Dear reader, if you have never had the experience of '茶', or 'chinese tea', you must try it at once. There is nothing that can make you feel more authentically 'chinese' than to have a proper cup of chinese tea. The true chinese sits around all day with a good cup of tea, just as those in the west sit around all day with their cups of coffee. Ahhh! A time to relax and contemplate the world. Bubbly hot water swirled expertly into the delicate chinese porcelain holding the small handful of dried tea leaves, cover for a minute or so and then lift the lid: poof!, a misty puff of the delicately tender fragrance of chinese tea to please your senses. Holding your sleeve out of the way (if you have long flowing sleeves, that is) carefully pour out the tea into your teacup, hold under the nose a moment to appreciate the aroma and then take the first carefully appreciative sip.
In our house we particularly like to drink Chinese Pu-er Tea or 普洱茶 which is a real favorite in the south of China. It has a dark, earthy, fragrant aroma and taste that is addicting once you get used to it. A good alternative to coffee if you need to wake up; actually even better being much more soothingly gentle on your system but having excellent "shake your brain awake" power. But of course there are all different kinds of chinese tea just as there are all different kinds of chinese folks, many with fascinating names such as Iron Buddha , Monkey King or Dragon Well . The best way to find out about these different teas and also to get a friendly intro to the art of drinking tea is to visit a chinese tea shop. They will have all the different teas there and will go patiently through the task of explaining everything and will also invite you to taste the tea. At this point you can watch them expertly prepare the tea and pour it. Very cool...
|A chinese tea brewing vessel 蓋碗|
And now, at long last, sit back comfortably and sip your wonderfully fragrant Chinese Pu-erh Tea, relax and contentedly watch the merry world go by. Yes, indeed, how very wonderfully chinese.
(Want some nibbles to go with that tea? Check out our excellent with tea snacks recipes at Chinese Tea Eggs and Soy Sauce Chicken Wings.)
Tea snack recipes at The Hong Kong Cookery:Chinese Tea Eggs - The Egg as Art 茶葉蛋
Soy Sauce Chicken Wings 紅燒雞翅