Asian Tea Culture & Ceremonies

East Asian tea culture is best defined by the way tea is treated and regarded in that culture. This includes how tea is made and consumed, how persons interact with the tea, and the concept of tea drinking and aesthetics. Tea is usually drunk in Asian social events, and the Asian culture has established formal and intricate ceremonies around these events. In Asia, tea ceremonies are different according to the specific country and culture.

China

In China, tea culture is very important, which accounts for why there are tea houses present in many business districts as well as residences. An average Chinese tea house offers customers a selection of both cold and hot teas to drink. To complement the selection of teas available in such tea houses, there is also usually a good selection of tea-related snacks. The typical routine at an average Chinese tea house is for it to become crowded with patrons in the late afternoon and then continually into the late night hours.

The Chinese Tea Tradition: The tradition of tea-drinking in Chinese culture is explored.

History of Tea in Ancient China: First paragraph discusses when tea was first invented in China.

Ancient Chinese Tea Bowl: Description of tea bowl from ancient China includes short explanation of the tea’s history.

Lesson Plans Regarding Tea Culture: Lessons that teach students about tea culture and ceremonies of China and other Asian counties.

Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

The Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony is a tradition in which couples getting married show respect to their parents. The bride usually prepares the tea and along with the groom, they serve it to their elders. People drinking the tea will sit and the bride and groom will kneel in front of them to serve tea. The couple will often receive gifts during the ceremony as well.

Q&A: Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony: Provides information about serving tea at a Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony.

Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony: Description of the ceremony, along with information about when to serve and the tea set, as well as videos of the wedding ceremony.

Gong Fu Tea Ceremony

The Gong Fu tea ceremony is founded upon the tea preparation method that was most likely originating in either Guangdong or Fujian. This ceremony is quite intricate in that a lot of steps are required. First, an appropriate space ought to be picked out for the ceremony, and then a table of suitable size should be used to hold all the utensils like the drip tray, the water, and other tea-making tools. The environment around a Gong Fu tea ceremony ought to be one which promotes relaxation and peacefulness. To help make this atmosphere more achievable, factors like songbirds, incense, flowers, and traditional music will be included.

The Chinese Gong Fu Tea: Generous explanation of the Gong Fu tea ceremony.

Drinking Gongfu Tea: Explanation of what is involved in the ceremony.

Indonesia

Tea ceremonies and drinking customs vary in each region of Indonesia. For instance, the Sundanese people from Western Java drink tea without sugar, yet the Javanese people from the central part of the country do serve tea with sugar. The reason that the Sundanese do not serve sugar with tea is because the main tea plantation is in their region, making tea available and cheap to serve. On the other hand, the Javanese live in a region of the country that is richly dotted with sugar plantations, thereby making sugar cheap and widely available.

The Tea Customs of Indonesia: Short informational piece on the tea drinking customs in the country.

Tea in Indonesia: Discussion about tea and tea culture in Indonesia.

Japan

In Japan, green tea figures most prominently in their culture’s tea ceremonies. A traditional tea in their society, green tea is elevated to the status of being served in situations when there is a special occasion or a special guest present. The tea is served as a staple in many Japanese companies for the traditional afternoon tea break, and it is also enjoyed with snacks like basic sweets. The Japanese’s powerful cultural ties with green tea have made this tea a perennial favorite to drink with standard Japanese cuisine like sashimi, sushi, and tempura.

A Look at Japanese Chanoyu: An exploration of this type of Japanese tea ceremony.

Japanese Tea Ceremony: Talks about the Japanese tea ceremony in one section of the web page.

Resource Site for Tea in Japan: A deep resource on tea in Japan, featuring links to further information.

List of Kinds of Japanese Tea: A list of the many types of tea found in Japan.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Also referred to as the Way of the Tea, the Japanese tea ceremony is a cultural activity. It entails the special presentation and preparation of powdered green tea, or matcha. The art of the performance of a Japanese tea ceremony is called otemae. A big influence on the traditional Japanese tea ceremony was Zen Buddhism. The typical ceremony will either fall into the chakai ceremony or the chaji tea gathering. A chakai tea ceremony will consist of confections, the tea itself, and, maybe, a light meal to finish things off. On the other hand, a chaji tea gathering is a lot more involved and complicated, lasting up to four hours and featuring a full meal, both thin and thick tea, and confections.

Basics of Japanese Tea Ceremony: A list of the basics that occur in the chado style of Japanese tea ceremony.

Procedures of Japanese Tea Ceremony: A detailed look at how to conduct the Japanese tea ceremony.

Asian Art Mall – The Japanese Tea Ceremony: A run-down of all that is involved with a Japanese tea ceremony.

Everything About the Japanese Tea Ceremony: A comprehensive website that educates about the Japanese tea ceremony.

