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Local Tea Preparation

12 May 2019

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Every spring, our four tea tasters travel across Asia in search of the best available teas. With time, they have noticed very different customs from one country to another, whether it concerns the consumption or preparation of tea. Discover the habits of the Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese and Indians, and what are their preferences for making tea.

China

Tea is an essential element of daily life in China, and, in a territory that includes almost 2.5 million acres of cultivated land, it is not surprising to find that the methods to prepare tea vary from region to region. China is the only country to produce all six families of tea. As the consumption of tea is based on local culture, Chinese tastes vary according to region and custom. In general, the Chinese prefer to drink green tea, and they drink it unceremoniously from a tea glass or bottle. They usually pour boiling water on the leaves then dilute the infusion when they have drunk about a quarter of the glass. Actually, the main utensil for the infusion of tea leaves in China is the tea bottle. It can be found everywhere! Throughout the day, Chinese can drink their tea at will, whether they are in a train, a workshop, an office of a bus.

Japan

Although making tea the classic method of brewing from loose leaves is still the Japanese national drink, it does not fit well with the lifestyle of young Japanese. However, several customs remain fashionable. Restaurants serve Bancha, Hojicha and Genmaicha teas in teapots. For a more upscale tasting experience, Sencha and Gyokuro teas are brewed according to the traditional senchado method. This method was created by learned Japanese who wanted to break free from the constraints imposed by the rules of chanoyu.

Taiwan

In almost all Taiwanese households, it is customary to welcome visitors by offering the best tea in the house. The Taiwanese are proud of their wulong teas, and many of them travel long distances from their favourite mountain garden. Taiwan is full of tea enthusiasts and well-informed connoisseurs who use the specific method of infusion known as gong fu cha to bring out the extraordinary rich flavour of wulong teas.

India

When the English established tea in India, the product was destined mainly for the export market. Before the 1850s, the people of India drank almost no tea, whereas now they consume almost 79% of what they grow. Now considered the national drink, tea is the most affordable and available beverage in India. Indian usually choose an inexpensive lower grade black tea, because they add milk, sugar and spices to it and make chai.

What’s your favourite way of making tea?

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