Posts Tagged ‘Chinese porcelain teapots’

Part of the fun of Chinese New Year is having a gathering to bring in the New Year with plenty of food, games, and even tea.  Tea has been a part of Chinese culture for over 4000 years. It’s custom to be offered tea as soon as you enter a Chinese home. It’s also customary to take at least one sip of tea, otherwise you risk offending your host.

History of Tea
Tea originally had its start in China for medicinal purposes over 4000 years ago. Legend has it that a Shien Non Shai discovered tea before 618 A.D when he took his family mountain climbing. He was thirsty when a leaf drifted on his foot. He wrung the leaf with his fingers and drank the liquid. Tea was used for medicinal purposes after that point.

It wasn’t until the Tang dynasty that tea became popular. Lu Yu wrote a book tell all book titled, “Tea Classic” and became known as the father of tea.  China’s elite—scholars, members of the royal family, dignitaries, and wealthy families drank tea.

Tea became more and more widespread throughout China’s history. During the Sung dynsasty, tea rooms were constructed and tea became more commercialized. It wasn’t until the Ming and Ching dynasties that drinking tea became more widespread to commoners.

Tea Now
Yum cha (drinking tea) is part of everyday Chinese life. When you visit a home, you should be offered tea almost immediately. The tea cup is filled up to 7/10ths full. It is said that the rest of the cup will be filled with friendship and love. You are to consume the tea in three gulps.

There are five different kinds of tea:

Black tea is what most westerners drink. Tea leaves are withered, rolled, oxidized, and dried. The leaves turn black and are packed full of flavor. This team comes from India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya. Flavor is bold and strong.

Oolong tea is tossed, bruised, tossed, and roasted and often features apricot, spices, and woody flavors.

White tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, picked early when the leaves are covered in a white fuzz. White tea is sweet and crisp, lighter than most teas.

Green tea is extra special because leaves are picked in early Spring before it gets too hot. There is very little processing so oxidation doesn’t occur, which leaves the green color.

Brick tea is green or black tea compressed and formed into bricks, easy for travel and transportation.

Tea During the Year of the Dragon
If you’re going to have friends and family over to celebrate Chinese New Year, you’ll  want to make sure you have a special Chinese teapot to make your tea for guests.  AJ Panda has Chinese teapots specifically for the year of the dragon.  Dragon Chinese tea sets are perfect for the year of the water dragon. The dragon is even blue to represent water.  If you prefer more traditional Chinese teapots, Yixing teapots or even Chinese porcelain teapots are options you can use every day, not just for New Year’s.

Prepare with your favorite Chinese New Year foods, perhaps Nian Gao or Turnip Cake to serve with white tea when your guests first arrive. Visit and share the joys of the year past, wishing away bad luck, and embracing the good fortune the water dragon brings to 2012.

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