Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Chinese Way of Tea

Tea is integral to Chinese society. In wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom kneel in front of and serve tea to their parents. Young people greet their elders with a cup of tea. Serving tea can act as a means of an apology. And if you ever witness someone knocking their index and middle fingers on the table after you have served them tea, it is their way of saying thank you.

Tea is discussed in poems, is in paintings, is written about in novels. It is used to describe one's character. It is a symbol of elegance.

Tea drinking habits differ region to region. For example, scented tea is popular in northern China, but eastern China prefers green tea.

In the tea ceremony known as Gong Fu, the tea master is considered an artist. The teapot is typically a Yixing pot, and several small cups to drink the tea from. Yixing pots are made from clay, and can be simple, as shown, or much more elaborate.

The tea is infused for about 30 seconds during the Gong Fu ceremony.

I have a couple of Yixing pots, which I will share at a later date. Today, however, I am drinking a black tea with coconut and caramel. Not at all Chinese, but delicious, nonetheless.

And you have to see the inside of this mug:

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