Tea Ceremony and Tea Basics

The Tea ceremony in China is an art, and it is composed of six elements: water, tea, utensils used, technique, environment, and people. 

The tea is crucial in the tea ceremony art, while the other elements demonstrate the tea art. The tea’s beauty is embodied by the tea name, shape, color, flavor, and fragrance. 

The teas are classified into several categories such:

1. The place where the tea is growing and the name of the tea

Examples include Dragon Well (Longjing) tea coming from the West Lake region of Hangzhou City, Iron Goddess of Mercy (Tieguanyin) tea from Anxi County in Fujian Province, Cinnamon (Rougui) tea coming from Wuyi in Fujian Province. 

2. The place where the tea is growing and the shape of the tea

Examples include Melon seed-like (Guapian) tea coming from the Lu’an area in Anhui Province, and the shape of the tea leaves is flaky; Yinzhen tea from Yueyang Junshan Island in Hunan Province and the shape of the tea leaves is like silver needles. 

3. The place where the tea is growing and the folk name of the tea

Examples include Clouds and Mist (Yunwu) tea coming from Moutain Lushan in Jiangxi Province; Green Snow (Luxue) tea coming from Jingting Mountains in Anhui Province. 

4. The name of the tea coming from the legend 

Examples include Green Spiral Spring (Biluochun) and Big Red Robe (Dahongpao) teas. The names come from their esthetic properties. 

Tea leaves shape and color

The shape of the tea leaves is described as straight and tight, orderly, with a uniform surface, with a large number of tips, tender and round, bold and fat. The tea leaves’ beauty has been described in poems since ancient times.

The tea’s color is referred to as dry leaves but as the color of the brewed tea and the tea liquid. The tea’s color is crucial in tea appreciation. The best liquid color for green tea is a light yellow or tender green. The low quality of the green tea is observed as a dull yellow or dull blue. When the color of the green tea liquid turns red, the tea turns terrible. The yellow color appears as bright, orange, light, and deep yellow. The white tea liquid color must be light yellow or red, dark or dull yellow. The black tea also referred to as red tea’s liquid, is red, bright red, transparent red, deep red, or light red. Oolong tea liquid must be golden or clear yellow or red.

The liquid tea color is described as clear, brilliant, bright, and suspension. Clear refers to clean translucent luster. Brilliant refers to bright and vital, while bright refers to slight luster. Suspension refers to poor transparency of the liquid with impurities sometimes suspended. 

In the next blog topic, we will talk about the tea aroma and taste. Enjoy a cup of tea.

Dr. Rhea Du

Dr. Rhea Du

International Shaolin Cultural Exchange Ambassador of Shaolin Temple Yunnan