Tea in China

By Tommylee E.

As many Westerners may be aware, China has a very long and extensive history involving delectable tea.  China has many types of tea, ranging in a variety of flavors and medical purposes. China’s most famous tea is Green tea (绿茶). Although there are many types of tea, most Chinese tea comes from the same plant. However, the differentiating qualities of teas are due to the variation in cultivation times. For example, white tea is cultivated very early in its lifespan, whereas green tea is only cultivated when the tea plants leaves have completely matured. Additionally, the tastes and benefits of teas are attributed to its cultivation. For example, white teas are much milder than green teas, and serve different health benefits.

In Beijing, we visited Dr. Tea, where we watched a tea ceremony and tried four different kinds of tea; jasmine tea, oolong tea, fruit tea, and puer tea, which is characterized by the length of its preservation.  Each tea is given a different purpose; jasmine tea is typically used for delightful smell, while oolong and fruit tea are more known for their sweet taste, puer tea however is virtually flavorless and is used mainly for medicinal purposes. Each tea is unique in its own way whether it by it medicinal properties, what the tea consist of, or even just the taste.

Many teas in China are not only used as a delicate beverage but also used to improve one’s health.  White tea is used to help with colds and effects of alcohol. Jasmine tea can help relieve headaches and also helps with relieving drowsiness. Tian Qi flower tea, which is made from a different plant, can help protect kidneys and livers. Puer tea is one of the most common teas used in attempts at weight lost, eliminating toxins in the body, and helping with arthritis. All of Chinese have a special use that can be used for something medical. Tea has not only been a useful  addition to Chinese culture but a vital addition giving a new meaning to the importance food culture has on a civilization. Thousands of years ago people drank tea and today we are lucky to enjoy the same amenities.

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