My first Chinese tea ceremony

My first Chinese tea ceremony

Linhai and its historic city center

In the historic city center of Linhai we found a place that obviously sold tea and everything you need for a traditional tea ceremony. When we entered the store, two Chinese guys invited us for their ceremony. What sounds like the start of the standard tourist scam in Shanghai, was a very nice gesture in Linhai. At the end we spend almost an hour there, drinking ten year old Pu’Erh tea. We talked about tea and the perfect way to prepare it.

In case you were wondering, here is how you make the perfect Pu’Erh tea:

The tea ceremony

While green tea needs to be consumed as freshly as possible, best within 6 months, Pu’Erh tea is very old and gets even better with age. Similar to wine or whisky, age, origin, region and the manufacturing process determine taste and quality (and price). This type of tea is fermented and over time it accumulates bacteria, fungi and dust, so the first infusion is for cleaning only and you pour it away.

People used to do that with green tea as well, but that is not really required anymore.

For Pu’Erh tea you use boiling water for every infusion. The best water is from a fresh water source in the mountains of Linhai. If you happen to live somewhere else, bottled water will do just fine. For the second infusion, pour the boiling water on the tea. Stir, and then pour the tea carefully in the small cups. The tea leaves stay where they are, you can immediately add more boiling water for the next infusions. I didn’t leave the store empty handed of course, maybe it was not a scam, but an elaborated sales pitch.

Doesn’t matter, I enjoyed myself and if you come visit us in Shanghai, be ready for some delicious tea.

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