Chinese Tea Ceremony

Have you ever tasted Chinese tea? In China, drinking and serving tea is done in a very special way called the Chinese tea ceremony! Learn about the ceremony and why tea is very important to China. I even have a video for you to see!

In China, there are many interesting traditions. For example, when someone says hello to another person, he or she will say, “Ni chi le ma?” This means, “Have you eaten?” In China, this is very normal because it shows that you care for the other person. Also, another tradition is the common use of chopsticks! Everyone in China uses chopsticks to eat their food. They mostly do not eat with spoons, forks, and knives. While these traditions are interesting, I think the Chinese tea ceremony is the most fascinating! Let me tell you more about it.

What tradition did I learn about?

The Chinese tea ceremony is very important in China! The art of drinking and serving tea has influenced Chinese culture for thousands of years. It has even inspired many poets and song-writers. In Chinese tea ceremonies, the tea is more important than the ceremony. People rather focus on what the tea tastes like, how it smells, and how one tea tastes compared to the previous tea tasted, and how the tea is prepared.

I learned about this tradition when I went to a traditional Chinese teahouse with some friends three weekends ago. It was amazing to see how the host serves the tea in a specific way, and how she pours the tea very carefully. Afterward, they are very happy to see us smiling after tasting the delicious tea.

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Let me explain to you the steps during a Chinese tea ceremony:

  1. The first stage of the tea ceremony is warming the teapot and heating the cups. First, the water is heated in a kettle. Then, the teapot is placed and regular tea cups are placed in the bowl and the heated water is poured over them to warm up the tea set. Then, the teapot and cups are removed from the bowl.
  2. The second stage is appreciating the tea. The tea is passed around for you to examine it and admire the appearance, smell and quality.
  3. The third stage is when the tea is actually made.  The tea leaves are scooped from the tea canister and then poured into the teapot.
  4. Next, the tea pot is placed into the bowl. Then the kettle is raised at shoulder height and water is poured into the teapot until it overflows. After pouring the water, any bubbles and tea leaves are scooped away. The lid is then put back on the. Hot water is poured onto the teapot.
  5. All the tea is poured into the tea pitcher. Then, the tea cups are placed upside down on top of the snifter cups as this act is said to bring prosperity and happiness.
  6. Next, the snifter is removed so the tea is released into the tea cups. The tea is poured into the bowl. Tea is then poured from the bowl to the tea pot again, and the lid is put on the teapot.
  7. The tea is poured into the tea pitcher once again. After, from the tea pitcher, the tea is poured into sniffers and then into the tea cups. Once it is poured into your tea cup, you will tap your finger as a sign of “thank you”. Once you do that, you can enjoy the drink. Be careful, don’t burn your tongue with the tea, it might be hot!

Why does the community have this tradition?

People practice the Chinese tea ceremony for many reasons. Pouring a tea to someone else can be a sign of respect. A younger person will usually show respect by pouring a tea cup to someone older. Inviting your elders to a restaurant and having some tea is a traditional activity during holidays. During family gatherings, going to restaurants and experiencing a traditional tea ceremony is a way to bond. Even during weddings, the bride and groom will kneel down on the floor and serve their parents tea. The tea will usually be served after the official tea ceremony is complete. Serving the tea is a way of saying “thank you” for all these years of raising me. The parents drink the tea and then give the couple red envelopes with money.

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Is this tradition connected to its environment? How?

For a long time, tea was used as medicine to cure people from diseases. Ever since then, tea is very important to the people in China, and that is why tea ceremonies have been incorporated into many important events and gatherings.

Here are pictures of fresh tea and tea fields in Hangzhou.

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