Chinese Tea Culture [6 Tea Types] – Origin of Tea

中式茶文化 - 一盒精品 AboxTik 台灣精品

Tea is an important part of traditional Chinese culture. It not only embodies the spirit of Chinese civilization, but also embodies the spirit of thought and form in tea ceremony etiquette.

China is the original producer of tea and is famous for its plantation and processing techniques, and has played a role in stimulating China’s economic development, and the consumption of tea has become a part of daily life. The Chinese custom of drinking tea spread to Europe and many other regions through “Silk Road” cultural exchanges and trade channels.

Chinese tea-making methods, utensils and tea-focused occasions all demonstrate many Chinese cultural characteristics. Today, Chinese people often drink tea for both casual and formal occasions. In addition to being a beverage, Chinese tea is often used in traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese cuisine.

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What is Chinese Tea Culture?

History of Chinese Tea Culture

The original source of tea is the legendary Shennong. It is said that 5,000 years ago, on a certain summer day, when Shennong visited a region and stopped to rest, his servants followed his instructions to boil the water that fell from the dead leaves in nearby bushes for the courtiers to drink.

Emperor Shennong was very interested in this novel brown liquid, and subsequently drank some, which he found to be very refreshing. So according to legend, tea was invented by Shennong in 2737 BC.

Green tea is the oldest type of tea that first appeared in China. People would boil the leaves directly from the tree, or dry the leaves for future use.

Tea culture spread throughout China during the Tang Dynasty, especially after the book “The Classic of Tea” was published.

Lu Yu, the author of “The Classic of Tea”, later won the title of “Tea Saint” and associated tea with Buddhist thought. “The Classic of Tea” has a total of ten chapters written in three volumes and is the oldest book on tea drinking and tea culture.

Inspired by the thoughts of Lu Yu and others, literati regarded tea as a drink with medicinal value, and praised tea for its capability of sharpening the mind.

The steam from this cup of tea rises, symbolizing the passion that burns within me for you.

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Tea Classroom – Chinese Tea Culture

Chinese Tea Literature – the first tea book in the world

China has the oldest and richest tea-related literature in the world. In the book “The Classic of Tea”, the author elaborated on the cultivation and drinking methods of tea and the different classifications of tea, and changed the word ‘tea’ in Chinese from “荼” to “茶”.

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Difficult to Enjoy Tea?

Chinese Tea Drinking Customs & Steps

Tea ceremonies are the most direct display of Chinese tea culture, where tea masters prepare tea through many carefully executed steps.

Chinese tea masters often wear traditional Chinese costumes and sit behind coffee tables or tea trays to make tea. Different teas should be prepared with different tea sets, for example, white porcelain tea sets are usually used to brew and drink green tea.

A Chinese tea ceremony is usually accompanied by several tools, such as teaspoons, tea chopsticks, teapots, etc. The number of steps and tools required depends on the version of the tea ceremony being performed. For example, the traditional Chinese Teochew tea ceremony has 21 steps, while the Wuyishan tea ceremony has 27.

Simple Chinese Tea Drinking Steps

  • Tea Drinking Step1:Prepare the tea set

To hold a Chinese tea ceremony, you need a complete tea set, including teapots, teacups, tea strainers, kettles, trays, tea racks, and tea leaves.

  • Tea Drinking Step2:Rinse the Teapot and cups with hot water

Rinse and preheat the tea set to help fully release the tea aroma. Pour in hot water and pour it out after a few seconds.

  • Tea Drinking Step3:Put the tea leaves in the teapot

Use tea chopsticks or a teaspoon to transfer some tea leaves into the teapot. Typically, the tea leaves should fill about one-third of the teapot.

  • Tea Drinking Step4:Wash the tea leaves

Pour hot water into a teapot, let it sit for a few seconds, then pour it out quickly. The water from the first brew removes dust and impurities from the tea leaves.

