China today is known as the factory of the world, producing by far the largest quantity of low-cost manufactured goods of any country in the world. A booming economy now, it has long been associated with trading, and early Chinese merchants were famed for their commercial savvy and intelligence. Perhaps one of the most memorable types of product to emanate from China over the millennia is tea, and the country remains one of the biggest growers and suppliers to a now global tea industry.
Generic tea, or English tea as it’s often known, is more commonly drunk by those in the west, as opposed to some of the more interesting produce consumed in China. Indeed the Chinese themselves have long been massive tea drinkers, and hundreds of different varieties and types introduce more sophisticated flavors and aromas for often more palatable infusions.
The health benefits of tea even mean that some Chinese varieties have actually been used to treat ailments, from stress, toothache, and insomnia through to helping with weight loss and even childbirth. While the format for consuming English tea is perhaps more familiar, there are a number of ways in which the health benefits of teas of this kind can be consumed.
The traditional way of serving Chinese tea is in a ceramic pot with boiling water. Like English tea, this creates an infusion from the leaves of the tea to create the drink – in much the same way as it has been enjoyed for thousands and thousands of years. More generally thought of as a greener drink than perhaps the English tea equivalent, Chinese tea is almost never served with the milk or sugar traditionally used to sweeten the western drink. Instead, some teas are consumed with a slice of lemon, or alternatively without any additions, to allow the full flavor and impact of the tea to shine through.
This is often a more subtle flavoring that drinkers might expect, and preparing Chinese tea for consumption in the right way can allow those flavors to come forward and make themselves known. Brewing in a pot helps keep all this flavor and aroma circulating through the tea, for a more potent and flavored result.
Aside from in their hot form, Chinese teas can also be enjoyed cold. In fact, iced teas have become a major growth area for the industry, providing an on-the-go bottled drink for busy lives. This is proving an increasingly popular option, and even established names in the industry like China Mist Tea Co are providing bottled iced tea products in increasing numbers, offering a wide range of fruit and other tea flavors.
There are numerous ways in which Chinese tea can be consumed, and there are varieties that are the perfect complement to virtually any flavor or food group you can think of. There are warming, comforting teas that bring health benefits. There are fruity iced teas that refresh and hydrate. For people who enjoy the flavor and the experience, Chinese tea has so much to offer.