Installment Three – Tea
Sorry Mr. Lipton, but I’m not sure I can ever use a tea bag again.
Sorry Mr. Starbucks but your idea of Chai just won’t cut it for me anymore.
Oh and apologies also to the Queen – milk and sugar is out.
I’ve been converted to the wonders of Chinese tea.
Those of you who know me personally know I am a coffee-holic. Boy do I love my morning java. But, most of you probably don’t know I also enjoy tea, particularly in the evening as a relaxing way to unwind.
The thing I found most enchanting about the Chinese tea culture was the calming nature of the experience of it.
Unlike the coffee-culture we live in (fast-paced, drive-through and impersonal), Chinese Tea Culture is about taking the time to hand brew each cup, serve it in beautiful containers and present it in a humble and ceremonial way. Tea is not just about drinking something hot and delicious. It’s a greeting, a gesture, a gathering, and an art.
Both recent scientific and ancient medical cultures agree tea also has a wide range of health benefits for our bodies. Our server at the Fujian Anxi Xihua Tea Company schooled us on the many ailments Chinese people turn to tea to cure including; low sex-drive, digestion problems, slow metabolism and lack of energy. Tea is a zero calorie, immunity boosting, antioxidant that is said to increase bone strength, improve energy level and help in weight loss.
Wow. Sign me up.
We were introduced to tea at a Chinese Tea Ceremony where we were given the opportunity to see, smell, taste
and appreciate many different teas including; Oolong, Jasmine, Red Tea, Black Tea, Blooming Flower Tea, Ginseng and Fruit Tea.
Beyond my new found fascination with the tea itself I was intrigued by the variety of implements used in the preparation and service of the tea: pots, cups, lids, spoons, scoops, sieves, strainers and even a tiny crockery naked boy, who pees when the water is hot enough. Yes I brought one home.
Speaking of hot water, I also learned some teas should be served with water that is not quit boiling…so much detail in this way of tea. So much to learn.
I did not and could not possibly learn it all in the hour we enjoyed our visit at the Tea House. But it was enough time to intrigue me to study up, and expand my tea drinking wisdom and enjoy the art of Chinese Tea, back at home. Slowly and with purpose.
Watch for my next installment of Surprising China.