In a mountain region in the southwest of China, farmers use panda’s waste to fertilize the tea pants. And this might be the world’s most high-priced tea. A small cup of the “panda tea” is said to cost $200!
Anyway, the discovery of tea in China was quite fortuitous. Legend has it that the Chinese emperor, Shennong, accidentally drank this beverage when a leaf fell into his boiling water.
For thousands of years following this occurrence, the Chinese used tea leaves in a many methods. The Han Dynasty used them as medicine. Other dynasties even ate tea leaves like vegetables and offered them during rituals. Finally during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), they adopted the usage that we are popular with today.
However, the journey was not yet over for tea leaves. It had already been established as a cherished beverage, but its preparation methods still had a long journey to go.
- First, the Tang Dynasty developed the boiled tea method. Tea leaves would be plucked, steamed, grounded (using a mortar), compressed, then dried to make tea cakes. Then, drinkers would ground these dried cakes into powder and then cook the powder in a large pot with boiling water.
- Following this method, the Song Dynasty employed the whipped tea method. Instead of cooking water and tea together in a pot like in the previous dynasty, those in the Song Dynasty would prepare tea by whisking together very finely ground tea powder and hot water in a cup.
- Lastly, the Ming Dynasty created the steeped tea technique. To prepare the tea, they would pour boiling water over loose leaf tea– the same method we use today!
Tea’s taste and its accepted health properties led to its surge in worldwide popularity. In the ninth century, tea spread to Japan after Japanese monks visited China. Later on, aided by the Silk Road, tea spread to a number of destinations, including Turkey and India. Tea had caught the world’s attention and heart.
If tea has done the same for you, or you would just love a fun and enriching experience in China, a tea tour in Hangzhou may just be what you need.
In Meijiawu Village, you will receive the ultimate tea experience. From watching the selection and preparation of tea leaves to taking part in an authentic tea ceremony, this tour will make you a tea expert in just half a day.