History of The Tea
The practice of tea drinking dates back to the period of Three Kindoms (208-280B.C.). At the time, people used tea as a kind of sacrifice, and they soon found that the tea after being infused in boiling water could quench the thirst. Tang and Song Dynasty witnessed the prosperity of the tea culture, and later Chinese tea was introduced to Japan and Indian then the whole world.
Tea, at the outset, was widely treated as just a non-intoxicating beverage, and later developed into a form of culture in that people place more attention to the following four respects: the tea utensils, taste of tea, tea ceremony and the enjoyment of making tea.
As to the tea utensils, Chinese people hold that the mellow aroma results from the combination of the exquisite tea utensils and fine tea. The famous teapot "zi sha hu" is made of a special kind of pottery clay, purplish black in color and antique in design. Apart from the teapot, the tea set consists of tea pad, tea plate, tea pitcher, lid saucer, tea serving tray, cup, cup saucer, tea towel tray, tea towel, tea holder, tea brush strainer cup, brewing vessel, tea spoon, tea canister, tea bowl etc.
The taste of the tea depends on not only the tea utensils and the tea quality, but also the water. The water draw from the spring is the best, from the rivers is better, the well inferior. In a word, the water should be fresh, clear and running like the spring water.
The tea ceremony is a special art of making and tasting the tea, which, like the calligraphy and painting, is a way to balance physical and spiritual health. Our body and soul are enjoying the serenity and the daily manners are improving, while we make the tea, enjoy the tea, taste the mellow aroma of the tea.
The process of making tea is complicated and long.
1). Heat the teapot up to get rid of the odors of the teapot.
2). Put the tea-leaves into the teapot (not more than one third of the teapot). Here, we can appreciate the appearance of the tea-leaves.
3). Having heated up the teapot, heat the cups by the “used” water from the teapot.
4). Flush the tea-leaves by boiling water from a height of 20-30 cm to make the tea-leaves stretch and turn over and over, releasing the aroma.
5). Having made the tea-leaves fully unfolded in the pot, divert the tea to the cup. (Repeat step 4 and 5 for seven times)
6). Share the tea. Pour the tea to the cups (not more than two thirds).
7). Service a cup of tea to your guests (together with the saucer).
8). Smell the fragrance before tasting it.
9). Enjoy the tea by sipping.
Picking the Tea Leaves
When we talk about picking the tea leaves we always means picking the sprouts of the tea bush, so we do the picking when the tea bushes shoot 4-5 sprouts in spring, 3-4 in summer, 2-3 in autumn. The tea sprouts picked in spring (before the Tomb-sweeping Day on April 5th) are of the best quality.
The Process of Finished Tea Production
Spread out all the tea sprouts newly picked from the tea bushes to evaporate the moisture in order to make it easy to knead and entwist.
Knead and entwist the tea sprouts, on one hand, to break the tissue of the sprouts and then release the tea liquor and the fragrance; on the other, to roll the dry tea sprouts up for easily package and reserve.
Having kneaded, expose all the tea sprouts to the moist air to let them ferment and oxidize. The pretty color and the sweet fragrance are made in this step.
Bake out the fermented tea under high temperature to stop the fermentation and dry them up.
Top 10 Chinese Tea
1) Hangzhou West Lake Dragon Well tea – a kind of Green tea
2) Suzhou Dongting Lake Green Spring Spiral tea
3) Anhui Huangshan Maofeng tea
4) Fujian Anxi Tie Guan Yin tea – a kind of Oolong tea
5) Yueyang Junshan Silver Needle tea in from Hunan province
6) Lu’an Guapian tea from Anhui province
7) Xinyang Maojian tea from Henan province
8) Wuyi Roch tea- Dahongpao from Fujian province
9) Qimen Black Tea from Anhui province
10) Lushan Yunwu tea from Jiangxi