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To understand tea culture is to understand China

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

08-07-2015 16:41 BJT

By Tom McGregor, freelancer based in Beijing

China has long held a love affair with tea, since it offers many health benefits for the mind and body. The Chinese relish the flavors, the aromas and the rituals of a tea culture that have been passed down from generation to generation for more than a thousand years.

Tea farms have flourished in Southern China, especially in  Fujian Province, where its land, climate conditions and environment make for a conducive atmosphere to grow a wide variety of tea leaves.

ECNS (English-language News Service) reports that, "China's tea industry figures for 2014 stood at 2.7 million hectares of tea crops with more than 200,000 companies operating and over 30 million farmers, which accounts for total tea production valued at 350bn RMB ($US56bn) ."

Showcasing tea at 2015 Milan World Expo

China's tea industry is a major success story that has captured global attention. Accordingly, the Chinese Pavilion at the Milan Expo is hosting ‘Chinese Tea Culture Week' from Aug. 3-9. Top-name Chinese tea companies are taking part in special events, such as tea ceremonies and tea tasting forums.

Marco Bartona, chairman of the Tea Association in Italy, is the chief organizer, who supports business people and cultural representatives working together to promote the industry.

"When we speak about tea we are speaking of China," Bartona told Xinhua news agency. "This is a beverage that cannot be sold only as a commercial product, because a tea culture is needed."

He is encouraging more young people to get involved. Chinese college students, who were active members of tea organizations, were invited to participate in festivities at the Milan Expo.

Drinking for good health

Marketing Chinese tea is good for business and beneficial for health. Medical studies have shown that drinking certain teas, such as jasmine, green or black, can reduce cancer risks, lower heart rates, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as relax the mind.

According to LiveStrong health Website, oolong tea mixed with jasmine petals creates a soothing fragrance joined by delicate and mildly sweet flavors.

The ‘European Journal of Physiology’ has investigated how the jasmine scent affects the mood state and automatic nerve activity of 24 healthy volunteers. Volunteers showed a noticeable slowdown of heart rates and were calmer while sniffing jasmine petals.

Another Chinese study has indicated that those who drink more than 150g./month can lower cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of stroke. Green and jasmine teas have ingredients that can boost high-density lipoproteins (HDL good cholesterol).

Importing Kiwi tea to China

Tea importers are looking to tap into the lucrative China market. Zealong Tea, a New Zealand-based company, is marketing its tea in China. The company opened a tea shop in Beijing earlier this year. Sen Kong, marketing manager for Zealong, contends that his company can capture a larger share of China’s tea sector.

"When people think of New Zealand they think of pure water, fertile soils and clean atmosphere. That’s all the elements and ingredients we use for our teas," Kong told ABC News Australia.

Supporting tea cultural values

The Chinese love their tea and for them the tea culture is more than just drinking a beverage. It's about selecting the right brand, boiling the water and mixing the tea leaves into a cup. They appreciate smelling the rich aromas and tasting the rush of flavors. Drinking tea is a tradition for them.

Chinese families have followed their ancestors' customs when drinking tea. They have a passion for it and do wish the world can learn more about the amazing heritage of tea culture that could inspire greater harmony for all humanity.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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