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reitia

ancient tea

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reitia

Hello again,

 

I would like to know if all the varieties of Chinese tea which we have today were already known and enjoyed during the Tang Dynasty. I've read that tea drinking became popular in that era. Was the tea consumed then mainly of the green varieties? Was jasmine tea already being prepared? What about Pai Mu Tan (Bai Mudan)? Sugar I believe was never used to sweeten tea; but what about honey?

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Chen Tang

Almost,I can't find a exception.Tang Dynasty had lots of kinds of tea,but jasmine tea appeared during Song Dynasty.People then put a kind of spice called  "龙脑香“ in the green tea,so I guess that was the predecessor of the jasmine tea.About sugar……Well,I don't know.

 

Eh……Hope that's helpful.

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reitia

Thank you very much for your reply, Chen Tang. Could you please tell me what was that spice which people put into the green tea? Did it have a mild, flowery taste like jasmine?

 

Do you know when the Chinese first started to drink chrysanthemum tea?

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abcdefg

Reitia -- You really would be well served by listening to the lecture series on the history of tea that I recommended last time you had similar questions. It answers many of the things about which you are wondering. And it does it in an interesting, organized, thorough way. It's even free. All that's required is a small investment of your time.

 

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/49617-laszlo-montgomery-on-the-history-of-chinese-tea-%E2%80%93-a-listening-guide/

 

I would like to know if all the varieties of Chinese tea which we have today were already known and enjoyed during the Tang Dynasty. I've read that tea drinking became popular in that era. Was the tea consumed then mainly of the green varieties?

 

Tea in the Tang was still in the form of preserved cakes and was often rather bitter. It wasn't loose leaves and it wasn't green tea; it was fully oxidized. Most was steamed, some was roasted. When ready to brew, some tea was scraped and flaked off the cake and whisked into a froth with hot water. The aeration which that produced was important. A shallow bowl was used for preparation instead of a teapot. Similar (smaller) shallow bowls were used for serving.

 

Here is a brief excerpt in case you are too busy to just click on the link yourself.

 

Part 2 – He focuses here on the 唐朝 Tang Dynasty, 7th to 9th century. Tea was still far from its final form, still supplied in bricks or cakes, not loose leaf. It was often still rather bitter, and therefore was frequently mixed with other ingredients, such as onion, ginger and orange to make it more palatable.
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abcdefg

Reitia -- A confession.

 

By only giving short answers to your questions, I'm trying to lure you into becoming more engaged with the available resource material yourself. That way you can make it your own and return to it any time you want addtitional information. You can enjoy it more fully and learn from it better than if I just doled it out one spoonful at a time on demand.

 

Hope you don't mind that approach; I'm not trying to be difficult or contrary. I respect your inquisitive mind and am trying to help you develop useful research habits.

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Teasenz

@reitia, if you want to learn all the details, make sure to listen to all the 10 episodes of Laszlo Montgomery on Chinese tea history as suggested. I was completely blown away by the detail and quality of each single episode. It's hard to find such good tea info in English. A few of my notes on your questions.

 

Jasmine tea

Regarding your other question regarding when Jasmine tea: it was was started to be used as an ingredient to scent tea in the fifth century, but the widespread use was during the Qing dynasty. Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasmine_tea

 

Pai Mu Dan

This is a white tea, it's a pretty new type, so I don't think this was part of the Tang. I couldn't find any English sources on the history of this tea, so I searched in Baidu. It seems that this tea is indeed pretty new: from 1922. See the Chinese source here: Bai Mu Dan

 

Tang Dynasty

During the Tang dynasty tea was mainly consumed without any ingredients blended in or added. That's still the same today. However, in some cases onion, ginger, spice and oranges where added. In contrary what's already said above, it was actually was mainly for medicinal uses though. Tea lovers at that time preferred to sip pure tea. Pu erh was indeed still dominant at that time. See more here: https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/tea-history.html

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abcdefg

Nice blog, Teasenz. Welcome to the forum.

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Teasenz

Great to be part of this community :) I am pretty excited because this forum is full of Chinese tea culture enthousiasts.

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