There are three things China is most famous for: silk, porcelain and tea. It is believed that China is the home of tea-shrubs where they were cultivated as early as two thousand years ago. As with China’s silk and porcelain, tea has always been an important export of China to the rest of the world.
Since time immemorial, tea is a prominent object in Chinese culture. Many legends and lore were based on this very significant beverage. In the dynasties of Ancient China, Chinese culture indicates a special way of drinking tea that it has evolved to become an art form. The art of tea-drinking was called “Cha dao”, which even the Japanese duplicated in their culture. Chinese tea-drinking includes several important aspects such as the making of tea, the way tea is brewed, and the tea set.
There are five kinds of Chinese tea: green tea, oolong tea, compressed tea, black tea, and scented tea.
- Green tea is the most popular tea. It is the variety of tea that maintains its original color of the tea leaves. This is made possible by not applying fermentation during processing.
- Black tea, also known as red tea in Chinese culture undergoes fermenting before it is baked. It is also a later variety of green tea.
- Oolong tea is a variety consisting of half green tea and half black tea. This is made after partial fermentation.
- Compressed tea, as its name signifies, is compressed and hardened into shape, usually in the form of bricks. Hence, it is also widely known as “brick tea”. Similarly, compressed tea ordinarily comes in black color that’s why it is also called “black tea” in China. And because of its form, compressed tea is very ideal for transport and storage. Thus, it is the main tea supplied to the ethnic minorities found in the borders of China.
- Scented tea is made by combining fragrant flowers and tea leaves during processing. Flowers such as jasmine and magnolia are popular choices among tea drinkers. In fact, Jasmine tea is a favorite among the northerners of China, as well as with the other foreigners.