Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ethnic Minority Tea in China

“The Art of Tea in China” is written by Guo Danying and Wang Jianrong.  This book examines the importance and tradition of tea in China.  Lavishly illustrated with pictures and photos, this interesting book deals with the various Chinese tea, brewing techniques, teaware and tea customs.  The second pix shows the pan frying process of longjing tea by hand.  The 3rd pix show photos related to making Tujia pounded tea and Dai bamboo tea.  I found the chapter on ethnic minorities’ tea making fascinating and have highlighted the different tea customs below as follows.

Tibetan Buttered tea

Boil crushed brick / tuo tea in kettle.  Pour the boiled tea in pot and mix it with butter, sesame powder, peanut kernels, melon seed kernels, pine nut kernels and salt.   Keep stirring with a wooden stick till completely blended.  Pour the brew in the kettle and heat for a few minutes. Taste is slightly salty, oily and robust flavored.


Mongolian Milk Tea

Boil crushed brick tea in pot or kettle.  After the liquid turn reddish brown (about 10 min), add sheep or cow milk and some salt and boil for a few minutes.  Stir brew well and the result is a hot hearty flavored drink.  The Mongolians usually prepare milk tea early in the morning and keep warming it up over a small fire all day.


Tujia pounded tea (lei cha)

The beverage is made by boiling raw tea leaves, raw ginger and raw rice together in water, it is also called san sheng cha (literally three raw tea).  To make pounded tea, first put tealeaves into mortar along with seasonings such as soybeans, green beans, peanuts, sugar and sesame.  Pound  to paste and add cold water and mix it.  ( the author did not mention to boil this tea but I suspect boiling is required for this tea).


Dai Bamboo tube tea

Called Naduo in dai language, bamboo tube tea is offered to guests of the Dai people living in Yunnan province, south west China.  Fresh tender tea leaves are placed in xiang zhu bamboo (fragrant bamboo) and roasted over a charcoal fire.  When the leaves shrink, a wooden stick is poked into the tube to press the leaves tight and new leaves are put in.  This process is repeated till bamboo tube is full.  When roasting is finished, the tube is split open and the tea leaves are retrieved.


Bai Three-course tea

1st course of tea offered are made from green tea leaves that have been roasted in an earthen pot.  This tea, with robust flavour, taste a bit bitter.  2nd course of tea offered is tea brewed with sugar and milk, a sweet tea. 3rd course of tea offered honey, walnut kernels,, sliced ginger and Chinese prickly ash seeds are added (I think like cinnamon), giving the tea a complicated and pungent aftertaste.  The carefully arranged sequence of teas offered (from bitter to sweet to meaningful aftertaste) is a symbolic meaning of respect to their guest of the Bai people.


Jino cold tea

The Jino people use their puerh tea produce by making cold tea using fresh tender leaves and also eat the tea leaves as food.  1st, rub the newly picked tea leaves between the hands and put the crushed tea leaves in a bowl.  Add pulverized orange tea leaves (I suggest orange peel as alternative), pepper, salt and garlic.  Add water, stir and wait for 15 min before tasting.  The brew is cool, salty and spicy. ( we can put our tea in our fridge for a really cold tea though)


Lahu Baked tea

Called “la zha duo”, bake newly picked tea leaves over a fire until they turn brown. Then, placed in teapot and pour boiling water.  Lahu people also used this baked tea as medicine.  (stimulate appetite)

1 comment:

Steph said...

Thank you! I had the chance to experience the Bai three cups ceremony and Yak Butter tea in 2011. Fine, fine memories!