterious liquid, many famous poets,
such as Li Bai and Du Fu, talented in writing and left us surprisingly marvelous
poems. Not only poetry but also painting and calligraphy were elevated to new
heights with the consumption of alcohol. Wang Xizhi, the famous Chinese calligrapher
who was called the Saint of Calligraphy, also tried to write famous works after
being drunk. One famous poets ever said the greatest joy to get out of drinking
is to get just intoxicated and not drunk - a state of stupor when you lapse into
a semi-inebriate state of placid enjoyment.