The popularity of green tea, black tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea may arouse your curiosity. Do Chinese people easily get them from trees? Why so many people in the world are crazy about the oriental leaves? Here’re three questions and answers for you to understand Chinese tea culture, and let’s get started!
Q: How many types of tea are there in China？
A: Originally, there are six major types of Chinese tea--green tea, yellow tea, white tea, oolong tea, black tea and pu-erh tea (Post-fermented). However, there were no such six categories of tea until the Qing Dynasty. Later on, modern people are not satisfied with tasting the similar flavor of each type of tea, so they have found out a way to produce scented tea by using base ingredients of traditional tea products.
Q: Where do different types of tea come from？
A: Tea originates from Southwest China (Yungui Sichuan Plateau). The shape of tea trees and the size of tea leaves depend on where they grow. Trees grow differently when cultivated in other provinces. Tastes are also not the same, influenced by its environment.
Different types of tea come from various areas. Puer tea and dark tea are the best sellers in the Southwest market, while green tea is always the champion in the south of Yangtze River market. Black tea and oolong tea are the most popular in the market of Southern China.
Q: How to enjoy a cup of Chinese tea？
A: The perfect traditional Chinese tea ceremony comes with the perfect brewing tools, so let’s find out what Chinese people use for the tea ceremony. Tools you need for Chinese tea ceremony are brewing vessel, tea bowl, tea pitcher, brewing tray, tea towel or tea cloth, a teaspoon or tea pick, teacups (traditionally 3), tea strainer.
The traditional Chinese tea ceremony features the following steps:
- The first stage of the ceremony is completed after warming the teapot and heating the cups.
- Appreciate the tea, to pass tea around for participants to examine and admire its appearance, aroma, and quality.
- The actual preparation of the tea water and teapot.
- Place the teapot into the bowl, raising the kettle at shoulder height and pouring the water into the teapot until it overflows.
- Pour all the tea into the tea pitcher and fill the tea snifters, but don’t drink tea, just pour it into the bowl.
- Actual steeping of the tea which can vary depending on the tea leaves, their quality and the size of the tea leaves.
- The final step is the actual tea drinking. Good tea drinking has three sips. The first small sip, the second large sip and the third are meant to enjoy the aftertaste and empty the cup.
Thanks to the Silk Road (an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West. It was central to cultural interaction between the regions for many centuries), Chinese tea custom had a profound effect throughout the world. People from other countries were able to enjoy quality Chinese tea products as if they were in China. And they mix tea with sugar, spices, milk, fruits and so on when they drank, which was determined by their own customs. Green tea and black tea were their best choices for making mixed tea drink when it comes to better taste. Chinese people prefer to keep the original flavor when drinking tea since the Song Dynasty.