Saturday, 21 March 2015

Exploring Tea - Part 4

Here we have a taste of the history of tea in China

China’s Tang Dynasty (609-907 AD), often called the golden age of Chinese civilisation, flourished alongside a golden age in tea. It was in this epoch that Lu Yu wrote his celebrated The Classic of Tea, which describes the Tang Dynasty’s elaborate tea culture. In his masterpiece, he describes the importance of the terroir where the tea is grown, the ideal water to use, the brewing process and the 24 items of tea paraphernalia required for serving the perfect ‘bowl’ of tea.
In this era and the centuries that followed, tea leaves were not infused but ground into fine particles whisked in hot water in a large vessel before being served in small tea bowls. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), this evolved into placing the crushed tea leaves directly into the bowls themselves and using a pot simply to boil the water, much like Matcha tea is served today. A royal pastime called doucha, or tea contests, gained popularity: tea dust was placed into cups and mixed with boiling water with a bamboo brush, this produced a powerful white foam and the tea-drinker with the best looking foam would win. 
This tradition of whisking tea can be seen to this day in chanoyu, the elaborate and methodical Japanese Tea Ceremony. Brought to Japan by the Buddhist monk Myoan Eisai (1141-1215 AD), tea was embraced in Japan alongside Zen philosophy and flourished into a nationwide pastime.
Firmly established in the East by the 15th century, tea’s journey further west was just beginning.


Janneke said...

I love trying all kinds of tea, so interesting you tell us the history of teas. But I don't think I should like to drink the tea-dust with boiling water, mixed to white foam, haha.
Have a nice Sunday with a nice of tea!

Vee said...

Twenty-four implements...can't imagine what they'd all be. Getting to be a real science.

Lorrie said...

Tea has a fascinating history that includes both romance and violence. I'm glad that tea was discovered!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I am very glad tea made its way west eventually for our enjoyment in the Western world. However, I don't think I'll be trying the whisking game; I like my tea calm and quiet.

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying your tea history information and I am a total tea granny.
Thank you Barbara.

La Petite Gallery said...

Dear Barbara, I have been off the map, snowbound and must have done 10 paintings this winter. Just read some of the posts you did on Tea. You always have the most interesting posts. That Sèvres Tea Set
is so beautiful.
Never knew England had redwood trees.
Well hope you had a better winter than I did. Still have 3 feet around the house. It just won't melt. Bye Bye for now. yvonne

Lady Di Tn said...

I was reading La Petite blog and saw yours and came over to check out the tea post. I have enjoyed my journey and love the walk in the woods post. Peace

Canadian Chickadee said...

How fascinating! Thanks for sharing! xoxo