The practice of drinking tea is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. It is believed that the practice originated there in 2737 BC.
Legends say that while Emperor Shennong was boiling water, a leaf from a Camellia sinensis tree fell into his pot and the tradition was born. In addition to rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar and firewood, tea is considered one of the necessities of life.
All Chinese teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant and can be categorised into four main categories – white, green, oolong and black. Initially, Chinese teas were used primarily for medicinal purposes such as purging the digestive tract of toxins and while most continue to believe in the curative powers of Chinese tea, it has also developed into a flavour loved by most Chinese. You will see green tea-flavoured ice cream and cakes as well as many local dishes.
The Chinese tea drinking ceremony is used for various cultural purposes in China. It can be employed to show respect, to apologise, in wedding ceremonies and as a means to express thanks.