Chinese Tea House
Chinese Tea （茶）(cha) is considered by the Chinese as one of the daily necessities and it has very a very strong cultural symbolism.
Chinese tea is a beverage, Chinese tea is a pass time, Chinese tea is a culture. Whatever you think Chinese tea is, Chinese tea is a life time of enjoyment.
The practice of drinking tea has had a long history in China, having originated from there. The Chinese drink tea during many parts of the day such as at meals for good health or simply for pleasure. Although tea originates from China, Chinese tea generally represent tea leaves which have been processed using methods inherited from ancient China. According to popular legend, tea was discovered by Chinese Emperor Shennong in 2737 BCE when a leaf from a Camellia sinensis tree fell into water the emperor was boiling. Tea is deeply woven into the history and culture of China. The beverage is considered one of the seven necessities of Chinese life, along with firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar.
Apart from being brewed for drinking, appreciation and its medicinal properties, tea is also used in religious (Buddhist and Taoism) and incorporated as part of Chinese social customs. Tea is also consumed with festive foods like Moon Cakes during the Mid Autumn and Dumpling, Zong Zi during the Dragon Festival. Therefore, it is not surprising that when the Chinese migrate, tea and tea culture arrived with them to their new homeland.
The highest grades of white tea, yellow tea and green tea are made from tender tea shoots picked early Spring. These young tea shoots may consist of a single terminal bud, a bud with an adjacent leaf or a bud with two adjacent slightly unfurled leaves. It is generally required that the leaves are equal in length or shorter than the buds. The more oxidised tea such as red tea or oolong tea (烏龍茶) are made from more mature leaves. The Anxi Tieguanyin (鐵觀音), for example, is made from one bud with two to four leaves.
Today, during a Chinese wedding ceremony, a bride is accepted into her husband's family through the offering of tea （敬茶）to her in-laws and husband's relatives.
It represents the official introduction of the bride to her new family as well as acceptance of her into the husband’s family. When friends or relatives meet for food especially dim sum, it is described as "going for tea" (喝茶).
When tea is served with food, it is meant to be drunk as a beverage. Tea aids digestion and prevents absorption of fats into the body. Many scientific studies have presented evidence of tea's health benefits.
When served on its own, the tea is meant to be appreciated （品茶）. Chinese tea appreciation has a long history and is a refined activity for personal enjoyment or with fellow tea lovers. Most tea lovers will also have a large collection of tea pots, tea sets and accessories.
There are several special circumstances in which tea is prepared and consumed.
• As a sign of respect
In Chinese society, the younger generation always shows its respect to the older generation by offering a cup of tea. Inviting and paying for their elders to go to restaurants for tea is a traditional activity on holidays. In the past, people of lower rank served tea to higher ranking people. Today, as Chinese society becomes more liberal, sometimes at home parents may pour a cup of tea for their children, or a boss may even pour tea for subordinates at restaurants. The lower ranking person should not expect the higher rank person to serve him or her tea in formal occasions, however.
• For a family gathering
When sons and daughters leave home to work and get married, they may seldom visit their parents. As a result, parents may seldom meet their grandchildren. Going to restaurants and drinking tea, therefore, becomes an important activity for family gatherings. Every Sunday, Chinese restaurants are crowded, especially when people celebrate festivals. This phenomenon reflects Chinese family values.
• To apologize
In Chinese culture, people make serious apologies to others by pouring tea for them. For example, children serving tea to their parents are a sign of regret and submission.
• To express thanks to your elders on one's wedding day
In the traditional Chinese marriage ceremony, both the bride and groom kneel in front of their parents and serve them tea. That is a way to express their gratitude. In front of their parents, it is a practice for the married couple to say, "Thanks for bringing us up. Now we are getting married. We owe it all to you." The parents will usually drink a small portion of the tea and then give them a red envelope, which symbolizes good luck. Another variance is for the to-be daughter-in-law to serve tea to her to-be parents-in-law, symbolizing that she is to become a part of the latter's family.
• To connect large families on wedding days
The tea ceremony during weddings also serves as a means for both parties in the wedding to meet with members of the other family. As Chinese families can be rather extended, one or two hundred people, it is entirely possible during a courtship to not have been introduced to someone. This was particularly true in older generations where the patriarch may have had more than one wife and not all family members were always on good terms. As such, during the tea ceremony, the couple would serve tea to all family members and call them by their official title. Drinking the tea symbolized acceptance into the family. Refusal to drink would symbolize opposition to the wedding and is quite unheard of since it would result in a loss of "face". Older relations so introduced would give a red envelope to the matrimonial couple while the couple would be expected to give a red envelope to younger, unmarried relations.
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