China tea culture: methods of making tea



The Unique Tea Making Method

1. Please choose a quiet and elegant environment with fresh air.

2. Please use clean tea cups and tea sets free from extraneous odour.

3. Please use mineral water of a high quality.

4. Pour in the water before adding the tea and check carefully that the water poured in the cup has cooled to be below 70℃ before the tea leaves are added.

In this way, you can feel the legendary subtle and elegant fruit fragrance of raw Biluochun tea (the fruit fragrance will gradually give way to a tea fragrance after lasting for about 30 seconds). Biluochun tea without a fruit fragrance is not real Biluochun. Therefore, it is a criteria used in authentication by experts; Biluochun tea trees all grow in orchards. The fruit fragrances of Biluochun from different orchards are different and even a slight difference in water temperature will make difference in fruit fragrances, a cause of much interest.


When Biluochun is put into a cup, it will soon sink to the bottom. In the twinkling of an eye, “the white cloud is rolling and the snowflakes are whirling” and the fragrance of tea is tantalizing. The tea is in the cup and upon following its appearance; one can appreciate the three marvelous spectacles including white wavers with water globules, the cup full of the breath of spring from its bottom and emerald crystal palace. The flavor of Biluochun tastes fresh and elegant in combination with a light color and a delicate fragrance at first; when tasted for the second time, the Biluochun is emerald green, sweet-smelling and mellow; when tasted for the third time, it will be green and clean with a strong fragrance and sweet aftertaste. The Biluochun is precious like a treasure and a sublime artifact.

Yixing Tea Making Method.

1. Characteristics:This logical and smooth tea making method is worked out by mixing the methods of different regions and paying special attention to water temperature.
2. Procedures for making tea:

Appreciate the tea: put the tea directly in the tea holder (a special container of tea, similar to a small plate). A specially-assigned person will serve the tea in front of the tea drinkers so that the drinkers can appreciate the appearance of the tea and smell the fragrance of the tea.

Warm the teapot: pour the hot water into the teapot until it is half full before pouring the water in the teapot out into the cistern.

Add the tea: slide the tea from the tea holder to the teapot.

Make the tea warm and humid: pour water into the teapot unit it is full and then put the lid on.

Pour the water into the fair cup. (The purpose of these actions is to enable the tea to absorb moisture as well as cleaning it).

Warm the cups and cover with bowl: pour the water from the fair cup to the tea pitcher again so as to heat up the cup. This can help improve the tea.

The first tea making procedure: pour the proper amount of water into the teapot and pay attention the duration of time should depend on the quality of the tea being made.

Dry the teapot: take up the teapot and let the bottom of teapot touch the tea cloth so as to wipe off the water droplets on the bottom of the pot.

Pour the tea: pour the tea into the fair cup.

Share the tea: pour the tea from the fair cup to the tea cups. The proper amount is 70% to the top of the tea cups.

Clean the teapot and remove the tea grounds: pick out the tea grounds from the teapot at first, and then swill the teapot eight times so as to clear away the rest of the tea grounds and pour them into the cistern.

Pour out the water: pour the water out of the cistern.

Clean all tea sets and prepare them for next time’s use.

Anxi Tea Making Methods

1. Characteristics:

 Fragrance, sweetness and purity are important in Anxi tea making method. The tea drink can only be made nine times and each three times is a single phase. The purpose of the first phase is that of smelling whether the fragrance of tea is intense. The purpose of the second phase is that of tasting to see whether the tea water is mellow. The third phase is to check whether the color of tea water changes.


Therefore, there is a pithy saying for this formula:

The first, second and third phases for intense fragrance.

The fourth, fifth and sixth phases for increasing sweetness.

The seventh, eighth and ninth phases for the pure taste.


2. Procedures for making tea:

 Prepare the tea set: the requirement in teapots is the same as that of the Chaozhou tea making method. In Anxi tea making methods the baking of the tea is first, followed by the preparation of the fragrance smelling cups.

Warm the teapot and the tea cups: the method of warming teapot is the same as that of Chaozhou tea making method, i.e. put the tea leaves into the teapot by hand. However, both the inside and outside of the cups should be warmed.

Bake the tea: the tea baking procedure is shorter in comparison with that of Chaozhou tea since high-class tea is always well preserved.

Add the tea: the quantity of tea that should be added depends on the tea’s qualities.
Water filling: pour the tea water about 15 seconds after the water is added. (during this period of time, pour the water for warming cups in the cistern).
Pour water: do not use the fair cup, directly pour the tea water into fragrance smelling cups. One third of the first batch of tea water should be poured, likewise with the second batch. Fill the cup with the third batch of tea water.

Smell the fragrance: tea tasting cups and fragrance smelling cups shall be put in front of the guests together (with the tea tasting cups on the right and the fragrance smelling cups on the left).
Shake the teapot: in the intervals between making tea, cover the teapot with cloth and shake it at full tilt three times. (Shaking the teapot balances the temperature inside and outside of the teapot. One shall not shake the teapot after it is filled with boiled water in order to increase the tea extract. Shaking of the teapot as performed in the Chaozhou tea making method is detrimental to the tea making because the tea being used has different qualities.


