Why tea is an integral part of Chinese culture

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Clari-tea, tranquili-tea, and self-cul-tea-vation. 

Tea can be found all over the world, having various significant meanings in different cultures. But we’re going to focus on the tea pioneers of the world — China — where tea is a very important part of Chinese culture, dining, and lifestyle. 

Blast from the past

Before the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) tea was used as medicine, instead of as a drink, to keep people awake. Around the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), tea-drinking became an essential part of self-cultivation for the people of China. 

The Chinese believe in philosophies that associate various kinds of practices with tea. Despite the diversity in tea types, in Chinese philosophy they all embody the tea spirit of clarity, respect, joy, and truthfulness.

Tea drinkers were seen as 'academics' and as the 'cultural elites' of society. Traditionally, tea-drinking was viewed as an expression of personal morality, education, social principles and status. Today, tea is found in every Chinese household and restaurant.

Quali-tea and necessi-tea

There are many different types of tea: green, oolong, red, black, white, yellow, Pu-Erh (fermented tea), and flower tea. Tea was actually considered to be one of the seven daily necessities, others being firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, and vinegar. 

Tea quality is assessed by color, fragrance, flavor, water quality, and even the tea-set that’s used. The person drinking the tea should be able to fully savor the taste.

The art of tea and health

One of the most prominent customs in the art of tea is to pour it first for others before filling your own tea-cup. It demonstrates etiquette and grace.

A popular way of drinking tea in China is to accompany it with food. Yum Cha, which means ‘drinking tea’, has associated the art of eating with the art of Chinese tea. Yum Cha is now widely known for the Chinese-style brunch tea, which involves drinking Chinese tea and eating dim sum.

Drinking Chinese tea also provides long-term health benefits — particularly if you’re an avid tea drinker.

Here are the benefits of some of China’s most popular teas: 

  • Black tea promotes strong bones and dental health, and enhances blood vessel elasticity and strength.
  • Green tea regulates cholesterol and high blood pressure, and has bacterial killing properties. 
  • White tea can reduce inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis and provides a high source of Vitamin A. 
  • Oolong tea can lower cholesterol and provides a high source of Vitamin C. 
  • Pu-Erh tea aids in digestion and fat breakdown.

If you love Chinese food and sippin’ on some authentic Chinese tea, head over to the Shanghai Club, located in the Shangri-La Hotel, Doha. You can find their details listed below!

Phone: (+974) 4429-5295
Email: shanghai.club@shangri-la.com 

What’s your favorite type of tea? Comment below!