Eight-treasure tea served in a lidded tea bowl

Eight-treasure tea, which is served in a three-piece tea set consisting of a saucer, a tea bowl and a lid, is called gai-wan ‘lidded bowl’ tea. Learn how to make a nutritious bowl of this tea.

Eight-treasure tea

Confucius Institute Reporter Zhao Le

During the hot summer months, people often prefer to drink cold drinks to cool down. However, drinking tea can also help the body to cool down, quench thirst by promoting secretion of saliva and replenish bodily fluids. Eight-treasure tea, which is served in a three-piece tea set consisting of a saucer, a tea bowl and a lid, is called gai-wan ‘lidded bowl’ tea. It is also known as sanpaotai ‘three-piece artillery fort’ tea, because the tea set resembles an artillery fort in shape. Sanpaotai tea has many variations including brown sugar brick tea, white sugar green tea, rock sugar tea, tri-flavour tea, penta-flavour tea and eight-treasure tea. As a traditional tea beverage for the Hui ethnic group, eight-treasure tea brewed in a sanpaotai tea set is often used to entertain relatives and friends in Gansu Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The eight-treasure tea has a sweet scented taste and has many health benefits such as nourishing our yin energy and improving our lung functions, and clearing a dry throat. It is, therefore, popular in many areas of China.

What requirements and steps should be followed in preparing this seemingly simple traditional tea? In this workshop you you will learn how to make a nutritious bowl of eight-treasure tea.

Tea set: a lidded tea bowl

Here is the procedure:

  1. Wash the tea bowl, the lid and the saucer with warm water.
  2. Put the mixed eight-treasure tea ingredients into the tea bowl.
  3. Pour boiling water into the tea bowl, shake the bowl gently with the lid closed and then pour away the water. Pour in boiling water again to the rim of the tea bowl, then put the lid on the bowl and wait for the tea to brew.
  4. Hold the saucer with your left hand, and the bowl and the lid in your right hand. Tilt the bowl and slowly sip the tea. The tea will moisten your throat, refresh your mind and relieve stress, giving you an especially relaxed feeling.

Ingredients for eight-treasure tea:

The ingredients for eight-treasure tea are common foodstuffs and can have certain health benefits. Its recipe is not limited to the following eight ingredients. Individuals can choose other ingredients with similar health benefits.


1. Jujubes

To replenish vital energy and tonify qi, nourish the blood and calm the nerves.

Chinese wolfberries

2. Chinese wolfberries

To tonify the liver and the kidney, replenish the vital essence and improve eyesight.

Walnut kernels

3. Walnut kernels

To tonify the deficiencies and strengthen the body, improve brain function and delay aging.

Dried longan fruit

4. Dried longan fruit

To nourish the heart and the spleen, tonify qi and the blood.


5. Sesame

To tonify qi and invigorate strength, and delay aging.


6. Aisins

To replenish the blood and warm the kidney.

Rock sugar

7. Rock sugar

To nourish yin and promote the secretion of saliva, tonify the lungs and stop coughing.

Tea leaves

8. Tea leaves


A lidded bowl is also known as san-cai bowl ‘three-talent bowl’, with the lid standing for heaven, the saucer for earth, the bowl for people, and the three together symbolizing the harmonious relationship between man and nature. Health benefits of eight-treasure tea: improving one’s yin energy and lung function, and clearing a dry throat.


Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Number 33. Volume IV. July 2014.


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