How did the history of tea begin in China?

How did the history of tea begin in China?

Chinese Emperor Shennong drinking tea

We recently celebrated Chinese New Year and thought it was a great time to talk about China's rich history over tea .

In Chinese history, mentions of tea date back 5,000 years . Although the origins of tea drinking are not really known, according to most sources, the beginnings of tea culture in China began around 2737 BC . According to legend, the second emperor of China , Shennong , accidentally discovered tea . A leaf from a wild tea tree fell into a pot of water that the emperor was boiling in the garden.

  • During the Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BC) , tea came to be seen as a way to refresh the body and clear the mind . Tea leaves began to be dried to preserve their aroma . The first methods of brewing tea were more like cooking - the leaves were thrown into a pot and served as a thick soup . However, due to its bitterness, it did not gain much popularity.
  • During the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), both the harvesting and processing of wild tea leaves were improved . Tea became a tasty drink and was very popular among the nobility.
  • In the Wei dynasty (220-265 AD) and the Jin dynasty (265-420 AD), tea was consumed at banquets and accompanied scholars during philosophical and metaphysical discussions. The " freshness and purity " of tea came to be preferred over the "violence and intoxication" of wine.

Interestingly, the Chinese have not been fond of black tea for centuries . Although it is widely known that tea bushes originate from China, black tea is viewed as a foreign import . This is best illustrated by the fact that China, a nation that has been drinking tea for over 2,000 years , coined the Chinese term for " black tea " ( hongcha ) less than 200 years ago . While in Polish we say " black tea ", the corresponding term in Chinese literally means " red tea ".

What types of Chinese teas are there?

Different types of loose leaf tea

There are six main types of tea that come from China: green tea, black tea, oolong tea, dark tea and white tea, mainly distinguished by their different production methods . Each type of tea is compared to certain human characteristics . Thus, green tea, simple and light , is said to signify the scholasticism of southern China ; black tea, mild and restrained , is rather feminine ; Oolong tea, warm and durable , reminds us of the perseverance of philosophers , while dark tea with its lingering aftertaste symbolizes the wisdom of the elderly .

Ceramic tea pot

Is tea part of Chinese culture?

Although the tea ceremony is immediately associated with Japan, it actually originates from China . The tea-making process is linked to the philosophies of Taoism , Confucianism and Buddhism , which encourages people to explore their spiritual world and offer refreshments.

In addition, different areas of China have developed their own unique tea drinking customs . For example, in Guangdong people like to drink morning tea , in Fujian they prefer Kongfu tea, Hunan has Lei tea, Sichuan people love " covered bowl tea ", while people of Bai nationality treat their guests with " three-day tea ". Tibetans prefer butter tea , and Inner Mongolians prefer milk tea.

These diverse tea customs make up China's rich and deep tea culture.

Basilur tea in tribute to Chinese tradition.

Tea has remained an integral part of Chinese culture for thousands of years ; it was popular before the Egyptians built the great pyramids and was traded with Asian countries even before Europe left the Middle Ages. The importance and popularity of tea in China continues to this day and has become a symbol of the country's history , religion and culture .

Basilur paid tribute to this tradition and culture through the Chinese series.

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