To the Chinese population, tea is an extremely important part of each day. Tea consumption and preparation has a large role in Chinese culture. Having been tea drinkers for many hundreds of years, the Chinese have great experience and knowledge about tea and tea making.
When considering the process of tea making it is important to recognize that there are important steps involved in tea making. The first of these is the selection of the proper Chinese tea set. It is said that choosing the proper tea set is crucial in the preparation of tea. It plays a particularly vital role in brewing tea.
So what elements are most proper in a Chinese tea set? Well, every good set includes tea bowls, a tea tray, tea saucers, and the brewing teapot. There is an art form at play here, and part of the brewing and drinking of tea is the enjoyment of the artistic elements of the various components of the tea set.
Some Chinese tea sets are so highly crafted that they are extremely valuable, and reflect the storied tea culture in China. There are two main kinds of tea sets. The first is the sets used in everyday life, day in and day out for making tea. The second is the sets with great artistic value, which are generally used only in very special tea ceremonies, such as wedding ceremony. Often, these sets are kept on display in beautiful cabinets, and are only rarely brought out for actual use in a tea ceremony. Both sets, however, are considered part of the family, and even though a set may be used every day, it is still a vital part of the meal.
It is not very difficult to select the right tea sets and identify their use. The selection of a Chinese tea set for every day use depends primarily on the types of the tea that the owners will be drinking. To some degree it even depends on in what region the people live.
For example, floral teas (which are considered herbal teas) are most commonly consumed in the eastern as well as northern regions of China. Since large teapots are commonly employed to boil the tea in water when brewing floral tea, this would be the teapot most commonly selected for everyday use in those regions. These teapots are generally ceramic, and their size varies according to the number of people to be served.
In the Kangnam area, it is green tea that is most popular. Therefore using a ceramic teapot with a lid is most appropriate. In areas like Fujian, Taiwan and Guangdong, where people most commonly drink oolong teas, they usually use a regular kettle to brew the tea.
Gongfu or Hong teas are suited to either regular kettles or ceramic pots. But some of the more special teas such as Jun-shan-yin-zhen, Ton-ting-bilei-chun, or Xihu-long-jing, call for clear glass cups instead of the regular tea cups.
Fine-leaf teas are best drunk with small teacups, and some Chinese tea sets have these rather than the larger cups. A large cup would have too much water in relationship to the fine tea leaves, resulting in them brewing too quickly, which will discolour the tea leaves and have a negative effect on the taste and fragrance of the tea. Today, many people prefer to keep green tea warm by using a thermos, and they believe that the color and flavor is enhanced. Many of today's Chinese tea sets include a thermos to accommodate modern tastes.
Other elements that may be included in a Chinese tea set include trays, tea set cover cloths, and tea plates. Of course, there are always those who prefer the oldest traditions, and stick to the basic sets, without modern extras. Either way, the point is to buy a set for yourself so you can begin enjoying proper tea.
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Dugan Venfield is a columnist for a variety of established web sites, on anti aging products and health news themes.
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