Valerria Chyketova, (Ukraine) tell us about her experiences learning Chinese: “Chinese friends told me drinking tea is quite an art. One can only enjoy the mellow flavor in the second and third courses of tea, and sugar will destroy its pure flavor. Then I made tea in the way they told me. Truly, the pure fragrance of tea came out from the tradition of “no sugar”.”
Valerria Chyketova, Ukraine
My friends, have you ever tasted Chinese tea? If not, you can experience the unique charm of Chinese tea with me.
I thought it was a bit weird when I saw Chinese drinking tea for the first time. Ukrainians usually throw away the tea leaves after the tea is made. But Chinese steep the leaves several times and never add any sugar to it. The Chinese Tea Ceremony is also very interesting. The performer’s fingers are as gentle as a bird’s wings. The tea is poured from the pot just as a river runs down a lofty mountain. I was immediately fascinated by it.
Chinese friends told me drinking tea is quite an art. One can only enjoy the mellow flavor in the second and third courses of tea, and sugar will destroy its pure flavor. Then I made tea in the way they told me. Truly, the pure fragrance of tea came out from the tradition of “no sugar”.
My friends said drinking tea is not only an art but also reflects a philosophy of life.
In the Chinese movie Red Cliff, which tells a story in the Three Kingdoms Period (220-265), Cao Cao, Chancellor and the actual leader of the strongest Kingdom named “Wei”, asked Xiao Qiao, beautiful wife of Zhou Yu, the commanding general of the other Kingdom named “Dongwu”, “What is the most difficult part in making tea?”
“Tea leaves, duration of heating, water quality and utensils all count, and patience. Look at the color first and then smell the flavor,” she answered.
Cao Cao, however, impatient to enjoy the “taste of tea”, was eager to win the war. As a result, he lost the battle. Had he applied the wisdom in tea to the war, kept a cool head when analyzing the circumstances and carefully observed the development of the war, I think maybe Cao Cao could have won.
I guess there is no other art like Chinese tea, so simple yet so universally popular, and it contains such a profound philosophy of life. The Chinese Tea Ceremony is an artistic way by which Chinese people express their philosophy of life. It is also wisdom focusing on tranquility and harmony between man and nature.
Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Number 05. Volume V. November 2009.
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