Myanmar

Myanmar’s tea culture is immediately unique from any other because it features tea that is not only drunk, but also eaten in the form of lahpet. Lahpet is nothing more than tea that has been pickled and is served with different accompaniments. In much of Myanmar, tea is dry-roasted before boiling water is mixed with it in order to make green tea. Tea that is sweetened by using milk is another favorite in Myanmar, and it is prepared with either black or sweet dry tea and made in the Indian way, which is sweetened and brewed with milk that has been condensed.

Tea in Myanmar: Website committed to educating the public about Myanmar tea.

Brief History of Tea in Myanmar: Myanmar tea’s commercial website explains the origin of tea in Myanmar.

Korea

Korea’s tea culture has seen somewhat of an increased resurgence in interest in the last few decades. In part, this renaissance had to do with the efforts of Hyo Dang, who wrote the first book on tea that was published in modern Korea. It was called “The Korean Way of Tea,” and he also became a teacher of Korean tea ceremonies. Interestingly, in Korea, women can hold high status as tea masters. This is epitomized no better than with Chae Won-hwa, who is regarded as the successor to Hyo Dang in the tea master hierarchy.

Korean Tea Culture Website: Website devoted to tea culture in Korea.

Korean Tea Resource Website: Website that specializes on all aspects of Korean tea; includes many links.

Korea and its Tea Culture: A primer on the culture of tea in Korea.

Korea: The Forgotten Tea Country: Web page explores how Korea does not get its due recognition as a tea country.

The Tradition Behind Korean Tea: Article that talks about tea and tea shops in Korea.

Korean Tea Ceremony

The Korean tea ceremony, or darye, has been retained by the Korean people for thousands of years already. The main aspect to any Korean tea ceremony is the attention paid to both the naturalness and ease of enjoying tea inside of a semi-formal setting. Korea is experiencing a resurgence in the popularity of their tea ceremonies in the present day. This is the consequence of many Koreans attempting to reach both harmony and relaxation within their new culture, which is oftentimes fast-paced.

Korea Tea Ceremony Information: Informational write-up on the Korean Way of the Tea.

Korean Arts – The Tea Ceremony and Tea: Information on how the Korean tea ceremony works.

Taiwan

Today, Taiwan is renowned as a maker of some of the world’s most high-quality oolong and green tea. In addition, it has gained a good reputation in the last few decades as the origin country of bubble tea. Bubble tea is tea mix that includes milk and also some balls of tapioca. This drink is very popular throughout the whole continent of Asia, but in recent years, it has spread and penetrated into other countries and continents like the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

The Art of Tea in Taiwan: Expansive article on the tea and the culture of tea in Taiwan.

History of Tea in Taiwanese Culture: Write-up on the history of tea throughout the culture of Taiwan.

Tea Museum of Taiwan: Web page that highlights this Taiwanese museum devoted to Thai tea.

Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony

The Wu-Wo tea ceremony is one that prompts its participants to disregard knowledge, appearance and wealth. It encourages this among participants in order to set up a group with equal dynamics and no prejudice. This kind of Asian tea ceremony is actually a Taiwanese invention, as it officially began in that country. Other names for the Wu-Wo tea ceremony are the Wuwo Tea Party and the Wu-Wo Tea Convention.

An Outdoor, International Tea Ceremony: Announcement regarding the coming of a Wu-Wo tea ceremony for the first time to the US.

Information on a Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony: A brief article that discusses such a ceremony in Cupertino, California.

Tibet

Tibetan tea culture is characterized by the imposition of many rules. One of the most noteworthy rules is regarding the interaction between host and guest at a tea party. In Tibet, tea culture features two main teas, which are sweet milk tea and also butter tea, but other teas like black tea are also popular among the Tibetans. Travelers in Tibet will often drink tea as their main source of hydration, primarily because of the plethora of tea shops that exist in Tibet.

Tibetan Tea Culture: Overview of the culture of tea in Tibet.

The Tea of Tibet: Short article that talks about the importance of tea to Tibetans.

Green Tea from Tibet: Discussion of green tea from Tibet and its health benefits.

Thailand

In Thailand, one of the most popular types of tea is, unsurprisingly, Thai tea, which is a concoction made out of red tea, food coloring, anise, and other types of spices. Thai tea is served chilled and further enhanced by the addition of condensed milk and sugar. At the same time, green tea is growing increasingly popular in the country. This popularity is evidenced in the existence of many varieties of green tea, varieties like lemon green tea, rose green tea, and barley green tea, just to name a few.

Everything You Want to Know about Thai Tea: Information about Thai tea and tea culture in Thailand.

Thailand Origin Teas: An overview of tea production in Thailand.

Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the largest exporters of tea. Tea is cultivated very widely in the northern parts of Vietnam. The Vietnamese people typically prefer their tea to be drunk both strongly brewed and green. The standard practice in many restaurants in the country is to provide patrons with a complimentary serving of one teapot. This happens after the meal has been ordered, and refills of the teapot are mostly free of charge.

Specialty Teas in Vietnam: A description of specialty teas in Vietnam.

Cultural History of Vietnamese Tea: Brief exploration of tea and its cultural history in the country.

The History of Tea in Vietnam: A detailed look at the story of tea in Vietnam.

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