Chinese Tea Ceremony
Our Tea Ceremonies have evolved over the past 1200 years. One of the first written accounts of a tea ceremony dates to the Tang Dynasty. It was called “cha Dao” which means “the way of tea”. Tea was cultivated in the beginning mainly as herbal medicine and mostly within temples. Monks began to use tea for its peace and calming effects and as a sign of humility and respect for nature. The traditional tea ceremony is descrbed as “he” which translates as “peace”, “jing” which translates as “quiet” , “Yi” which means “enjoyment” and “zhen” meaning “truth”.
A traditional tea ceremony has 7 elements or steps:
White Crane in the Bath
The first step is called “White Crane in the Bath”, which means washing the teapot with boiled water, to raise the temperature of teapot and cups. The quality of brewed tea is influenced by the teapot and cups as well. Today, I am going to use purple clay teapots from Yixing, China. The birth of purple clay teapots dates back to Song Dynasty. It became popular during Ming and Qing Dynasty. Moreover, purple clay teapots are one of the royal tributes in Qing Dynasty. Yixing purple clay teapots have the best quality as well as an elegant appearance. If you pour clean water into purple clay teapot which has been used for long time, it will still send out tea aroma.
Appreciate the Tea Leaf
This is the tea leaf I am going to brew today. Please examine and admire its appearance, aroma and quality.
Black Dragon Enters the Palace
We call the process of pouring tea leaves from the tea canister into the teapot as “Black Dragon Enters the Palace.” The amount of tea leaves used depends on the nature of the tea. Too many tea leaves make the tea bitter, too few make it tasteless. Therefore, be careful with dosage.
Cleansing and Waking the Dragon
With the tea leaves in teapot, add water to rinse the tea leaves of any dust. Gently pour water out into a strainer then add fresh water and allow the tea to steep.
Rising from an Elevated Pot
Brewing Chinese tea emphasizes that you “pour the boiled water from elevation” and “serve the tea from lower position”. Therefore, let’s raise the kettle at shoulder height and pour the water into the teapot until it overflows.
Use the lid to scrape the floating foam lightly. So that we can have clearer tea soup. I call this process the “Floating Flower.”
Auspicious Dragon Falls Rain
You must serve the tea into each cup quickly and smoothly, so that it resembles an auspicious dragon in the falling rain. In order to make sure every cup of tea has the same taste, the tea should be served delicately, not too hastily but not too slowly. The movement should be smooth and elegant.
Enjoy Your Tea
In order to completely appreciate your tea, you need to experience it in three phases. First slowly inhale to appreciate its aroma, second sip to savor its taste, third drink to experience its mellow sweetness. The only way to enjoy the full substance of tea is drink it slowly and peacefully. Now, we invite you, our honored guests, to sit back, relax and enjoy a steaming cup of Chinese tea.