Chinese tea.

On August 8, 2012, in China Travel Gossip, by Jack Li

When you travel to China you will see that everybody carry a little (or not so little) hard-plastic bottle and that normally it’s filled with tea, in fact if your Chinese Trip is quite long maybe it’s a good idea to buy one.

Because one of the major influences from the Chinese culture to the world is tea.

Tea is just an aromatic beverage consistent in pouring hot water in some leaves of a plant called “Camelia sinensis” and it’s the second most drank beverage in the world after water.

This plant is original from China, in fact, there are sources that say that the first records of tea drinking are found in China the 10th century B.C, and it was a very common drink in the 3rd century B.C in China, during the Qin dynasty, during the following centuries it was expanded to Japan and Korea and it to Europe by the 16th century A.C.

Although there are some kinds of tea they are originally the same plant in different stages of different processes, sometimes with a touch of another plant but the base is always “Camelia sinensis”

The processes take part on the leaves, depending on them the tea can be;

–          White (wilted and unoxidized, not allowed to dry)

–          Yellow (the same as white but allowed to dry for a bit)

–          Green (unwilted and unoxidized, that is the healthiest tea variety)

–          Oolong (Wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized)

–          Black tea (Wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized)

–          Fermented teas (Green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost)

Considering all this tea varieties it’s obvious that in China, as the place of they originated, has the largest traditions and culture around the tea, so it’s always worthy to get a little bit of information and try to find a traditional tea ceremony that will allow you to know the way the tea was intended to be drank in the beginning of its cultivation.

In China tea was considered one of the seven necessities, alongside with; rice, fire, soy sauce, oil, salt and vinegar.

It’s also used for different things, depending on how you serve it such as; a sign of respect, for a family gathering, to apologize, to express thanks to your elders on your wedding day, to connect large families in celebrations and lots of other little acts that have tea as an important part of it.

During your China Trip try to learn more about the tea culture and don’t hesitate to try the different teas that you’ll be able to find around. Hot water is also surprisingly easy to find and you can always ask it in your hotel, they will give you hot water even in the restaurants so if you wish you can bring your own tea leaves and make your own beverage there.

Jack Li
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