The Chinese Lunar New Year (Spring Festival) is coming again. What are the interesting New Year tea customs around China? In the south of the Yangtze River, people will entertain guests with Gold Ingots Tea during the Spring Festival, implying the blessing of wealth. The new year tea custom in Zhejiang Province is from the first day to the third day of the first month, and a bowl of Four Ingredients Soup is offered to the guests. Hunan Province serves brown sugar tea first, and then salty tea Six Ingredients Tea, cup after cup until the guests are full. Fujian Province has a tradition of drinking tea in the New Year as a blessing activity during the Spring Festival. Drink a bowl of Sugar Tea, people can have peace, happiness and good luck.
The Christmas and New Year holidays are coming. I believe many people will go to all kinds of parties and celebrations. Here recommends interesting and creative tea and wine blending drinks, which have both traditions to tell guests and winter health care effects. The Naxi ethnic minorities in Yunnan like to drink a kind of tea and white spirit drink called Dragon and Tiger Fight. The blue flames in the tea cup are like roaring tigers, while the hot tea is poured into the cup like a swimming dragon. This lively drink is very suitable for winter holidays, it can also cure and relieve cold symptoms. However, traditional drinks can also be improved to be closer to modern people’s eating and drinking habits. Traditional pottery can be replaced with glass wine glasses, combined with cool cocktail technology, to make holiday drinks more eye-catching.
German product designer Maurice Eric Zacher fell in love with drinking tea many years ago. He was familiar with tea sets, and has designed and transformed many tea sets. After studying and working in Japan intermittently for many years, he was not only keen on tasting tea, tea and tea food, but also visited many tea houses and collected tea sets. At the end of 2020, he returned to Germany and began to plant tea trees, now there are hundreds of tea seedlings of different varieties on his big balcony. This spring, he also picked fresh tea leaves and made steamed green tea. In the future, he will launch more design projects related to tea, establish a tea garden in Hesse, Germany, and produce Japanese green tea or Chinese white tea.
As a decorative plant, tea was introduced to São Miguel island by Jacinto Leite, a native of the Azores in Portugal in 1820. It is the administrative capital of the Azores in the central part of the North Atlantic. Among the tea tree varieties brought to the island, only small leaf tea trees are well adapted to the climate and soil of the island. With the decline of the important pillar orange orchard agricultural industry on the island caused by diseases and insect pests from 1840 to 1875, tobacco, sugar beet, pineapple and tea were included in the experiment as alternative economic industries. In 1878 and 1891, two groups of Chinese tea industry experts were invited to the island to guide tea planting and tea processing, and the tea industry was successfully developed. At the beginning of the 20th century, the island had nearly 50 tea gardens and 10 independent factories exporting tea, which played an important role in the island’s economy. An important part of the island’s economy has been established around the planting, processing and export of tea. At that time, São Miguel island also became the only tea producing area in Europe. However, since the 1960s, the impact of the development of the international tea industry chain on the local tea industry, the shortage of local agricultural labor force, and the local policies to increase milk production have accelerated the decline of the whole tea industry on the island. At present, only two tea gardens with a total area of 25 hectares are still in operation, each with tea factories, mainly producing green tea and black tea. Where will the tea industry of São Miguel Island, which has developed for almost three centuries, and the tea culture derived from it go in the future?
German Nina Gruntkowski moved to Portugal 15 years ago as a Portuguese journalist of German radio broadcast. In an interview in 2011, Peter Oppliger, who initiated the Swiss tea garden in Ascona, gave her a tea tree. She has always dreamed of making more real and touchable products than radio, so she came up with the idea of planting tea trees. Nina first obtained 200 asexually propagated tea seedlings from Peter and planted them in her garden. In 2013, she transformed an old family vineyard into a tea plantation and cooperated with a Camellia expert. They used tea seeds for sexual reproduction and cuttings of mother trees of different small leaf species found in Portugal for asexual reproduction, and successfully developed 12000 clumps of tea trees on the land covering an area of 1 hectare. After more than 10 years of careful cultivation and management, some tea trees can be picked. They mainly produce steamed green tea, and the output is also increasing year by year. In 2019, 12kg, 2020, 50kg, 2021, in addition to 85kg steamed green tea, Nina also began to try to produce a small amount of Oolong tea.
Based on historical data, there are 67 tea producing areas in Tang Dynasty, 8 tea producing areas mentioned in Lu Yu’s <Tea Classic 茶经>, 43 states (counties), which are equivalent to 13 provinces today. In Tang Dynasty, there were more than 50 kinds of famous tea, most of which were steamed green cake tea, and a small amount of loose tea, including green tea and yellow tea. At that time, Guzhu Purple Bamboo Shoot tea from Wuyue (Jiangsu and Zhejiang) and Mengshan Purple Bamboo Shoot tea from Xishu (Sichuan) were the most popular products of the Tang emperor. Tang tribute tea producing house is located in Hutou Cliff on the side of Guzhu mountain, Changxing County, Zhejiang Province, which was founded in 770. It is the place to supervise the production of tribute tea Guzhu tea in Tang Dynasty, it is also the first tea processing factory in Chinese history. Read More
In China, in fact, there are many kinds of tea food, and because of the types of tea, personal preferences and differences, it is a general principle to match sweet tea food with green tea, sour and sweet tea food with black tea, and salty and alkaline tea food with oolong tea, the so-called “sweet with green, sour with red, melon seeds with oolong 甜配绿，酸配红，瓜子配乌龙“. When it comes to tea food, in fact, it’s easy to think of Engliand afternoon tea food and Japanese tea food, the beautiful tea snack is not too greasy and crooked only when it is paired with tea. In Germany and Europe, there are only a few tea food that use tea as ingredients, Earl Grey tea shortcake and tea nougat, which are very common in Europe. These improved tea versions of European cuisines from Maren Thobaben, French tea macarons and Italian tea pasta, seem to open up a new European tea food world. Read More
Mandarin Peel Pu’er 柑普 [gān pǔ] Tea is made of tangerine peel (Citrus reticulata Blanco) from Xinhui of Guangdong Province and ripe Pu’er tea from Yunnan Province, through special producing processes. It combines the fruit flavor of Xinhui tangerine and the taste of Yunnan Pu‘er tea, which makes peel and tea absorb each other’s essence, forming a unique flavor and a unique taste. Its health care effect naturally has both advantages. My husband went to Sardinia Italy on a working trip. He mentioned to me that there was a citrus orchard near his residence. Unfortunately, the fruits did not ripen yet, they were still green. I was inspired and asked him to bring some back for me. I then made the green mandarin Pu’er tea by myself, after tasting it, I found it was quite fresh and tasty. Recently, my friend gave me the ripe mandarins from her orchard in Sicily. I can’t miss such good materials, so I started to process again, and take photos to share with you.