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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Tea Drinking Practices of Minority Races

Compiled from Origins of Chinese Tea and Culture
        The minority races in China also love to drink tea, and their drinking cultures are full of unique characteristics.

  1. Tibetan
        Buttered tea is an indispensable daily drink for keeping the body warm and nourished. Tibetans also serve the tea to the guests, and they even come with a set of rules. In a Tibetan house, buttered tea must always be drank slowly. It must never be finished in one gulp. The hospitable host will refill the guest’s cup continually, and a guest should not refuse. If the guest can’t drink anymore, he can let the cup sit after a refill, and finish it in one go just before he leaves. 

  1. Bai
          The Bai minority tribe in Yunnan always serve three courses of teato their guests during joyous occasions. The first is bitter, the second sweet, and the third has a mixture of flavours. The first course, a strong brew boiled in a can, is fragrant but very bitter. It symbolizes the hardship one must endure before one can achieve success. The second tea, served with brown sugar and walnut, tastes sweet and has a tinge of bitterness. It connotes the good things in life often come only after hardship. The third tea comes with honey and pepper, so it tastes sweet, bitter, numbing and hot. It reminds one to reflect on one’s life experiences.

  1. Jingpo
          They have a dish made from pickled tea leaves. It is prepared by mixing chilli and salt into the tea leaves, which is then stored in a sealed container for 2-3 months before consumption.

  1. Miao
     They have a special ‘insect tea’ that is made from the excretion of noctuids – a nocturnal moth. The granules are added to hot water to make a drink with a rich scent. 

  1. Buyi
They have a precious tea called ‘lady tea’, which is made meticulously by unmarried ladies. This tea is not for sale, and is only presented by the ladies to their lovers as a token of love.

  1. Bulang
They always go hunting in the hills. So, when they’re thirsty, they would chop down a segment of bamboo and use it to boil some stream water. They then add in tea leaves to make a sweet and fragrant cup of bamboo tea.

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