The Culture of Chinese Tea
China has a tea culture of more than 3000 years.
Most Chinese people like tea and Chinese people are the first people in the world who have tea.
And we have a recorded history of tea of three thousand years.
And one thousand and two hundred years ago, a man named Lu Yu wrote a book which is called “Cha Jing”, means “the Bible of Tea”.
And this is the very first book on tea in the world.
The book offers a detailed explanation of the original tea, tools for picking and manufacturing tea, types and verification of tea, tea wares for brewing and drinking, history and method of tea drinking, as well as tea producing districts and their rankings.
China now boasts a sophisticated tea culture, which goes far beyond tea itself.
Tea comes in various types.
It is most commonly classified according to its processing method.
Fully fermented tea is called red tea, although it is known as black tea among westerners.
Unfermented tea is called green tea and the leaves remain all of green.
Half fermented tea is called Oolong tea.
And the scented tea, which smells like flowers, is made by mixing green tea with flower petals through an elaborate process.Take green tea for instance, the ideal temperature of the water should be around 80 degree Celsius.If the water is too hot, nutrients in the tea will be destroyed and the tea will taste badly.
On the other hand, if the water is tempered, the tea leaves wouldn’t open up and you will miss the brisk flavor.
In addition, water is another important element. Water from springs, rivers, lakes and wells will result in different flavors.
Chinese people are most accustomed to drinking hot tea.Many tea experts say that once tea cools off, its nutrients disappear and it’s no longer good for your health.
So when you go visit a Chinese friend’s house, you will most likely to receive a cup of hot tea.
And you will find that as you stay and talk, your friend will continually add hot water to your emptying cup of tea.Or else, they will just throw up the cold tea and give you some new tea.Talking about adding water to the tea cup, we have a saying in Chinese which is “Jiu Man Cha Ban”: Liquor or wine full, full cup. Tea half, half cup.
For liquor, full cup symbolizes whole heartiness, very sincere.
For tea, half, it means modest.
So we have different ways of giving water to the cup of tea or giving one a liquor to friends.