White Tea







Chinese Culture Index


Red Tea



Contents

History

Cha King (Tea Dictionary)

Export to the West

Varieties

Classification of Tea

Pronunciations of Tea


 






History

China was the country of origin of Tea dating back 4000 years. As recorded, Shen Lung (Han Dynasty A.D. 206 - 220) experimented with natural herbs from the wild and often used Tea for detoxification. It was mostly used for medicinal purposes until 300 B.C. when it became a common daily drink.



Cha King (Tea Dictionary)

Lu Yu (Tang Dynasty A.D. 618 - 907) was the leading tea expert in this period and was commissioned by the tea merchants to write this dictionary. Gradually tea was drunk less for its medicinal effects and more for its taste, prepared in the ways described in the Cha King.





Export to the West

In Han Dynasty (A.D. 206 - 220), tea was exported to Iran, India and Japan and classified as a luxury drink which was served in court and regarded as the height of elegance and refinement. Tea was commonly used for barter during the Ming period (A.D. 1368 - 1644). In the 17th century, Dutch merchants imported it to Holland from where it spread throughout Europe. At first it was only consumed by the upper classes in special tearooms until, gradually, the habit was adopted by all social classes.

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Varieties

There are more than 100 types of tea because of differing regional climates, soils and treatment processes of growing plants.



Classification of Tea

White Tea

10% to 20% fermentation process, whitish coloured tea leaves but the tea is light yellow in colour when brewed. Examples: White Peony, Shou Mee.

Green Tea

No fermentation has taken place, the ferment and enzymes remaining in the tea after wilting are destroyed by high temperature steaming before curing process, and the leaves remain olive green. Examples: Long Jin, Chu Cha.



Yellow Tea

Slightly fermented, light yellowish coloured tea leaves; it has the characteristic of green and dark green tea when brewed. Examples: Morgan Hill Tip, Fok Shan Tip.



Red Tea

80% to 90% fermentation process with red coloured tea. Examples: Kee Mun, Lai Chi.



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Dark Green Tea

Half fermentation process, this type of tea is usually mixed with flower petals to produce scented teas. Examples Ti Kuan Yin, Suey Sin.



Black Tea

Natural fermentation process, the taste will improve if the tea leaves are kept for some time after purchase, during which time the fermentation process will continue. Examples: Pu Li, Luk On.



Pronunciations of Tea

Cha- Japanese

Cha- Portuguese

Cha- Arabs

Chay- Turkish

Chai- Russian

Cha- Chinese

Teh- Malaysian

Cha- Korean

Thee- Dutch

Tee- German

Tea- English

The- French

Te- Italian

Te- Spanish

Te- Norwegian


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