It would be difficult to overstate the important and significant of tea in the Chinese culture, which is not only in the art form and tradition, but it is also a way of life. There are a lot of regions and locations are producing the glorious tea in China. However, there are some places that will be stated in this paper.
China exports tea to more than 120 countries, estimated 80 million people working in mainly tea industry. China is the largest producer of tea and third largest exporting tea country in the world. China’s tea industry stands alone and among tea industry in the world.
It is said that the Chinese were the first to drink tea, and even in the modern era, informal and formal Chinese occasion, tea is consumed every day. Emperor Shannon about 4500 years ago was the first tasted tea. Start from that, people have been tasting, drinking and enjoying the glorious tea ever since.
Types of Tea
China has around 1,500 varieties of tea. They are divided into seven main categories:
- Green tea: it is the most famous tea in Asia and the West; the drinking green tea will reduce cholesterol levels and also help to control blood clots.
- Black tea: there are a lot of variations of black tea which can be categorized by its sweetness and color; Qimen Black, Yunnan Black, Lapsang Souchong and Minnan Black are most famous black teas.
- Wu Long tea: one of the famous Wu Long teas is Wuyi Rock teas.
- Pu'er tea: this tea is grown in southern Yunnan province, and usually is considered as a drink for having health benefits; this tea is famously grown in Southern Yunnan province.
- White tea: the famous white teas are Silver Needle and White Peony, coming from Yunnan.
- Yellow tea: this tea is difficult to process and only has three varieties, such as Junshan Silver Needle from Hunan, Meng Ding from Sichuan Province and Huoshan Yellow buds from Anhui Province. The color of the leaves and the brewed tea are yellow-green.
- Scented teas: this tea is the most expensive, especially in the Europe, because it is made by combining high quality tea leaves and some people’s favorite taste like jasmine, blue berry or orange.
Basic steps for producing tea are frying, shaking and drying tea leaves. Tea is traditionally classified based on the degree of fermentation period that is undergone.
Anhui is one of the provinces of China, located on ancient land in the east of China and west of the famous south bank of the Yangtze River. This region is known for its abundant natural beauty, as well as a famous historical site, a well-preserved ancient village since back the Ming and Qin dynasties. In 1990, UNESCO had designated 16 scenic sites as World Cultural Heritage. One of them is Mount Huangshan, known as the Yellow Mountain, that located in Anhui Province.
Sufficient sunlight and humidity, which is typical of Central Asia, and has distinctive season with plenty of rainfall, which is also ideal for the development of tea. At the top of mount, there is plenty large Shangri-La, that is remote location. The tea farm is only few hectares area and had sweeping views. There are many small tea farms in this area, and all tea are harvest by hand.
Anhui is famous in China, as well internationally, for the quality of tea. Men, women and children of China are employed for picking tea leaves, and tree crops are gathered per year in favorable season. They took two leaves and break at the bottom bud. The highest quality is the bud. The bud should be long bud and become the most expensive tea. The next leave to the bud is second grade of tea. Before the Qingming Festival, all the tea trees have the tea bud and ready to pick for producing tea.
By the 7th century AD, Anhui had been exporting tea inside China, as well as internationally. The area of Huangshan is important as a tea region over 3000 years ago.
The amazing city of Khanbaliq was a golden city that Marco Polo had glorified in his journal in 13th century. That fantastic city later became the geometric master piece that is modern Beijing. From Beijing to West Mountain today is just a pleasant 2-hour drive into the greenery and fresh air of countryside. Marco Polo came to West Mountain with Kublai Khan, had enjoyed the mountain solitude and nutritious tea, that was took for one day. Buddhists temple tea house is a favorite peaceful sanctuary for Beijing city dwellers to getaway and quietly escape to.
It gives instantly relaxes to the tea drinker and they will be captured by tradition that surrounded by elegant beverage. Tea ceremony can be seen in all tea houses. Tea ceremony is a beautiful art and ritualized form of making tea. All tea ceremonies contain a certain symbolism and formalism. This ritual has found many cultures especially in Asia. The ritual and mysterious of tea has not lost over the years. Tea has gained in the modern variety of China but help giving property and modern science now is catching up an ancient wisdom.
Tea has become so woven into finely embroidered tree society in China, and as life and world without tea would be simply unthinkable and for many years, tea houses provided nurturing environment with the growth and development of the tea culture. In fact, people could almost say that the tea culture is alive and well today, thank to the timely treasures of tea houses.
