There is a popular saying in Chinese, 7 things for basic life- fuel, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and tea. As it is known to all, tea plays an important part in traditional Chinese culture. As the national drink in China,the history of the tea can be traced back to thousands years ago. It was originated from Shennong Age(5000 years ago), got famous Lu zhougong(1100 BC), became popular in Tang Dynasty(AD 669) and got prosperous in Song Dynasty(AD 960). Chinese tea culture is a mixture Buddhism, Confucianism , Taoism and others.
At first tea was used by monks so they could concentrate their minds, later it become a ceremony to share with people. In the beginning of 17th century, Dutch East India Company brought Chinese tea to European continent for the first time. Drinking tea became a symbol of fashion among English nobles in the middle of 17th century.
Just like the national character of China, tea is natural and mild. People just drink tea according to their moods, no certain forms of how exactly drink a cup of tea. Tea ceremony is the core of the tea culture and the specific tea drinking process. Through it, people can improve their personalities and become a patient and deep person. In this way, tea ceremony is more like a self-improving process. It is the essences of Eastern cultures and human spirit , the precious treasure of ancient Chinese civilization dedicating to the world.
Tea ceremony is composed of six factors which are tea etiquette, tea rules, tea methods, tea skills, tea art and tea heart, aka Six things of Tea. Usually a beginner would start from practicing tea skills and then gets better and better on other factors. Chinese tea ceremony also needs Five Nice Circumstances which are tea leaves, tea water, heat control, drinking tools and drinking places, plus state of mind, creating a best experience of the fragrance and heart.
If you want to make a cup of great tea, the following factor must be taken into consideration, water quality, temperature, tea amount and drinking tools. First and foremost is, the water quality. It has to be fresh soft water with less minerals, don’t use hard water. The water temperature varies according to different kinds of tea leaves. Generally speaking, water near 100℃ is just fine. However, green tea and other Light fermentation teas need less hot water, 90℃ would be fine. When it comes to drinking tools, various leaves call for various amount, usually ranging from one fourth or three fourth of a tea cup.
The first tea house in Chinese history appeared in Tang dynasty, since then, tea house became a popular place for friends and families. Customers are free to choose what kind of tea they want to have, a quick sip or with complete tea ceremony. In the world of chaos, tea house is a place where people can get a perfect escape for a short while.