Drinking tea has become an important part of Chinese people’s daily life. Tea is to the Chinese as wine is to the French, as beer is to the Germans, and as cigars are to the Cubans. It is true that China is the home to tea.
It is said that the practice of drinking tea has had a long history of more than 4,000 years in China. It was originally used for medical purposes in ancient time. According to popular legend, Chinese Emperor Shennong first discovered tea when a leaf fell into the boiling water. Later, Luyu, an expert of drinking tea in Tang Dynasty (618-907), concocted a variety of different preparation and cultivation methods of tea. Also the character tea, Cha in Chinese, was created by Lu Yu. Then the method of drinking tea was spread to Japan and then to European countries.
According to the geographic location and climate, different places grow various kinds of tea. Generally speaking, tea is classified into five kinds on the basis of processing method, including green tea, black tea, oolong tea, compressed tea and scented tea.
Green tea is the most popular type of tea which keeps the original color of the tea leaves without fermentation during processing. The famous green tea includes Longjing in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, Maofeng from Yellow Mountains, Anhui Province, Biluochun in Wu County, Jiangsu Province and so on.
Black tea, also called Red tea, is fermented before baking. It can keep the fragrance for a long time and long distance. Winter is the best time to drinking black because its can warm the stomach and good to the health. The best brands of black tea are Qihong in Anhui, Dianhong in Yunnan, Suhong in Jiangsu, Chuanhong in Sichuan and Huhong in Hunan.
Oolong Tea is made after partial fermentation, which is a mix between green tea and black tea. It combines the rich flavor of green tea and the fragrance of black tea. Usually, the high-skilled way of drinking oolong tea is called Kungfu Tea. It requires a set of tea wares that includes a stove, teapot and tiny teacups. Oolong tea widely grows in the area of China's southeast coast, covering Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan.
Often the black tea is fumed or steamed to soft, and then compressed and hardened into a certain shape, which called compressed tea. It is good for transport and storage and is mainly supplied to the ethnic minorities living in the border areas of the country. Most of the compressed tea is in the form of bricks, hence also called "brick tea". Tibetan people are in favor of brick tea. Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan and Yunnan are the major producing area of compressed tea.
Scented tea is made through mixing fragrant flowers in the tea leaves in the course of processing. Jasmine tea is the most popular one in northern China. Also chloranthus tea is worthy of a try.
Tea Culture, literarily means tea and culture, is reflects traditional Chinese culture with the beauty of connotation and richness. The main contain of tea art in China consists of five necessary elements: tea leaves, water, tea set, fire duration and environment. And three activities fully show us the tea ceremony. The first one is decocting tea, which occurred in Tang Dynasty and is the earliest tasting form of tea. Tea Fight is the second activity. It a kind of match that refined scholars bring tea and water to a place and choose a best one after testing and appreciating tea. The last one is the famous Kungfu Tea, a kind of skills of making tea popular in southeast China.
Season & Tea
Most areas in China enjoy a monsoon climate with four distinct seasons of warm spring, hot summer, cool autumn and chill winter. As a result, what to drink is changeable according to the season. Unusually, we drink scented tea in spring, green tea in summer, oolong tea in autumn and black tea in winter.
The Classic of Tea
Known as the encyclopedia of tea, the Classic of Tea is the earliest and most comprehensive book of tea in China and around the world written by Lu Yu. The book compose of ten pieces, including tea’s development, the tools to pick tea-leaves and make tea, the skills of making tea, utensils to boil and drink tea, the custom and effects of drinking tea and so on. The book promoted the development of Chinese tea in Tang Dynasty. It makes drinking tea not only an activity in people’s daily life, but a unique culture in Chinese civilization.
The Benefits of Drinking Tea
Tea is the national drink in China. According to the scientific data, drinking tea is good to people’s health. In detail, tea has the functions of refreshing mind, clearing summer-heat, purifying heart, losing weight, improving eyesight and slakes thirst and some more.
1. For the sake of getting the beat out of tea, our suggestion is drinking it hot.
2. Do not drink too much strong tea before sleeping.
3. Do not drink tea soon after or before meals.
4. Do not drink with medication.
>>Related Reading: Chinese Tea Sets, Ancient Tea Horse Road, Chinese Tea Culture, Sichuan Teahouses, Kungfu Tea, National Tea Museum
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