On October 24, 2012, the Asian Tea Ceremony Competition was held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, East China. It was attended by masters from South Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, who exchanged tea ceremony skills, promoting the spread of tea culture. The culture of tea in China differs from region to region and is also unique compared to Europe, the UK or Japan, such as the way tea is made, the tasting and the case. Several diplomats were asked to anticipate in the competition and in a rather remarkable performance of the work the time of the ceremony.
Relationship Between Tea and Buddha
There is an Old Buddha’s Temple, the Dajue Temple, built about a thousand years ago, located 80km from the city called West Mountain. The water that uses to make tea in this endangered temple come from the mountain and then pipe down into the beautiful pond that contain with goldfish and tortoises. From the pond, it goes to tea house and boils it to 90 degrees Celsius in order to infuse the flavor and the color of tea leaves. 1500 years ago, Buddhists decided that tea had a number of medicine quality. They built temple monastery across the country and they also planted tea trees. As a result, wherever Buddhism travel and spread across China, tea and tea culture travel ride along with them. The relationship between tea and temples dates many years. There is a story. Buddha Damo fell asleep in the 6th year of his 9 years after meditating in front of the wall. He woke up in such disgust at his weakness, that he tore off his own eyelids. Those eyelids fell to ground and emerged wonderfully into a tea tree. After that day, he continued his study and drink tea. In fact, a very long time ago, Buddhists spread tea’s popularity to the masses. So, China’s tea culture was formed and became an important part of Chinese history.
Lao She Tea House
Lao She Tea House is situated at Qianmen West Street in Beijing. Founded in 1988, Lao She Tea House was named after Mr. Lao She, a famous artist in China, and ‘Tea House’ is one of his famous novels. With service area of more than 2,600 square meters, the tea house provides an antique flavor, Beijing-styled environment, and can watch wonderful performances by celebrities from folk arts and drama on any given day, while enjoying famous tea, palace snacks, as well as traditional Beijing flavor state. Numerous celebrities and more than 2 million Chinese and foreign tourists have visited Lao She Tea House since it was founded. It has been a window for exhibiting the national culture and a bridge that connects China with the world.
Lao She Tea House is become most authentic tea house in China every year with the impressive regularity. Locals and regulars have been coming often for years to enjoy the music, tea and atmosphere in the public tea room. They have luxurious room and private tea saloon favor for family anniversary, business meeting and foreign tourist who just want to totally experience and luxurious area. Every room creates its own distinctive Chinese charm. It is large and very inviting, creating an atmosphere of beautifully richness.
Lao She Tea House began by selling bowls of tea for just ‘two-fen’ in 1979. Yin Shengxi, the founder, loved Chinese folk arts. He struggled to develop and preserve folk arts and established Lao She Tea House in 1988. Although his original purpose was to promote folk arts, now the tea house has developed culture with a Beijing flavor, because the name is Lao She Tea House. With China’s social and economic development today, foreign visitors make up 30 to 40 percent of over 200,000 people who come to the tea house annually. Developing and promoting China’s folk arts is the main responsibility.
Guo Cuo Tea House
Fujian is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Zhangzhou is 1500km southeast of Beijing, the historically important maritime Silk Road, that was a conduit for trade and cultural exchange between China's south-eastern coastal areas and foreign countries. It is one of the biggest cities in Fujian Province and great place to let people taste to discover Fujian favorite Wu Long tea, that is so remarkable and very popular. Obviously, going up for Wu Long tea is not just tasting and drinking, there is much more to the whole tea experience, that the part of everybody lifestyle in Zhangzhou. Guo Cuo Tea House is the oldest tea house is located in Zhangzhou. The building was constructed in the late Qing Dynasty. It dates back over 100 years ago. Combining ancient Southern Fujian architecture and the tea culture, it presents a rich environment and a lot of information about the tea culture. It is quite an education for visitors. Now it is widely believed, that Wu Long tea universally made and enjoyed by Chinese all over China.
There are customs before people in China have their tea. The tea drinker has to do the gesture that is means kneeling and bowing down. When Emperor Qian Long had inspected Southern China in disguise, he forbade his aides to kneel and bow before him. So, they made this gesture instead. And if people have to leave for a while, they put the tea cup cover on their seat. That is mean they will come back soon.
Every minute, every hour and every day more people are served more tea with more enthusiasm and the tea lovers could had enjoyed it for their entire lifetime. Chinese are friendly convinced that they are the only one actually know how to really make and appreciate drink real tea.