Tea is a highly consumed drink in Asia, most of the Asian countries still begin their day with a cup of tea, even though the preparation method various from place to place. Tea in China is consumed in a starkly different manner from the other nations, and the place of tea is high in the cultural life of the nation. Tea is the choice of beverage in Chinese cuisine, and also finds a place in Chinese medicine. Tea culture is referred to in Chinese as chayi, or cha wenhua (tea culture), and is an age old practice imbedded in Chinese customs. Chinese tea ceremony is a result of respect that we give to nature, and also a need for peace. Chinese tea ceremony is no ordinary ceremony, as there is an underlining philosophical text, which is a combination of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. So with the passage of time, tea was widely accepted and appreciated, and the tea ceremonies today are found in social and cultural events across China.
History of Tea Ceremony
It is believed that the tea ceremony was first accounted almost 1200 years ago, during the Tang Dynasty. The tea is delicately prepared, and a lot of attention is given to the way it is served, and this transforms the way tea is usually regarded in China. You had compressed tea such as pu-erh, or even the powder teas that lost their popularity unfortunately by the end of 14th century. So the tea ceremony observed today is a tad bit different from those original ones, as with time much of it has been diluted to give way to new visions.
Then in the 18th century you had the Gongfu tea preparation, and while some believe that it was the people from Guangdong that started this tea culture, others think that its origins lie in Wuyi in Fujian.
In modern times, the tea ceremony takes place on wedding day at the respective homes of the couples. In traditional Chinese culture, the groom’s tea ceremony is usually held in the morning after the bride enters the home. Whereas, the bride’s tea ceremony is held in the afternoon after she returns home from the groom’s place. Usually, elders of both families decide on the tradition, and it is practiced accordingly.
Preparing the ceremony
The tea ceremony requires you to have certain things, such as tea, two lotus seeds and red dates. The lotus seeds and the red dates are added in each cup, as they help to bring fertility and offspring for the couple. The attitude is of people taking part in the ceremony is a much important thing to consider, as one’s state of mind can be easily passed on to others, and ruin the ceremony. It is important for you to relax and be at peace with yourself when taking part in the ceremony. This is why the ceremony should be done in a relaxed and peaceful manner.
It is seen that the oolong tea variety is used for a tea ceremony that is traditional, while sometimes you will find pu-erh tea being used. When it is a Gongfu tea ceremony, it is usually green tea that takes precedence over others. Even the water needs to be perfect, as the best quality teas prepared in bad water can of course lead to bad taste. So only pure and clean waters are to be used for this ceremony, otherwise the whole thing fails to succeed.
If you do get an opportunity then experience the beautiful Chinese tea ceremony in order to understand more about it in depth.