Tea culture in China not only indicates the consumption of tea. It incorporates how tea is prepared and also the occasions when the Chinese people consume it. Chinese tea culture is not similar to the tea culture of India or the British tea culture. Here tea is a regular habit irrespective of the occasion. Most interestingly, tea is used for drinking purposes and used for preparing medicines in China.
Whereas tea culture in Japan is not so ancient like China, it is developing gradually, and now it becomes a means of displaying status and hospitality for the Japanese. Let’s talk about the Chinese tea culture and the Japanese tea culture and explore their diversity.
All About Chinese Tea Culture
In China, consuming tea is a part of their life which they can’t compromise. The tea grows naturally in China, and the country is famous for planting and producing a variety of tea. Chinese tea is recognized worldwide and has a significant impact on European countries. In world history, Chinese tea culture holds a prominent position. Tea is something that China significantly contributes to the rest of the world.
Tea culture in china is 5000 years old, and green tea is the first china tea classification. Here, the tea-making process is straightforward. People sometimes boiled direct leaves after plucking them from the tree or dried them to make tea in the future. Making China tea has been modified with time, but the core thing remains the same. The Chinese people don’t prefer to add extra flavor to their tea, and simultaneously they like the tea that is not hugely oxidized. They want to enjoy the natural taste of the tea leaves.
The idea of tea culture is known as chayi in China. The word cha means the drink obtained from the tea plant Camellia sinensis. The people of China serve tea to denote some special events. However, this tradition is limited in Mainland China and Taiwan. The tea tradition in China symbolizes showing honor, beg pardon, showing thankfulness, and celebrate grand occasions like weddings.
There are various methods of tea brewing china tea, but they select the brewing according to the occasion, types of people, or the type of tea. The most straightforward technique that maximum households and restaurants follow for brewing is to add tea leaves in the boiling water.
Chinese tea tradition is not only about making the tea but being an expert in preparing tea. One more thing that extremely critical about Chinese tea culture is to serve the way they make tea. In China, every household has fancy Chinese tea-wares, which they use for offering and consuming tea.
Chinese Tea Ceremony
Tea ceremony in China is a celebration for consuming and enjoying tea. The essence of the Chinese tea ceremony is to celebrate the tea tradition of eastern philosophy. Moreover, the tea ceremony in China is a reflection of the core concepts of Taoism, Confucian, and Buddhism, their logic and way of life. Through the tea ceremony- the practice of preparing tea, valuing tea, taking its flavor, relishing the beverage, relationship and bonding is promoted, authentic cultural manners and qualities can be inherited. The Chinese tea ceremony is an excellent way to refresh the mind and subtly form thinking. The ceremony’s zeal is the key of Chinese tea culture, and through Taoism, the warmth is reflected.
Tea ceremony in China is the most promising part of their wedding. The bride and groom serve tea to their in-laws, relatives, and guests on the night of marriage. Drinking tea from a newly married couple symbolizes the acceptance of their relationship and the sign of the new relation between the two families. Therefore, the tea ceremony is significant and relevant in China to date.
All About Japanese Tea Culture
At present Japanese tea is an indispensable part of their society and culture. The production and drinking of tea have begun years before, but over time the tea tradition in Japan has modified a lot.
The roots of Japanese tea can be explored in the 15th and 16th centuries when the custom-named Sado started there. It was when tea started to get popular in Japan and was part of Japanese society’s higher classes. Japanese tea culture then was exclusively limited to the elites of the country. Tea consumption was a part of entertainment for them. Apart from that, they served tea to their royal guests at their wonderfully decorated reception halls.
But after some years, tea experts felt there should be some other way to enjoy the hot beverage. Therefore, they introduced wabi-sabi, that is, to praise the beauty of nature with all its faults. They also modified the rooms assigned for drinking tea. Gradually, import tea was reduced, and the local produced Japanese tea started to become more popular.
At present, Sado is still practiced in Japanese tea culture, but it has been modified immensely. Apart from Sado, another Japanese tea tradition was Senchado. But, with time, it gets integrated with Sado.
Tea culture in Japan has changed a lot, though the traditions are still there in some parts. Now, the ready to drink bottle teas are more prevalent in Japan, and preparing tea at home are not so popular among the Japanese. It gives rise to fancy tea shops.
Japanese Tea Ceremony
Tea ceremony in Japan is an elegant refreshment for the people where the powdered green tea called Matcha is served. The Japanese tea ceremony is worldwide famous, and to realize its importance, you need to visit Japan at least once. The tea ceremony is an art to appreciate the rooms specially designed for tea the hospitality, enjoy the accompaniment of near and dear ones, and create a serene moment.
The decoration is a critical part of the Japanese tea ceremony. The person who hosts the ceremony needs to know how to decorate the room, serve the tea, the perfect serving-wares, etc. These things are incredibly delicate, and the fruitfulness of the ceremony depends mostly upon them.
The Japanese tea ceremony aims to provide some relaxation and cordial exchanges between the guests and the host. The manner of offering tea is the primary part of the tradition. Therefore, the guests should ensure that it is maintained thoroughly. It is meant exclusively for relaxation where guests and hosts relaxed while relishing the tea.
Similarities and Differences between Chinese and Japanese Tea Culture
Both Chinese and Japanese tea cultures are rich and famous. They share some similarities also. Both the tea cultures represent Confucianism and Buddhism, and it is the point where they are similar. The countrymen prefer the original and country-produced tea rather than the exported and flavored ones.
Although Japan and China’s tea cultures share some similarities, there are some points of difference. The Chinese and Japanese tea are different in the way they are cultivated, processed, categorized, and flavored. The price range of the teas produced is also not the same. Let’s look at the main differences:
- The way of tea cultivation is not the same for both countries, and various cultivars give the tea assorted color and flavor. Yabukita is the most famous Japanese tea cultivar and utilized to process 70% of tea in Japan. At the same time, Da Hong Pao is a popular Chinese cultivar.
- Japanese green teas are usually processed through steam, but in Chinese Tea Culture, green teas are generally pan-fried. It makes a massive difference in the flavor and color of the teas.
- Japanese green teas can be categorized on a regional basis, but the Chinese have a wide variety of them. So, it is impossible to organize them.
- Japanese green teas are generally vegetal in flavor and can be bitter if brewed excessively. On the other hand, Chinese green teas are of light, sweet, and toasty flavor.
- If you consider the health benefits, then both of them are beneficial. But the way they cultivated, processed, and preserved increase their benefits. Generally, steamed Matcha is more valuable than the pan-fried ones as they contain more EGCG.
- Tea ceremonies are also very different in both countries. They are prepared, served differently, and the occasion for observing tea ceremony is also not equal for Japan and China. Japanese offer sweet candies before the tea ceremony, but in Chinese Tea Culture, dried fruits are served.
- Lastly, they are also different in the price range.
So, here we have explored some attributes of Chinese tea culture and Japanese tea culture. Tea consumption is a tradition for both countries, and the countrymen are carrying on the tradition with high spirit. Though they are not similar, both are rich and diverse in their place.