China Connection Tours, a reputable China tour operator & travel agency from 1987
China is the homeland of Chinese tea. Tea from China, along with silk and porcelain, became known to the world over a thousand years ago and is today one of China’s most valuable exports. The Japanese adopted the habit of drinking tea in the 6th century, but it was not introduced to Europe and America until the 17th and 18th centuries.
According to legend, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree, while his servant boiled drinking water, when some leaves from the tree blew into the water. It is impossible to know whether there is any truth in this story, but drinking tea has been a part of Chinese culture for many centuries. In 800 A.D. a writer named Lu Yu, known as the tea sage, wrote the Tea Classic. It was shortly after this that tea was first introduced to Japan by Japanese Buddhist monks who had traveled to China to study.
People throughout China drink tea daily because of its healthful properties. Various kinds of tea are grown in the vastly differing geographic locations and climatesof China. Chinese teas generally fit into five classifications.
Note: The term fermentation when applied to tea is something of a misnomer, as the term actually refers to how much a tea is allowed to dry. The drying may be stopped byeither pan frying, baking or steaming the leaves before they are completely dried.
Chinese people believe a good cup of tea is made from a combination of high quality tea leaves and water, brewed in fine tea ware. Normally, the finest tea is grown at altitudes of 3,000 to 7,000 feet (910 to 2,124m). Pure, sweet water, whether from a spring or rain and snow water, is the best for making tea. The most favorable tea ware is purple clay pottery made in the Yixing Area (Jiangsu province), and porcelain wares from Jingdezhen (Jiangxi province).
The tea ceremony, with its four basic principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility, plays an important part in Chinese life. It is a way to focus mental energies, relax, and enjoy an ancient tradition. Serving Chinese tea is done in such a way to show courtesy and respect to a guest, and tea is offered immediately to a guest in a Chinese home. There are many customs associated with the tea ceremony, but no matter the style used in serving, it is always done in a way to show consideration and respect to the guest, and emphasize the beauty and symbolism of the service.
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