Tea holds a very special place in Chinese culture. It has a long history as a type of medicine, an important part of certain special occasions, and a way of teaching people about respect for nature. Participating in a tea tasting ceremony is a wonderful way to learn about the role tea plays in Chinese culture, as well as to learn how to brew, serve and drink Chinese tea.
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Tea tasting ceremonies are held in tea shops all over Shanghai and are hosted by a tea master who is an expert in the art of tea. The tea master will teach you about tea’s culture and history and serve you samples of all kinds of Chinese tea. These might include green teas, oolong teas, black teas and Pu’er teas. Flowering tea, which consists of a bundle of dried tea leaves wrapped around one or more dried flowers, will also be served . When flowering teas are steeped, the bundle slowly opens, just like a blooming flower.
You’ll learn how to properly drink a cup of tea in order to experience its full effect. You could spend a lifetime learning the art of brewing tea and never know all its secrets! Your tea master will give you a great head start though, teaching you how water quality, water temperature and brewing time can help bring tea to life. The tea master will also talk about proper ways to store tea leaves and the equipment used in the brewing process, called tea-ware.
Another aspect of tea tasting is the ritual of smelling and tasting tea before and after adding the hot water. By taking part in this ritual, you’ll discover the wide range of tastes and smells tea carries, known as flavour and aroma profiles.
The most exciting part of the tea tasting ceremony comes at the end. You’ll have the chance to perform the ritual yourself, impressing the tea master with your new-found skills! Of course you’ll also take these skills home with you, where you can share your knowledge and tips with friends and family.
A tea tasting experience is a gateway into Chinese culture and a way to appreciate tea like never before. You’ll leave this unique experience with your own tea art, and by sharing this with others, you can support the growth of tea culture around the world.