Chinese Tea

As the weather turned warmer in Hangzhou, farmers began to harvest China’s famous West Lake Longjing tea this week.

Longjing tea(龙井茶lóng jǐng chá) (literally translated as Dragon Well tea), is a variety of green tea from the area of Longjing Village of Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang Province. Produced mostly by hand, it’s renowned for its high quality, earning it the title “Famous Tea of China”.

[Photo: CCTVNews]

Tea drinking has become an integral part of Chinese people’s daily lives. People like to entertain friends or guests with tea. They regard tea drinking as a way to keep good health. The famous types of Chinese teas are Longjing, Tieguanyin and Pu’er and etc. The rituals of tea drinking vary in China. In Beijing, the traditional way is to serve tea in a big cup. People in Fujian Province enjoy drinking kung fu tea. When did the Chinese start drinking tea?

[hē chá] 喝茶 drink tea/tea drinking
[pǐn chá] 品茶 enjoy tea
[chá yè ] 茶叶 tea leaves
[chá dào biǎo yǎn ] 茶道表演 tea ceremony performance

Tea originates from China. It was discovered by Chinese Emperor Shen Nong about 5,000 years ago. It was said that when Shen Nong was boiling water with a pot, several leaves fell from a tree into the water. The water’s color became brown and after drinking it, it soothed Shen Nong’s thirst and made him more energetic. Emperor Shen Nong had the experience of trying more a hundred herbs. He believed it had medicinal functions, and after then tea leaves became popular among Chinese folks.

Have you ever seen a Chinese tea ceremony performance? Accompanied by melodious classical music, a tea master plucks some tea leaves into pot with a specially-made spoon. After pouring boiling water, the master shakes the pot and dumps the first brew of tea water into the tea tray. With another round of boiling water, the master waits a few moments and pours the second brew of tea water into one delicate tea cup after another. The guests are presented with tea and they can enjoy drinking kung fu tea, a very concentrated type of black tea in south China. Tea leaves, tea water, the timing, tea cup and environment are five essential elements for a Chinese tea ceremony. However, most Chinese would omit these complicated steps. They would put the tea leaves in the tea cup, pour boiling water and drink directly.