Antelope Valley Press - AV Living (Antelope Valley)

Different types of tea ceremonies

- WRITTEN BY Scott Lee | Special to the Valley Press

You may have heard of tea ceremonies without knowing much about them. There are three main types of tea ceremony coming from Japan, Korea and China.

Like all things tea, China is where it began. The first known mention of a formal ceremony for tea goes back to the 8th Century. Called chado (the way of tea) from the words cha (tea) and dao (way or path), it began as a collection of ceremonies coming out of the traditions of Buddhism, Confuciani­sm and Taoism. By the 18th Century, they had settled into the gongfu cha (meritoriou­s tea or making tea with skill) ceremony. Gong fu cha has seven steps: 1. Prepare the tea ware;

2. Place leaves in the teapot,

larger leaves at the bottom; 3. Pour hot water into the


4. Remove froth from the


5. Pour hot water over the pot; 6. Pour hot water into the

cups to warm therm; 7. Finally, pour tea into the


The cups used are small, so the tea is consumed while still hot and the cups sniffed after, for its fragrance. a number of variations on this have been developed over time, including the use of sniffer cups (tall thin cups matched to the regular sized ones) in which the tea is poured first, before being transferre­d to the regular cups. The sniffer cups are smelled for fragrance before drinking the tea.

The Japanese tea ceremony was derived from the Chinese. It’s called chanoyu, which means hot water (yu) in which tea (cha) is prepared. It was developed in the 15th Century and is heavily connected to Zen practices. Currently, only Matcha, a powdered tea developed in Japan, is used, but this was not always true. There is always a host and guests. The movements of the host can matter more than drinking the actual tea. This is an important part of the Zen nature of the ceremony. The room, utensils, furniture and art in the room are also vital to the practice of chanoyu. The guests are also expected to perform certain gestures, as well. Given how formal and structured the participan­ts must be, the Japanese tea ceremony is often rehearsed and preformed for an audience.

The Korean tea ceremony also comes from China’s. The Korean ceremony is called tarye, darye or dado (tea custom) and is first mentioned in writing from the 15th Century. In the Korean tea ceremony, the focus is solely on the tea and its consumptio­n. How the water and tea are mixed into the teapot is very important. The water can be added first, followed by the tea (upper placement), the tea first and then the water (lower placement) or the pot is filled half with water, then the tea is added and then more water (middle placement). Lower placement is deemed best for winter, upper placement for summer and middle placement for spring and autumn. Korean tea culture is much more connected to weather.

When pouring tea into cups, no cup is filled at once. Each cup receives some tea in small doses until the cups are full and the pot is empty. This is so no one cup receives more of the tea at the top or bottom of the pot. The tea in the bottom is often stronger and possibly more bitter than tea at the top. While holding the teacup underneath

The Japanese tea ceremony was derived from the Chinese. It’s called which means hot water in which tea is prepared. Currently, only (above), a powdered tea developed in Japan, is used.

with both hands, the focus is then on enjoying the tea.

First, the color of the tea should be appreciate­d as it sits in the cup, followed by appreciati­on of its fragrance. Then sipping the tea and holding it in the mouth to appreciate its flavor and mouthfeel

followed by swallowing. Finally, enjoying the aftertaste as the tea lingers in the mouth.

While there are not many tea ceremonies around the world, there are many tea customs. India, England, Morocco, Russia, Argentina, Thailand and more all have

their own traditions for drinking tea. Tea is not just a beverage, but it is a way of life in so many lands. As you explore tea, look for opportunit­ies to experience the many unique customs that have developed around it.

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