Have you bought Chinese tea?

June 29, 2010, 06:20 AM posted in General Discussion
Have you bought Chinese tea as souvenirs or for your own consumption? To be honest, I haven't seen many foreigners really enjoying tea. But it is certainly one of the most elegant aspects of Chinese culture worth savoring.
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June 29, 2010, 09:04 AM

The drinking of tea in China is so different to what we call drinking tea in the West. It does not surprise me that foreigners do not take easily to drinking Chinese tea.  

To provide an analogy, not many Chinese people I know are really up for a long afternoon at the local pub, drinking schooners and watching the Rugby League.  That roughly describes the distance between our cultures in relation to tea as well.  

To take it a little further (hopefully without breaking the analogy) for an Australian to listen to a 茶师 explain the finer points of 单枞 and 紫砂壶 is about as interesting as it is for the average Chinese person to listen to a drunk fat Rugby League know-it-all telling you the finer points of the 1965 Grand Final.  :)

It's a different world.    

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June 29, 2010, 09:41 AM

I think it depends on the area. My hometown in the USA has a population of like 10,000. Most of population are ex-hippies who are now relatively well-paid professionals. A town of that size supports two shops dedicated to tea! I was really impressed by the selection in both shops.

That said, I think you're right, Jenny, and most foreigners have a long way to go in our appreciation of Chinese tea!!

The way we refer to a southern Chinese tradition that made its way over to the USA and entrenched itself is telling...the Chinese call it 喝茶 yumcha, we say, Let's go for dim sum.

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July 05, 2010, 04:57 AM

Jenny,  We have found many people in the US who appreciate good tea, and we have brought them good tea from China.  Some are Chinese-Americans of various background, some from other countries, and some Americans.  There are lots of people who enjoy tea, but they generally don't know so much about all the varieties of tea that one can find in China, nor about the proper way to brew it. Unfortunately for the green tea lovers in the US, it can be hard to find a good source.  And for us, the elegant packaging can fill up one's luggage quickly. :)

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December 21, 2010, 01:40 PM

Tea was one of the highlights of my first trip to China (2 months ago).It was always good: even when it was slopped into plastic cups at a cheap restuarant it was fragrant and not bitter. I think the difference is the freshness.

Sadly Australian biosecurity took away the stuff I brought home. I shall have to buy more customs-friendly tea next time.