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The Ceremony and Art of Tea

In traditional Chinese culture, "Tao" and "Art" are essentially different from each other but are contradictorily united. In the tea practice activities, the Tea Ceremony and tea art match each other. Tea art is the "operation",the main technical, operation, contains the art of the tea ceremony; the tea ceremony is the "heart", the main rationale for the heart, and is demonstrated by tea art. The Tea Ceremony is the soul of tea art. In the tea study, "The Tao must guide the arts", so it makes the tea art fun and interesting. Tea art is the performance of the Tea Ceremony, in the tea practices, "must show the heart through art", so that the Tea Ceremony can be known by the public. It can be said: tea art creates life and image for the tea ceremony, which makes the Tea Ceremony alive; the Tea Ceremony gives depth and soul to tea art, which makes tea art charming. During the study of the tea culture, we should study both tea art and the ceremony simultaneously, and also should be aware of the following six segments.

The Organoleptic Tasting

Learning the Chinese Tea Ceremony is not sitting down and discussing the theories, but being enlightened by tea, which to participate in the practice of tea is very important. The basic thing to practice tea is the organoleptic tasting. The appreciation of tea is known as sensory study, that is, through the basic principles of sensory method to use "five senses" and "six consensus" to experience the color, flavor, taste, rhyme, quality, aroma and shape, and then understanding the type, variety, grade and freshness of tea. In daily time, there is no need to completely follow the regular strict rules and standard procedures to evaluate the quality of tea, but still should be aware of the eight-factor methods to observe and understand the physical and chemical quality of tea.

Appearance Idex

Tenderness (whole or broken): mainly to check whether the shape and appearance is smooth and complete. Generally it is divided into different levels: excellent, comparatively excellent, still excellent, smooth and still smooth.

Piece shape: which is certain form and size of all kinds difference tea products and is the basic criteria for the type and grade of tea. For example, Long-fried Turquoise Tea has a long strip shape, Round-fried Turquoise Tea has a pearl shape, Dragon Well Tea is flat shape, and other different types of tea have certain characteristics of shape. Generally, long strip shaped tea cares the quality of tight, elastic, bending, straight, strong and thin, round flat, weight; about round shaped tea cares the tight, smooth, weight and empty or solid; flat tea cares the degree of smooth.

Color: You should look at the color degrees on tea leaves surface and the brightness degrees. Different tea has different color requirements, such as special Qimen Black Tea should be "black bloom", special Biluochun should be "silver green, hidden green and fresh", Oolong Tea should be brown and turquoise.

Cleanness: Cleanness refers to the number of substances tea contains. High-quality tea should not contain any unnecessary substances.

Internal Quality

Aroma; It refers to the air and smell after tea was brewed. Different tea has different aroma. Like special Qimen Black Tea should be "fresh and sweet" special Biluochun should be fresh and clear", Wuyi Dahongpao should be "thick, clear and sharp,", Wuyi Rougui should be "long, milky and fruity sweet", Beside analysing the aroma, we should also compare the purity, hight and length of the aroma. The purity refers to if any exceptional smell included, the hight refers to the thickness, freshness, clearness, purity, smoothness and roughness. The length refers to how long would the aroma last. the good quality tea should have pure, high and long aroma without any exceptional smell.

The liquor color: It refers to the color of tea after being brewed a little while. Usually the color would change frequently, to avoid this, smelling the aroma should be done together with checking the color. The color degree, brightness degree and clearness degree should be noticed.

The taste: It refers to the feedbacks of mouth after drinking tea. The purity should be considered firstly before checking, the purity could be divided into thick or thin, strong or weak, freshness and harmoniousness. Impurity could be bitter, rough, exceptional taste etc. Good tea should have fresh, thick and smooth tastes. The infused leaf: It refers to the shape of tea leaves after being completely brewed. The criteria to judge the standards of it should consider the toughness, color, neatness and softness of the tea-leaf. Generally, good green tea-leaf should have a big fresh tea bud, soft, bright colored, smooth shaped and thick quality. Other types of tea are different.

Through the above observation and tasting, to know the quality of tea is the basic thing to brew a good pot of tea, enjoy it and know it is a good pot of tea. During the process of tea art performance or appreciating it, people prefer an aesthetic perspective. The beauty of tea includes the name, shape, color, aroma and flavour. There are a lot of beautiful names of tea, like top nice plant, bitter master, late sweet minster, trouble dealer and nice leaf. Since Ancient times, tea drinkers has the spiritual inspiration from nature, is such a precious plant.

The beauty of name, like Wuyi Dahongpao, Anxi Tieguanyin, Yongchun Buddha hand, Pinghebaiyaqilan, dongtingbiluochun, shuchenglanhua, jingtinglvxue, nanshanshoumei, jiangnanlvmudan, qiandaoyuye, fudinglvxueya, saishanyulian, jiuquhongmei, qimenhongxiangluo, fenggangcuiya, lushanyunwu and nanjingyuhua etc..

The beauty of shape, like girls’ ring, flag and spear, green diamond, nice eyebrow, silver needle, pine needle, kermes rice, pure heart orchis, red aromatic snail and gold clove.

The beauty of flavour, we have fresh and cool, thick and pure, fresh and pure, long thick, just pure, harmonious and sweet cool.

The aromatic beauty, the aroma is the soul of tea. The beauty of aroma is more attractive, and has a poetry, which has been sung by people constantly. Su Dongpo said it is a "immortal plant from the mountains moistures the clouds, clear and tidy the body smoothly". Fan Zhongyan said "the aroma of tea is better than Tihu and Lanzhi", Gao Shiqi said "the aroma of tea is better than rose", emperor Qianlong said "ancient plum blossom breezing wind to me". To appreciate the aroma of tea is to feel the information from nature through drinking tea.