Chinese have been known to savor tea thousands of years ago. Tea are drank on all occasions including marriage ceremony, celebration, after concluding an agreement, over conversation, discussion of business, peace treaty signing etc so much so that the search for high quality tea has made this commodity one of the most traded back in the olden days. The above tea leave is one of the most sought after for its texture, taste, aroma and the lasting bitter lime taste that lingers on the tongue. Just one sip is worth a thousand word on its quality. To tell the quality of a good tea leaves from another, the aroma, taste and texture of the good quality tea leaves remains the same even after many pots of hot water is added into the teapot without further addition of tea leaves. The above shows the dried tea leaf before it is soak in hot spring water where it expands to over 3 inch in length. Just 1 or 2 pieces of the above tea leaf is enough for 1 teapot. That's how this tea leaf is known as the king of all tea leaves. It is believe that spring water from highland adds further quality to the taste of the tea. Drinking tea is known to relief ones' stress, relaxing the mind and is known to lower high blood pressure as well as reduce blood cholesterol and moreover there is no history of anyone getting diabetes or drunk from drinking Chinese tea.
There is an old Chinese saying that goes like this "that no matter how sumptuous a meal is, it is never complete without Chinese tea" and this is liken to the French having wine only makes a dinner complete.
Teapot comes in many design, shape, size, material. The above shows an ancient teapot made of fine China silk clay comes complete with similar design to the teapot, teacups and tea serving tray used by the grand parents of Grand Master S.B. Seo. The bottom shows a teapot made of refine tin complete with tea container which is air-tight to maintain the quality of tea leaves at its best.
Tea cups also comes in many sizes, patterns and colors.
The use of teapots are very important as well and back in the olden days, the serious tea drinkers are known to bring their teapot and cups to the tea house. Tea connoisseur are known to pay high prices for quality teapots, cups, containers as well as tealeaves. Making a pot of tea is easier said than done. Selecting the size of teapot also depends on the number of guests. Once you know the number of guests, again, adding the right amount of tea leaves is crucial as one sip of the tea by the expert will tell how much you know about tea making. Once you have the correct amount of tea leaves inside the tea pot, ensure that you pour the hot boiling water (preferably spring water) which is well boiled to 100 degree Celsius so as to get satisfactory full body taste.
Normally the first pot of hot water is poured into the tea cups to wash as well as to warm up the cups so that the taste of tea is better and tea is only served on the next refill. Back in the olden days, there are proper etiquette in offering tea to guest. How one serve tea and the type of tea serve to the guest can reveal how much respect one shows to the guest and a decision can be concluded or rejected just from that serving and sip! It is especially rude to serve cold tea to guest which literally translated means not welcome or don't stay too long while serving tea with one hand means drink up and get lost. In olden days they do have masters teaching the proper manner in identifying, making and manner of tea serving. Also what type of tea leaves is to be used on what occasion. Quality tea leaves are categorize to serve different level of dignitaries. Serving lower quality tea to higher ranking official is a punishable offence as it shows no respect to the Emperor's representatives.
Below are example of tea leaves commonly found in provision shop.
Some tea are also use for its medicinal value such as chrysanthemum which releases body heat, headache, cold with fever and itch to the eyes and is beneficial to the lungs and liver. Although most tea leaves may look the same, the difference lies on its aroma, shape, color and the taste which can either be sweet, bitter, bitter-sweet, bitter-lime or tangy taste.
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