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Asian Culture – Tea

18 Oct 2022

Coffee or Tea? If you are from the west, you’ll probably choose coffee without a doubt. However, tea has an irreplaceable status in the east. Tea is considered the most popular drink, especially in China and Japan. You can find it everywhere, ranging from being served at the restaurant just like water to the Japanese ceremonial way of preparing and drinking — tea ceremony. Let’s explore tea in Asia.

China

In China, tea is the only drink of the seven necessities in Chinese daily life. Tea has an irreparable status compared to other beverages, and it blended into Chinese people’s everyday life and has become as important as food. Although tea does not fill one’s stomach like rice, the Chinese cannot do without it. Tea can quench not only thirst but also represents a lifestyle. According to Lin Yutang, a famous Chinese linguist, the Chinese love tea the most: they drink tea at home, during a meeting, when reasoning to solve a conflict, during breakfast, and even after lunch. They seem to be able to drink tea anywhere and anytime. Drinking tea is also a living culture upheld by the Chinese. When they invite guests to their house, they will prepare a cup of tea to welcome their guests. Next time when you visit your Chinese friend’s house, don’t forget to try their welcome tea.

Chinese having a tea break at home

Japan

In Japan, tea is the most viral beverage and is essential to Japanese food culture. You can drink numerous tea choices, including Genmaicha, Hojicha, Sobacha, etc. Among them, the most common choice would be green tea, also known as the “tea” (お茶, ocha). People know you are referring to green tea without mentioning the full name. According to a survey from the World Green Tea Association, in Japan, 72.3% of people drink green tea daily, and 89.6% of people drink green tea more than once a week. Thanks to Ito En, a Japanese tea company that developed the world’s first ready-to-drink bottled green tea in 1984, we can enjoy bottled green tea around the globe.

Green tea is also the central element of the tea ceremony. The Japanese tea ceremony is a traditional way of preserving green tea. It is a ceremony of preparing and drinking green tea, typically in a traditional tearoom with a tatami floor. Beyond just serving and receiving green tea, one of the primary aims of the tea ceremony is to let the guest enjoy the hospitality from the host with a distinct atmosphere from the fast pace of everyday life.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Taiwan

Although many will associate Taiwan with bubble tea, Taiwan is also one of the places that make the world’s finest teas, particularly the oolong tea category. In Taiwan, there are a lot of high mountain areas that produce different types of tea with unique aromatics and flavors, based on the climate and elevation of each area. Ali Shan is an example of a mountain range in central Taiwan. With a high elevation of 1,000 to 2,300 meters above the altitude, Ali Shan is the ideal place to nurture tea plants. Ali shan contributes a buttery, sweet, and osmanthus floral taste to its teas which makes them stand out from the crowd.

Woman picking tea leaves in a tea plantation in Taiwan.

All in all, people love drinking tea in Asia. If you are in Asia, don’t forget to try the local teas. If you have any questions about relocating, please feel free to contact your local Asian Tigers office or reach out to us via our online contact form.

If you are interested in Asian culture, you also want to read:

  1. Asian culture – Gion Matsuri in Japan
  2. Expat Living – Adapting to a new culture with local soul food
  3. 520 Express your Love!
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