Chinese tea culture


Hot tea is the best way to warm you up in winter. In China, people drink black tea in winter and green tea in summer. Believe it or not, all tea is made from the same plant. It is an evergreen shrub that can grow into a small tree. The subspecies Camellia sinensis originates from Southeast China. Plants can live up to 100 years or more, and the leaves are harvested year-round. Another subspecies called Camellia sinensis assamica comes from India. All the tea consumed in the world comes from these two plants.



The spirit of the tea ceremony is the core of tea culture, in other words, it is harmony, peace, happiness and truthfulness. The most important thing, of course, is happiness. Tea has a health-improving effect, and regular tea drinking can strengthen the body. Physical health is a prerequisite for "satisfaction and nourishment", and only through self-indulgence can the sublime sphere of life be obtained and the quality of life improved. In general, by getting to know the spirit of the tea ceremony, we can better inherit and popularize tea culture.


In the beginning, tea in China was a luxury item consumed mainly by nobles and royalty. The elite started drinking tea to invigorate the body and clear the mind. Tea was brewed with other plants to make tea soup, which was considered a combination of medicine, food, and drink. The consumption of the soup did not become popular among the masses because of its bitter taste. Records also show that ritual worship during the Zhou dynasty included tea ceremonies conducted by officials. Tea was considered an exotic plant from southern China, so it was offered as a tribute to the emperor and served to nobles.



Artisans have created hundreds of examples of tea art, such as poems, drawings, songs and even literature. One of the first to write about tea was Lu Yu.


Lu Yu was born in China. His parents are unknown, he was found at an early age near the walls of a Buddhist monastery. The abbot of the monastery gave him the name Lu Yu, which literally means "dry" and "feathers".



He lived and was educated in a monastery, but at the age of 11 he voluntarily joined a troupe of wandering actors. While traveling, Lu Yu saw how different layers of the population lived, observed traditions and various ways of preparing tea. During his 16 years of travel, he visited many cities and monasteries in the modern provinces of Hubei, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan and Sichuan. He learned the techniques of shadow theater, marionettes and traditional drama. He met famous people of his time, got patrons and lived in monasteries for a long time. All this time, he collected tea, tasted water, studied local tea customs and recorded his observations.


In 760, he settled alone in Huzhou county in the territory of modern Zhejiang province. Here, in 778, the "Tea Canon" was written, and in 795, a book with a description of the 20 most famous springs of China.



He encouraged commoners to drink tea by including a section on which teaware could be omitted if one could not afford it. Lu Yu is known as the "Tea Sage" and "Tea God". His classic book linked the consumption of tea to spiritual matters, art, Chinese lifestyle, morality and philosophy. Although the majority of the Chinese population did not read it, intellectuals, nobility, and spiritual leaders embraced it.


Confucian teachings indicated that the world should be governed, improved, and morally taught through classical learning. According to Liu, "Chinese intellectuals considered culture, or all literature and knowledge, to be the vehicle or instrument of human morality, serving to fulfill the civilizational function of Dao (the way the universe works)." Lu Yu's book helped turn the pleasant drink into an art woven into Chinese culture.


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