Monday, 25 November 2013

Tea Culture

Compiled from Origins of Chinese Tea and Wine
Tea Culture
        China is the earliest country to cultivate and drink tea. It is a popular beverage that is enjoyed from all social classes in China.

The Discovery of Tea
          It is said that tea was discovered by the legendary ruler Shennong. He sampled numerous herbs in order to find out their possible uses as food or medicine for his people. One day, he collapsed under a tree after tasting some poisonous leaves. Some water droplets happened to trickle down from the tree into his mouth and revived him. The tree was a tea plant. From then on, people knew about the detoxifying and curative effects of tea, and began using it as a medicine. Because it is refreshing, thirst-quenching and fragrant, tea gradually became an every day drink.

The Tea Plant
          In the old days, the tea plant was known as ‘The Good Wood’. Tea originated from China and could be found in the wild as early as a few thousand years ago in places such as Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan. In the jungles of Nannuo Mountain in Menghai, Yunnan, there is a wild tea plant that is over 30 meters tall and over 1,700 years old. It is called the King of Tea Plants. Tea scholars travel great distances to view the plant, some coming from as far as Japan.

Tea Plucking
        The harvests of tea leaves can be classified by season: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The best green tea can also be divided into Ming Qian Tea (plucked before Qing Ming Festival) and Yu Qian Tea (plucked before the rainy season). New Tea is freshly gathered from the tea plant. Mature Tea is tea that has been kept for a year or longer after plucking.

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