23 Aug
2013

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Tea and China

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Tea and China

Every other Wednesday night, my friend Jane from Hangzhou, China, meets a few of us at the local library for Mandarin Chinese lessons. It’s a small group, usually me, Jane, and Thomas. Thomas is a great guy who’s passionate about Mandarin and more advanced in his knowledge than I am.

Jane and Thomas:

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Jane is an incredibly kind person. Not only does she donate her time and teach us for free but she’s so focused during our meetings and I know she genuinely cares about us. She’s also very smart and concise and she asks poignant questions (as do many of my Chinese friends.)

Here’s Jane and me:

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This past Wednesday, Jane brought us Long Jing Cha. Long Jing Cha is China’s most well known tea. In English, it is known as Dragonwell Tea. This tea is grown in Jane’s hometown, Hangzhou.

Look at the detail, art, and care put into the package:

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The knowledge and wisdom we attain every other Wednesday is not constrained to language. Jane is passionate about Chinese culture I’m amazed at all the new things I learn every week despite the fact that I lived in the country for a brief time.

This past week, I learned a lot about a beverage that I drink on a daily basis: Chinese loose leaf tea.

Long Jing Cha (Dragon Well tea):

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A healthy Long Jing tea leaf picked at the perfect time:

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A healthy, perfect leaf (top of below picture) compared to one that’s not top quality (bottom of below picture):

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Can you see the difference? The leaf on top has two stems (the sides) and a blossom (in the middle) whereas the bottom leaf has two stems and no blossom. The “perfect” leaves sell at a premium. The tea that we drink in the US is mostly poor quality chopped up and put into a bag. On Wednesday, the three of us drank our tea “Grandpa style,” named after the older generation in China who would drink their tea with the leaves in the cup (no straining.) ūüėČ

A cup of steeping Long Jing tea (Grandpa style):

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Learning from Jane

It’s not just the culture and language aspect that I’ve learned from Jane. I’ve learned a lot from her in terms of being a kind person. I admire her generosity of donating valuable time to help others learn. That’s a beautiful gift.

For a year and a half now, I’ve had hopes of following Jane’s example. I want to tutor those who are learning English as a second language. I plan on doing this free of charge in an attempt to help others as Jane has helped me.

The problem is, I set that goal nearly two years ago and still haven’t achieved it. Hopefully, sharing this goal with you will help build my willpower and accomplish this goal!

What’s your favorite kind of tea? Do you drink loose leaf tea?

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