Tea

Though Coffee has taken up majority of beverage market globally, in China, Korea and Japan, tea still has significance. Among them, China is even more outstanding, for it has been open for less ages than other two. There also is symbolic significance. China is the place where tea was born. It is therefore held dear by Chinese people, just like Korean people du with Kimchi. Significance of tea has brought numerous secondary social trends. When I came to China, first difference I noticed from my country or America is that people always brought heat-preserving water bottle with tea filter to wherever they go, and bring their own packs of tea. Second thing was that most restaurants serve hot water or tea as default instead of cold water – in fact, some restaurants don’t even have cold water.

Tea in China is interesting not only that it is socially significant but also because of its cultural depth and width. History of Tea in China, according to some sources, goes up to mythical age of 三皇五帝 神農氏. 神農 is thought to be the ruler who developed farming in China for the first time – his name alludes that for it means God of Farming. In this perspective, we can assume that tea in China has developed at the same time with the development of farming. However, contemporary method of drinking tea – which is drinking only tea leaf with water – first began in Tang dynsaty. Before Tang, tea was often served as a form of porridge (粥), mixed with boild rice or other kinds of grains.

Variety of tea is stunning. Widely known are Black tea and Green tea, but depending on the degree of fermentation, there are way more divisions. Even within same Green tea, people sort it depending on where it was harvested, when it was harvested, or how it was manufactured. If you vist tea shops in China, you will see countless kinds of different teas absolutely outstanding that of coffee. According to such varieties, cost differs significantly too. Normal grade Barley Teas sold in 7-11 China would cost 2 dollars per one fist sized packets. At the same time, for some genuine hand-crafted Puer tea from specific regions could cost several thousands dollars for the same amount.

Though it is hard to access to variety of teas from places out of East Asia, I think tea culture is worth learning about. It is perhaps the most varied beverage which can satisfy the taste of the widest range of people.

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