“A man without tea, cannot understand truth and beauty.” – Japanese proverb
Tea is one of the most popular beverages around the world. Depending on the culture of the country, it is prepared in many ways, and each is absolutely unique. When was the first tea created? Well, according to legend, the origins of tea date back to 2737 B.C., and the Chinese Emperor Shennong was said to be responsible for the first brewing of tea. It is believed that he prepared the brew by accident, experimenting by pouring boiling water over the leaves. Although the authenticity of this version of events cannot be confirmed, there is no doubt that China is the home of tea. What was the expansion of the drink’s popularity like? How many different types of tea do we distinguish and where does it have its place in modern culture? Does it benefit our health?
Table of Contents:
- Camellia-a magical plant
- Tea expansion
- Ceremony – what does it look like?
- In the Land of the Cherry Blossom
- In the Middle Kingdom
- Preparation of the ceremony
- Tableware-a feast for the eyes
- Health benefits
- Truth and beauty
- Let’s celebrate the moments
Camellia-a magical plant
Camellia is a plant belonging to the tea family – it is the source of the raw material for brewing tea. The plant is found in eastern and southeastern Asia, while a few species are also found in the Himalayas and the Malay Archipelago. When the properties of Camellia were first studied, it was found to have incredible health benefits. Many people are also enthralled by its aesthetic qualities, as its flowers, especially of the Japanese variety, are truly gorgeous and make a wonderful decoration.
China still accounts for the largest percentage of tea production today. Her road to the US, or Europe, was really long, but in each successive country she appeared in she immediately won the hearts of the people. With demand, the market has been revolutionized, and people around the world now know. What’s great is how many ways there are to make the brew-whether it’s based on a country’s culture or your own preferences. Matcha, leaf tea, iced tea, white tea, fruit tea-you can really go on for a long time! What they have in common, however, is that by drinking it, we stop for a moment and immerse ourselves in the present.
Ceremony – what does it look like?
In China and Japan, the tea ceremony is an extremely important part of the culture. This unique experience, affects all the senses, strengthens the bonds between host and guests, and makes us appreciate the beauty of the transience of the moment. Nowadays, it takes years of studying the path of tea to become a master. The brewing of tea in China and Japan is different-this is mainly due to the difference in cultures and the essence of tea in a country’s society.
In the Land of the Cherry Blossom
The tea ceremony in Japan has a very solemn and solemn character. Hugely important here are the rules of etiquette or the order in which the activities in question are performed. It is the host’s job to make sure that the atmosphere is right, that the tea is of the highest quality, and, above all, that the ceremony is carried out thoroughly. Candidates for master of ceremonies face many years of studying the way of tea – for there is definitely more to it than just drinking it. According to the Japanese, it is a wonderful experience to understand and appreciate beauty. This is related to Ichigo Ichie’s philosophy, the main idea of which is to appreciate the moment and be completely immersed in it. In the context of the ceremony, it is read as a realization that a particular meeting may turn out to be the last- so it is worth appreciating!
In the Middle Kingdom
The Chinese ceremony is definitely different from the Japanese. First of all, it does not take place within such a specifically defined framework, and its nature is not as solemn. Here, more than the surroundings, what matters is the taste of the tea itself and the company we are with. In the Land of the Cherry Blossom, an important element is clothing-the traditional Kimono outfit is worn. In China, on the other hand, tea is so close to the people that almost everyone loves to drink and brew tea-formal attire doesn’t count. Despite these differences, both ceremonies are an amazing experience worth experiencing for yourself.
You can also read about Asian culture in the article: Woman in Japan- to be a woman in oriente
Preparation of the ceremony
“The mother of tea is good water”. – this is where the tea brewing journey begins. It is believed that the best option is spring water from a well, from a mountain stream. Having a suitable base, use a vessel that is called a Gaiwan-it is made of glass or porcelain and shaped like a candy dish. Tea leaves are poured into it and then poured with water. After brewing, it is poured through a strainer into a glass pitcher, and from it it is poured into teapots and served to guests. The tea is brewed at 80 degrees.
大家慢慢享用!-All of us, let’s celebrate!
Tableware-a feast for the eyes
Whether in Poland, China or Japan, an extremely important element when meeting with loved ones is tableware. When it is accompanied by a beautifully decorated room, it is then an amazing feast for the eye. How is the preparation for the ceremony in terms of decorations in the Far East? The first step is to take care of the tableware. It should be made of the highest quality materials, while impressing with its beauty and attention to detail. The Japanese and Chinese value minimalism-according to them, beauty and elegance are hidden in simplicity. No one sits down at the table during the ceremony. The tableware is prepared on the floor on a tray, while guests sit on Tatami mats.
As for the benefits of drinking tea (mainly green) on a regular basis, there are indeed many. First of all, it strengthens our immunity, especially in autumn and winter, has a positive effect on metabolism, and regulates cholesterol. Tea has half as much caffeine as coffee-so it is a salutary alternative. It is worth tasting high-quality leaf tea, as it is its effect that is most effective.
“Morning tea is an escape from the troubles of the day.”
Truth and beauty
In Japan, it is believed that the way of tea helps us see beauty and the truth about the world and ourselves. This is closely related to its importance in the culture. Thus, the brewing ceremony is more than a meeting-it is a unique experience, during which our senses are sharpened, we have the opportunity to appreciate the presence of another person, and we give ourselves completely to the moment-the beauty is in the fleeting.
Let’s celebrate the moments
“Tea is drunk to forget the noise of the world.” – T’ien Yiheng
Tea allows us to temporarily escape reality-no matter whether we drink it alone after a hard day’s work or in the company of loved ones. It’s always a great option to pause for a moment and immerse yourself in the present. This unique brew is one of the most popular drinks around the world for a reason – it has so many health benefits, and its unique taste is a feast for body and spirit. Tea’s place in the culture varies depending on the country in which we drink it, but no matter where you are or what your preferences are, it’s worth finding a moment during the day to relax with a cup of your favorite tea!