Ancient Chinese Tea

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Ancient Chinese Tea and it's history is quite fascinating.

Really, it is the same Chinese Tea that many of us are lucky enough to drink today. Brewed in a chinese teapot, or yixing tea pot, chinese tea drinking is popular all over the world.

Chinese tea has had some amazing uses over the years, from being used as currency, medicinal uses and cultural impact including the famous Chinese Tea Ceremony, tea has played a huge roll in the Chinese civilization over the years.

History of Ancient Chinese Tea

In 2737 BC, Chinese Emperor Shennong first discovered tea. Folklore says that the emperor insisted on drinking only boiled water for purity reasons, and one day while out, his water was being prepared by a servant and a dried tea leaf floated into his cup of water. He did not notice and drank the 'tea'.

Ancient Chinese Tea Records

China has the earliest records of tea, and it dates back to the first millennium BC. Some of the Chinese Dynasties used tea for medicine, some drank it for social reasons, and some used it as currency.

The tea or "tu" as it was know was prepared much diffently than today and the tea leaves were made into compressed tea cakes. White tea cakes date back to 618 A.D. and the Tang Dynasty. Chinese white tea was highly sought after as it was the first flush of the season that produced the tender silvery shoots.

There was a tea monograph that is documented by writer Lu Yu that was written around 760 A.D. This is 400 years earlier than the first known Japanese Tea monograph.

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Types of Chinese Tea

There are four types of chinese tea.

  • Chinese White Tea
  • - The least fermented of all the chinese teas, Chinese White Tea has a mild flavour and is said to be the most beneficial for medicinal purposes.
  • Chinese Green Tea
  • - Chinese Green Teas are not fermented and as a result they retain their glorious color when dried. Also very beneficial to your overall health. There are also some famous Chinese Green Teas like Wu Yi Tea
  • Chinese Black (red) Tea
  • The Chinese Black Tea, also known as Chinese Red Tea, but they are the same, is a fully fermented tea, resulting in a dark, strong tea.
  • Oolong Tea (black & green mix)
  • Oolongs are partly fermented creating a blend of Chinese Black and Chinese Green Teas.

Chinese Yixing Tea Pot

Yixing Chinese Tea Pots

Yixing Chinese Tea Pots are the traditional Chinese Tea Pots used. This is an unglazed clay that is porous an this allows the pot to become seasoned, absorbing the flavour of each pot brewed. It is said that an aged and primed Yixing teapot is cabaple of brewing a pot of tea without adding any leaves, simply from the release of the tea oils from the clay. The Yixing tea pots are prized, coveted and collected. The older and more seasoned the better.

Traditional Yixing Chinese tea pots are much smaller than tea pots in the western culture, they typically hold about 8oz of tea.

Recipes for Chinese Tea

Ancient Chinese Tea

The recipes for brewing chinese tea are dependant on the type of tea you are brewing. Some require water brought to a full boil to release the flavors and some brought to just before boiling.

  • Recipe for Chinese Green Tea & Chinese White Tea
  • - Do not boil the water - bring it to just before boiling or you will get a bitter tea.

  • Recipe for Chinese Black Tea & Chinese Oolong Tea
  • - Bring the water to a full rolling boil. These two teas require a higher temperature than the Green and the White.

    General Recipe for Chinese Tea

    Add about tsp of dried tea to your yixing and pour water over leaves. Immediatly pour the tea into your chinese tea cup. Do not drink the first cup, its purpose is to warm the cup.

    Refill your pot, the second pot of Chinese Tea need only brew 10-30 seconds and pour. The third and fourth pots, add 30 seconds to each steep.

    Where to Buy Chinese Tea

    Adagio Teas is the most popular destination for tea online, with superb customer-service marks, and free shipping on orders over $50.


    Adagio Teas

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