Chinese tea parties have been an integral part of the country’s culture for centuries, offering a delightful way to congregate and share ideas while savoring the art of delicate teas.
If you’re planning to host a traditional Chinese tea party, here are some essential tips to make it a memorable and authentic experience. 🍵🎉
How to Hold the Tea Party
- Tea Selection: Familiarize yourself with the tea spectrum, which includes white, yellow, green, oolong (also known as blue tea), and black teas. Green tea, the oldest and most popular variety in China, is made from drying new shoots of the tea plant. Oolong is lightly fermented and offers a range of flavors, from light and fruity to rich and woody. Black tea, the second-largest variety, is wilted, fermented, and dried.
- Brewing Techniques: For an authentic experience, use a traditional method to brew your tea. One popular option is the Bamboo Green tea (Zhu Ye Qing) from the Sichuan region, which is known for its high quality and delicate earthy flavor. To properly brew this tea, prime your teacups with hot water to ensure the liquid stays at the right temperature. Submerge the green tea in 195-degree water for only 10 seconds before straining and pouring into the primed teacups.
- Reusing Tea Leaves: Unlike most consumer tea bags, Chinese tea leaves can be reused. After the initial steeping, you can repeat the brewing process to enjoy multiple cups of tea.
How to Serve It to Guests
- To gracefully serve tea to your guests, start by filling the small teapot with hot water from a height, taking care to avoid any splashes or spills.
- Next, delicately pour the freshly brewed tea into the small, inviting cups and place each cup in a holder to offer to your guests. Throughout the gathering, repeat this attentive process for each round of tea, ensuring that everyone’s cup remains warm and aromatic.
- With every refill, engage in warm conversations and attentive hospitality, making your guests feel welcome and cherished. By following these steps, you’ll create a serene and enjoyable tea-serving experience for everyone to savor and remember.
Tea Party Ideas
Snack Pairings: In Chengdu, peanuts are a common snack enjoyed alongside tea. You can also offer vegetarian bites, paying homage to Buddhist traditions, such as ice grass, fresh bamboo shoots, and Chinese gourd. For the main event, consider making a delightful purple sweet potato Chinese tea cake—a steamed sweet potato and cranberry treat.
No worry about eating too much as tea helps with weight loss. What's the best for losing weight? READ HERE 💪🏋️♂️💧
Tea Party Setting: Create an ambiance that reflects Chinese tea culture. Use traditional teaware, such as ceramic teacups and a fine-mesh sieve for straining the tea. Consider incorporating elements of Chinese decor, such as bamboo accents or delicate Chinese artwork.
Tea Party Food
|Sweet pastries (e.g., crystal cake)
|Black (Red) tea
For tea connoisseurs, pairing the right snacks with specific teas is considered an art. For instance, sweet snacks complement green and black teas, while salty snacks enrich the flavor of oolong tea. Let’s explore some popular Chinese tea snacks.
The Four Precious Tea Snacks, near the Changjiang River delta, has a rich history of tea snacks, and it has contributed greatly to this culinary art. Among the renowned offerings are the rose crunchy candy, salty peach slices, and sticky candy, collectively known as “the three precious tea snacks.”
Later, a new chewy cake was introduced, making it the fourth in the group.
- The rose crunchy candy has earned numerous domestic awards for its popularity in China. Its preparation process can take several months. Fresh roses are pickled with sugar for five months to attain the finest aroma. After a series of complex steps, the candy is sliced and packed into paper bags. Key indicators of quality include a strong rose scent, a half crunchy, half chewy texture, and a light pink color.
- Salty peach slices have the fragrance of baked peaches but are made from rice powder, flour, sugar, salt, oil, walnuts, and black sesame. The ingredients are mixed, shaped, and steamed before being cut into pieces and packed.
- Sticky candy, a traditional snack in Yangzhou, faced extinction in the 1900s but was later revived by dedicated workers. The basic ingredients include sugar, flour, peanuts, and white sesame seeds. This chewy candy remains soft even after long preservation, and variations like fruit-flavored sticky candies and walnut sticky candies have been developed with advancing technology.
- The chewy cake is made from sugar, flour, nuts, and various ingredients that differ from person to person. Its production process is similar to the salty peach slices, but the texture is chewy and soft.
Chinese snacks vary greatly across different regions due to diverse tastes. For example, Sichuan is known for its love of spicy food, while Guangdong favors sweet delicacies. This diversity results in a wide array of interesting and delicious tea snacks throughout China.
- Sichuan Spicy Chicken feet are soaked in a sauce of chili and vinegar for several days, giving them a crunchy and flavorful taste. Locals appreciate the strong flavor of the chicken feet, which provides a delightful contrast to the tea’s taste. Before cooking, the chicken feet are boiled to remove any undesirable odors. Various families have their secret recipes, but common ingredients include ginger, green onion, black wine, peppercorns, and salt. For an added kick, red pepper oil can be drizzled on the chicken feet.
- Fried Dough Twists A renowned snack from Tianjing since the 1940s, fried dough twists are made from simple ingredients like flour, sugar, and salt, yet they offer a rich and enjoyable taste. The process involves mixing the ingredients to form a dough, which is then squeezed and twisted. After frying in hot oil, the resulting twists turn crunchy and flavorful.
Hosting a Chinese tea party offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tea culture of China. By selecting the right teas, mastering the brewing techniques, and offering delectable snacks, you can create an authentic experience for your guests.
Remember to cherish the time spent together while savoring the delicate flavors of Chinese tea. Enjoy your lovely and proper tea party!
Why are dim sums commonly served with tea in China?
In China, tea has a long history and was first used as medicine, then became popular among the upper class and is now a household staple.
Dim sums, which are convenient finger foods filled with various ingredients like chicken, pork, shrimp, and greens, pair well with teas during tea ceremonies.
They don’t overpower the tea flavors, making them a preferred choice for tea pairings.
What are the special teas paired with dim sums, and why is this practice important?
|Complements the delicate taste of dim sums
|Adds a pleasant scent to the dining experience
|Floral to fruity
|Offers a diverse range of flavors for pairing
|Matches well with richer dim sum dishes
|Light, refreshing (caffeine-free)
|Provides a gentle and refreshing pairing
The tradition of pairing tea with dim sums comes from the Far East, particularly China and Japan. In their tea ceremonies, tea is considered an art of hospitality, symbolizing the harmony between the sky, earth, and human skill in producing tea. It is believed that offering tea on arrival is a gesture of hospitality and simplicity.