Chaozhou tea making methods

1. Characteristics:
With the use of unrefined tea products, this method brings outstanding taste out of ordinary tea leaves and at a low price. It is important that the tea making process be uninterrupted. One should not talk during the tea making process and he should be free from interferences, so as to unify essence, energy and spirit. The requirements for selection and use of tea sets, actions performed timing are stringent as are the changes within the tea great


2. Procedures for making tea:

Prepare the tea sets: one should sit up straight and be peaceful in mind. The cloth for covering the teapot should be placed on the right thigh and the white cloth for cleaning cups be placed on the left thigh. Two handkerchiefs should be placed on the table, with a medium depth teaspoon being placed in the middle of the handkerchiefs.

Warm the teapot and the tea cups: pour boiling water into the teapot and then in the tea cups.

Dry the teapot: hold the teapot and pat it on the cloth used for covering the teapot. After the water drops have been removed, shake the teapot gently with a fan waving motion. The wrist should be loose. Shake the teapot until the water has dried of completely.

Add the tea: place the tea leaves into the teapot by hand. The duration of baking required is dependent upon the degree of the tea’s dryness.

Bake the tea: if you feel that the tea leaves are not damp to the hand after being placed in the teapot it is not necessary to bake them. If the tea leaves are damp, you can bake them several times. The tea baking process is not one which involves fire, but a baking process involving water heat. In this way, the musty taste of crude aged tea will be removed and the tea will be fresh with improved flavor and it will be overflowing with fragrance.

Clean the tea cups: when baking the tea, pour the water from the tea pitcher into the cups.

Water filling: after the tea is baked, take the teapot out of the cistern and pack it into the cloth. Shake the teapot so as to balance the temperature inside and outside of the teapot. Then put the teapot in the cistern, pouring a suitable amount of water into the teapot.

Shake the teapot: after the teapot is filled with water, lift it up quickly and place it on the handkerchief on table. Press the air hole and shake the teapot rapidly from left to right so that the tea extracts are diffused thoroughly. One should shake the first made tea four times; each proceeding phase should involve one less shake.

Pour the tea: after pressing the hole and shaking the teapot, pour the tea into Chahai (teapot). After pouring the first tea making water, pack the teapot with cloth and vibrate it at full tilt so that the internal humidity of the teapot will be even. The vibrating of the teapot differs to the frequency of teapot shaking. The first made tea requires more instances of shaking than vibrating. Subsequent makings necessitate more vibrating than shaking.

Share the tea: Chaozhou tea making methods require that tea be brewed only three times. Each of the three makings are identical, so one should devote one’s mind to the making of the tea. Only after the tea making process is completed three times may one feel a sense of accomplishment and share the tea with guests.


Notes: the aforesaid is only one eclectic means for making Chaozhou tea.


Making Tea in Zhao'an Style

1. The characteristics

 Use old tea, sort out the tealeaves on a napkin and follow certain rules of washing teacups.


2. Steps for making the tea

Prepare the tea ware: have the napkin folded neatly and placed at the position where the tea maker used to place the saucers, right in the front of the teapot.

Sort out the tea: as the tea is used, old and has many leafs, it is necessary to sort it before making it. Put the tealeaves on the napkin, fold and shake it gently, the coarse tealeaves and the fine tealeaves will get separated. After that, put the tealeaves on the table for the guests to check them.

Heat the teapot: when heating the teapot, the lid should be heated at the same time by placing it on the opening of the teapot.

Put the tea in the teapot: after pouring away the water which was used to heat the teapot, place the lid on top of the cup. The tea can be put in the pot as soon as the water and steam inside the teapot has vaporized and the teapot is dry. Put the fine tea at the bottom and the coarse tea near the spout to avoid it being blocked.

Fill the teapot with water: fill the teapot with water until the water reaches up to the spout.

Wash the cups: egg-shell shaped cups are used in the making of the tea in Zhao’an style. These cups are very thin and light. Before washing them, the cups should be placed in the center of the saucer, water should be filled up to one-third of its height. When washing the cups, you should pour the water with both hands in the two cups in the front row, and then quickly move to the other two cups which are in the following row. By holding two cups in your hands, keeping your middle fingers in the bottoms and thumbs on top, while balancing with index finger, wash the cups on other cups. Your actions in the washing process should be quick, neat and skillful. One can judge if the tea maker is skilful or not by checking the process of washing the cups.

In Zhao’an style of making tea, the level of how strong the tea turns out to be is calculated from the number of cup washings. In the first round, cups are washed once with both hands; in the second round, the cups are washed with both hands a round; in the third round, the cups are washed with a single hand for all the cups. The teacup for the host should be washed in the end. When the cup is filled with water, one should rub it with the middle finger, then pour away the rest of the water in the cup with your index finger and thumb gently holding the cup.

Fill the cups with tea: when filling the cups with tea, pay special attention to be gentle and slow, without hurry or delay. And pour the water in every cup. The first cup of tea should be kept for yourself, as it most probably contains a lot of leafs. You should stop pouring tea to the cups as soon as the continuous tea flow stops and it starts to dribble. All cups should be filled for three times at maximum, for heavily fried tea will run out of its flavor after three times and therefore should not be used anymore.

Clean the tea ware: Tea ware should be cleaned for later use. 

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