For Chinese, seven essentials to begin the day with is ‘firewood, rice, salt, oil, sauce, vinegar, and tea’. One can imagine the kind of importance it holds in China.
How do people in China drink tea?
Usually, we prefer to have their tea with friends and family. It is a refreshing experience for us to calm the minds. We have small teapots (usually 3 inches long) and tiny cups in which we consume tea. The Just correct amount of tea leaves, enough to cover the pot is put in. Some hot water is poured onto the tea leaves. This is generally done to show the guests that the flavors of the tea are now ‘open'.
After allowing tea to brew for a minute, the host fills a small jug (gaiwan) with the entire contents of the teapot. The tea from the jug is poured into tiny tea cups and guests are asked to pick the cups. They are now asked to relish the aroma, flavor, and taste of the tea in order to tranquilize their senses.
Having authentic tea with the Chinese people and exploring the culture is a major tourist attraction in China.
What teas do Chinese people drink?
With modern day creation such as bubble tea and other variants, it is not difficult to forget how the authentic Chinese tea tastes like and where they are procured from. We consume a variety of teas. Some of the prominent ones are:
Green tea belongs to the category of unfermented tea which goes through the pan-firing process right after the leaves have been plucked. It is now the most common type of tea in China. The infusion of green tea is yellowish green with a fresh aromatic taste. Examples of renowned green tea include Xihu Longjing, DongTing Biluochun etc.
Black tea belongs to the category of fully fermented tea and its bright reddish infusion has a rich aromatic flavor. Black tea manufactured in China usually comprises integral tea leaves or buds. It is named as Gongfu Hongcha (e.g. black tea from Qimen, Yunnan, and Yingde etc.), to make it distinguishable from chopped black tea made in India and Sri Lanka.
Oolong tea belongs to the category of partially fermented tea. Its degrees of oxidation, fall between green and black tea, is mainly controlled by the pan-firing procedure. The bright yellowish infusion has a fresh rich flavor and a long-lasting aromatic aftertaste. Main production areas include Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan, representative products include Tie Guanyin and Wuyi Shuixian etc.
White tea belongs to the category of slightly fermented tea and is chiefly produced in Fujian province. It is characterized by the high content of succulent, whitish, and hairy leaf-buds with a slight greenish tinge. White tea is a unique product of China. The bright yellowish green infusion is characterized by mild and mellow flavor. Representative products include silver pekoe, white peony, and moonlight white etc.
- Yellow tea
Yellow tea belongs to the category of slightly fermented tea. The manufacture of yellow tea includes a "smothering" process that results in this unique type of tea bearing the characteristics of yellow leaves with yellow infusion. Representative products include Junshan Yinzhen, Huoshan Huangya, Anhui Huangdacha etc.
- Dark tea
Dark tea belongs to the category of post-fermented tea that can be made from green, oolong or black tea. The heaping procedure helps to generate its unique color, aroma, and flavour. The infusion has a brownish red color and its flavor is rich and mellow. Apart from black tea and green tea, dark tea is also produced abundantly every year and is ranked third among major types of China tea. A representative product is puerh.
Seasonal experience of tea drinking
People in different provinces drink different kind of teas because of its pravalence, we also like to indulge in different tea depending on the season.
- Spring: Scented tea favored during spring season that helps in eradicating the pathogenic cold stored in one’s body.
- Summer: Green tea is consumed during summer. This helps in getting away with heat and toxic substances, strengthening the heart and even quench thirst.
- Autumn: Oolong tea is best enjoyed in autumn season. This is because it dispels extra heat in the body and resumes salivation process. This tea is consumed neither too hot nor too cold.
- Winter: With pleasant sweetness, the Black tea tastes divine when consumed in the winter season. It contains rich proteins and helps digestion while nourishing and strengthening of the body.