Green tea has an important meaning in China
It is omnipresent and drunk in large quantities. Green tea is an indispensable part of daily life in China. Almost everyone drinks it and it is sometimes taken to work in a thermos flask.
China is also the country of origin of tea. And by tea, I mean the infusion from the plant Camellia sinensis
In China, the tea plant has been cultivated for about 5000 years and there are still centuries-old plants. At first, the tea leaves were picked by hand from wild tea plants and only later they were cultivated. Before it became a pleasure drink, tea was used for health reasons.
Green tea is not oxidized and therefore keeps its green colour
In China, oxidation is stopped with dry heat. For this purpose, the wilted tea leaves are heated in large metal containers and then dried. This type of processing produces dark-green tea leaves and a yellow-green to orange infusion.
China is the world’s largest tea producer and produces all types of tea
This means: white tea, green tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, red tea (black tea) and fermented tea (Pu-erh).
Most of the harvest is consumed in the country itself and only a small portion is exported.
Worldwide, black tea is consumed most, but green tea is the most popular in China. It is drunk unsweetened and without any other additives such as milk or lemon. Simply pure.
But sometimes flavoured green tea is also drunk, for example, jasmine tea. This delicate green tea with a flowery taste is also well known here and is often served in Chinese restaurants.
Since China is a huge country, tea is also enjoyed differently from region to region.
However, it is very important in all regions to serve tea to the guests. The tea is not simply made, it is prepared in a ritual, just like in the tea ceremony.
Green tea can be brewed several times
The first infusion is usually more bitter than the subsequent ones. If you don’t like it that bitter, you can also pour the first infusion away and enjoy the other ones. This is called “washing the tea”.
This custom, which is still practised today, probably dates back to a time when tea could be contaminated with bacteria, and since green tea is not made with boiling water, the tea was “washed” to obtain a second, cleaner infusion.
To enjoy a good cup of green tea there are a few points to consider. Here you will find instructions on how to prepare a good cup of green tea.
The Chinese tea ceremony is called Gongfu Cha and involves three important steps
There are special training to become a master of tea ceremony. There is something very graceful about this way of preparing tea.
Infusion of the good smell
The first infusion serves to open the leaves and remove the bitterness. It is poured into the guests’ bowls, but not drunk. As the name suggests, it is a pleasure for the nose and preparation for the second infusion. At the same time, it warms the tea bowls. After emptying this tea, the bowl is smelled, hence the name.
Infusion of the good taste
The cups filled with the first infusion are emptied and filled with the second infusion. This is done in layers so that each guest receives the same quality of tea. The infusion of good taste is repeated several times with the same leaves.
Infusion of a long friendship
If the tea is of excellent quality, you can make up to 15 infusions from the same leaves. This process of enjoying tea together stands for a long friendship. Care is taken to ensure that each infusion lasts a little longer so that you can enjoy a variety of different flavours.
Here is a small sample of photos of a Chinese tea ceremony! (recorded at the Festival del Té 2017 in Bologna)