Teas of China

On July 11, 2011, in Featured China Stories, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s calming, it’s rejuvenating… it’s tea! Taste the wonderful properties of Chinese tea for yourself today and book a flight to China. Better yet, ask your expert tour guide on China Tours for his or her suggestions on where to find this elixir of Asia.

History

Legend holds that tea was discovered by Emperor Shennong in 2737 BCE. When a servant was boiling the emperor’s drinking water, a dried leaf from a tea bush fell into the water. The emperor drank the leaf-infused water and found it refreshing, marking the invention of tea, known as chá in Chinese.

According to Tang Dynasty writer Lu Yu’s Cha Jing, around CE 760, tea drinking was already widespread. The process of tea preparation at this time was very different from current methods. Tea leaves were pressed into cake form (brick tea) and ground in stone mortar. The powdered teacake was then either boiled in a kettle or added to hot water to be consumed.

In the mid-13th century, tea leaves began to be roasted rather than steamed, marking the origin of today’s loose teas and the practice of brewed tea.

Health

Tea has long been touted as a remedy for all sorts of bodily ailments, but is there any science behind these claims? Yes!

Tea has been shown to have positive effects in many areas. The following is a small sample: anti-cancer, mental alertness, bad breath, bacterial and fungal infections, stroke, cardiovascular health, weight loss, stress hormone levels, and HIV.

Studies have shown that adding milk may block some of the normal, healthful effects of tea. However, plant-based milks, such as soy milk, do not seem to have these effects on tea. Citrus, on the other hand, has been found to increase some healthful effects of tea.

Chinese Pu'er tea with a certificate verifying its age and region of origin

Kinds

Categories of Chinese tea include white, green, oolong, and black. Within these categories, the variety of individual beverages numbers up to 1,000.

One type of tea unique to China is Pu’er tea, a variety of post-fermented tea produced in Yunnan province. After leaves are dried and rolled, they undergo a microbial fermentation process. Certain selections from both the raw and ripened versions of Pu’er tea can be matured – that is why some are labeled with year and region of production.

Try it!

Tea-loving travelers to China should visit a tea house during their stay to experience this fundamental piece of Chinese culture. Here is one tea house in the Beijing area:

Dr. Tea

No.1, Min Zu Yuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Phone number: +86 (010) 82083648

Don’t miss out on this fantastic cultural experience! Come to China with China Travels today!

 

 

Jack Li
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