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"Three-course of Tea" of the Bai People

The Three-course of Tea represents the tea culture of the Bai people living in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province. It is a solemn ceremony of the Bai people to receive guests. The Three-course of Tea contains the bitter tea, sweet tea, and aftertaste tea. The Bai people use the tea to symbolize the process of human life: bitter, sweet, and aftertaste.

The Three-course Tea is made through a unique process. Each course of tea uses different raw materials. The first course, bitter tea, is made with the Gantong Tea produced in Dali of Yunnan. This course means that young people should be brave enough to accept the bitterness of life and endure hardship during early development. The second course, sweet tea, is made with the bowl-shaped tea produced in Xiaguan. After the guest has finished the first course, the host puts the tea of the second course into a can, bake it, and cook it. Then, the host adds some brown sugar, cassia, and walnut seed into the tea. This course is sweet and fragrant, meaning the middle-aged people can have some harvest after bitter early years. The third course, aftertaste tea, symbolizes the old years of a person, who should be able to view everything lightly and review his early years from a more philosophical angle. This course is made in the same way as the second course. This time, some honey, broken milk fan, and pepper grain can be added into the tea and evenly mixed up with the tea soup. During drinking, the drinker can gently shake the teacup and drink the tea when it is still warm.

The Bai people keep certain protocol in presenting the tea to the guests. They fill the gongfu teacup eight tenths full, hold it above his eyebrow, and respectfully say to the guest: "Please enjoy the tea." After this, they hand over the teacup.