  • Tea Drinking Step5:Brew the Tea

Refill the teapot with boiling water, cover and let stand for a few seconds to preserve the aroma of the tea. Continue pouring hot water over the teapot to ensure equal temperatures inside and out.

  • Tea Drinking Step6:Rinse the Cup

While waiting for the tea to steep, pour boiling water to heat the tea cups, then discard the water.

  • Tea Drinking Step7:Serve the brewed tea

Pour brewed tea into heated tea cups and serve immediately. Remember to serve tea with both hands to show respect.

Read More:
How to Brew Tea? ABoxTik of Tea Series

中式茶文化 - 一盒精品 AboxTik 台灣精品

This tea may be hot but nothing can compare to the fire that you have ignited within me.

中式茶文化 - 一盒精品 AboxTik 台灣精品

[6 Tea Types] Simple Chinese Tea Drinking Steps

  • Green Tea (dates back 3000 years) – 6 Tea Types

Green tea, made from the fresh leaves of the Camellia plant, is the only type of tea that is not oxidised (not fermented). There are 143 kinds of green tea in China, among which the famous representatives are West Lake Longjing, Lushan Wucha, Biluochun, and Huangshan Maofeng. The annual output accounts for 22% of the world’s tea. [More Green Tea related articles]

  • Black Tea (dates back 400 years) – 6 Tea Types

The production process of Chinese black tea includes withering, rolling, fermentation (80-90% fermentation) and drying. The brew is dark in colour, strong in taste, and has a honey-floral aroma, but different tea origins produce different flavour characteristics. Keemun from Qimen County in Anhui Province, Yunnan Dian from south and southwestern Yunnan Province, and Lapsang Souchong from Wuyi in Fujian Province are famous representatives of Chinese black tea. [More Black Tea related articles]

  • Oolong tea (dates back 290 years) – 6 Tea Types

Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea (30-60% fermented), the colour, taste and qualities are between black and green teas. There are 10 major oolong teas in China, including Fujian Wuyishan Dahongpao, Fujian Anxi Anxi Tiguanyin, and Baijiguan. [More Oolong Tea related articles]

  • Dark Tea (dates back 3300 years) – 6 Tea Types

Dark tea is a fermented tea (100% fermented) that is further “aged” through auto-oxidation, fermentation, and other enzymatic reactions after it is made and before it is sold. It is very popular among the ethnic minorities in China, especially Tibetans and Mongolians. During the fermentation process, the tea leaves darken in colour, hence the name. The brew has a strong aroma and a long lasting taste. This type of tea can be loosely packed or compressed into cakes/bricks/bowls for easy transportation and storage. Famous dark teas include Anhua from Anhua County, Hunan Province, Pu’er from Yunnan Province, Liubao from Guangxi, and Ya’an Tibetan tea from Ya’an, Sichuan. [More Dark Tea related articles]

  • Yellow Tea (dates back 2000 years) – 6 Tea Types

Yellow tea is a non-enzymatically oxidised, lightly fermented (10-20% fermented) tea. During the process, the colour of the tea leaves turns from green to yellow, hence the name. There are three types: yellow bud, yellow small, and yellow big. Among them, yellow bud is a rare top-grade yellow tea, which was once given to the emperor/nobility as a tribute. [More Yellow Tea related articles]

  • White Tea (dates back 900 years) – 6 Tea Types

White tea, also known as “silver tip,” is highly prized and costs much more than other types of tea. White tea is slightly fermented (10-20% fermented) and is white in colour. Premium white teas are made using only young tea leaves with lots of fine hairs (silver-white buds). The production process of white tea is divided into withering and drying, without washing, kneading and shaking. Therefore, white tea contains more nutrients than other teas due to minimal processing. Baihao Yinzheng and Baimudan (White Mudan) are the most famous white teas. [More White Tea related articles]

Read More:
How to Make Cold Brew Tea? Timing and Temp?


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