The Chinese tea culture has a very long history. As early as 2000 years ago, ancient Chinese people from Bashu area (which is now mainly Sichuan and Yunnan Province) started to plant and make tea. The process of making tea is still similar to that of the old times, and many Chinese people still regard drinking tea as an indispensable part of their daily lives. Like their ancestors, they enjoy drinking freshly brewed tea to alleviate fatigue and return to “their true and peaceful mind”.
The process of tea making:
For the traditional tea ceremony, Chinese use a teapot, a tea pitcher, several tea cups and saucers, a “Cha He” (similar to a strainer), a teaspoon, boiled water, and most importantly, good quality tea leaves.
Step One: The teapot is “cleaned” with boiled water to get rid of the “off-flavor “of the tea pot.
Step Two: The tea leaves are shown in the “Cha He” to guests to let them examine the leaves. Afterwards, they are put into the teapot with a teaspoon.
Step Three: The teapot is emptied of the warming water.
Step Four: The teapot is filled with the proper temperature water which causes the tea leaves to spread out in the pot and develop the tea aroma.
One way to determine the quality of the tea leaves is to wait for 5 minutes before drinking tea and then pay close attention to the tea water in the teapot. If the water is turbid the tea leaves weren’t dried enough. If the water is too transparent they weren’t fermented enough. The tea water of good tea leaves is clear and slightly cloudy. Depending on the kind of tealeaf that is used the color of the tea water can be light yellow, clear yellow, golden yellow or amber.
Step Five: The tea water from the teapot is poured into the tea pitcher to prevent the tea aroma from vaporizing.
Step Six: The tea water is poured into small tea cups, filling them to about 70 %.
Step Seven: Tea cups with saucers are served to guests. Now is the time to drink the tea.
Before Chinese drink a freshly made tea they carefully watch and smell it. Social etiquette is to smile at the person who made the tea to show appreciation to him/her.
Good tea tastes soft and smooth, is fresh and clear, and without a peculiar smell.
Chinese believe that, as a person lets the tea taste linger in his/her mouth, he/she will get a sense of peace from deep inside his/her mind. At this point, all fatigue, stress, and anxiety from work and life is said to pass away.
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