The Chinese Tea Ceremony

If you ever feel hipster enough to want to perform this for your guests or for any occasion you host, this ceremony will make you the “cool tea enthusiast kid.”

Timing and Decor:

Even if your occasion has a different theme, using this ceremony to unwind or bring up deeper conversations is a great way to have thought-provoking conversation. If you even have a theme, try to incorporate some Chinese trinkets. You don’t need all the Chinese gods, but you also don’t want to use old Chinese food cartons (unless you can turn it into your own original art with the fortune cookies being a dragon that’s trying to find the phoenix).

What Tea do I use?

Best tea to use would be oolong, but green, white, or Darjeeling is perfectly ok. Oolong teas are a Chinese sport. The Oolong artist that makes the best tasting Oolong is a renown achievement. Now there are a few flavors of Oolong, but for me the buttery-sweet is the best taste.

The Tools You’ll Need:

  1. brewing vessel, Yixing teapot, porcelain teapot, or a covered bowl gaiwan.
  2. tea pitcher (chahai), or any matching size decanting vessel, used to ensure the consistency of the flavor of the tea (Chinese: , Pinyin: gōng dào bēi)
  3. hot water kettle, e.g. an electric kettle
  4. brewing tray, or a deep, flat bottom porcelain plate to hold spills (there will be spills)
  5. tea towel or tea cloth, usually dark-colored
  6. tea spoon (tea pick) for clearing the teapot spout, and clearing tea leaves etc.
  7. tea cups (traditionally 3 cups are used in most instances), matching size
  8. timer
  9. strainer, a tea strainer (Chinese: , Pinyin: lòu dŏu) sometimes built into the tea pitchers
  10. tea holder, tea leaf holder for weighing and dispensing, or a wooden tea spoon to measure the amount of tea leaves required (Chinese: , Pinyin: chá chí)
  11. optional: tea basin, bowl as the receptacle for used tea leaves and refuse water
  12. optional: scale
  13. optional: kitchen thermometer
  14. optional: scent cup (snifter cup) used to appreciate the tea’s aroma (Chinese: traditional, simplified 闻香杯, Pinyin wén xiāng bēi)
  15. optional: A pair of tongs called “Jiā” (Chinese: ) or “Giab” in both the Chao Zhou and Min Nan dialects.

Source for Tools: Wikipedia

General Suggestions:

The tray under the set is a nice tool to catch the flowing water, but hey budgets are tight these days so my suggestion is to find a cloth that’s pretty and yet you don’t mind if it’s soiled.

Buy a “dull” Yixing pot like the one in the video. Brown or gray or black. Fancy is fine, there isn’t anything wrong with it, but by choosing the simple pot you can drink tea like the Chinese farmers do, with pride in the simple aspects of life.

If your friends think you’re weird, an Asian-wannabe, or have had bad experiences with tea, tell them that by sitting down and at least trying a cup they may see otherwise. If they don’t then at least you got them to sit down and have this serious discussion about why they think you’re weird.

Brought to you by TeaHeez.