The Social and Psychological Dimensions of Drinking Tea and Why You Should
“Money may not be able to buy you happiness but drinking a tasty cup of tea can improve your
mood drastically.” – Pure Chinese Tea
Chinese people and in other parts of the word have included tea drinking as part of their culture and traditions. Despite being taken for granted by the new generations, the art of drinking tea is widely integrated with education, values formation, business, and other ceremonial rituals and social gatherings.
They say when you are in Rome, do what the Romans do. This also applies to drinking tea. You must learn the proper way of drinking tea especially if you are invited to a gathering that serves it.
You may ask why to bother yourself to study the proper norms in drinking tea. The answer is because of the following reasons:
1. Observe Etiquette
Most people oftentimes neglect this one. In every country you are into, there are norms and etiquettes that you must follow or else, it will be a disaster to you. Westerners find themselves into trouble because they disregard how the Orientals value so much the tradition and values. In East Asia, there is so much emphasis on movements even in serving food or preparing them. You don’t want to spoil your visit by being tagged as rude, don’t you?
2. Respect the Traditions
Just like number one, we must respect traditions. Drinking tea is a tradition dating back to early civilizations. Until now, it is a practice not only in China but also in Europe, specifically the Brits. When you learn even a glimpse of these traditions, you are already respecting them.
3. Tea Rituals is a One of Kind Experience
You will enjoy these tea customs and ceremonies. This will add another knowledge that you will find useful. Experiencing tea ceremonies will open your heart and mind to the rich culture of other nationalities, and winning friends will be easy!
The Culture of Drinking Tea
In China and Japan, drinking tea is sacred. There are reasons why they are drinking tea in
the manner of a ceremonious act. In the Chinese context, tea is prepared and consumed in
Sign of Respect
Younger generations are expected to serve tea for the elderly. This might be inherited from the book in the Han Dynasty, where the youth are instructed to boil and prepare tea for the masters and elders. Old Chinese generations are extremely strict and respecting the elders is highly sought after.
In modern times, Chinese people invite their parents to these teahouses and become a
Tea serves as a formal apology. In Chinese traditions, any person who wants to show that he or she sincerely regrets his or her actions should serve tea to the person he/she did wrong.
To celebrate and show gratitude
In marriage, the bride and groom served tea to their parents as a sign of gratitude for them.
Etiquettes in Drinking Tea in Chinese
There are several steps that you must remember if you are at a Chinese tea drinking ceremony. This is applicable whether in a formal, business or casual event.
1. Do not serve the guests the first steep
If you are the host, do not serve the first steep to the cup of the guest. Pour the first steep to the bowl (usually near the tea set), or into your cup.
2. Do not fill your teacups too much
This is a very practical one since teacups are usually shallow and small. Otherwise, you will be spilling your tea everywhere as you try to put it in your mouth. You don’t want to hurt yourself or anyone else through a freshly boiled tea.
3. Elders are the first to be served
Just as mentioned above, elderly people are the ones getting the first sip. It is customary in China to let the youth pay respect to them by serving them hot and tasty tea. For the next step, the service will be from left to right pouring regardless of age.
4. Guests first before the host/hostess
This is the way to show your guests that they are highly-revered and welcome. This is another way of saying ‘feel at home’ as part of the deep hospitality norms in Asia.
5. Always say thank you (or perform the Finger tapping)
This gesture has a very interesting back story in it. During the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong loved to travel with his servants around the country. This particular emperor didn’t want to reveal his identity so they were
disguised. When they were drinking tea, the emperor also served these servants. Since these servants do not want to reveal the emperor’s real identity, they bent and tapped their fingers, (see picture above) a symbolic gesture of a person kneeling. Today, this is continuously practiced as a way of saying ‘thank you’.
The rule is, if the guest is younger than the host who serves the tea, he or she only taps the one finger (index) on the table. If the guest is older, then two fingers will be used instead. If the hosts are way senior to you, then you need to bend the fingers, showing the knuckles.
6. Always put down your cup quietly
To do this you need to use two hands. The other hand will support the base or side of the
cup and gently put it down the table. It is rude to make a sound.
7. Add new leaves if a new guest joins in
Adding new tea leaves show your hospitality to the newcomer. But be sure to replace the
old one with the new one.
8. If the color of the tea of the guest is fading, that’s a sign for guests to leave
Yup, most Asians are too shy to send the guest away. This is the major difference between Orientals and Occidentals. The latter is more straightforward than the former. Doing Business While Drinking Tea
While some choose to drink liquor and wine to talk over the business, drinking tea is also catching up. With its health benefits, meetings preside with tea as a social equalizer.
Some even say tea eliminates professional titles, making the conversation more casual and vivid. Tearooms are more relaxed than bars, so business ventures are easy to discuss. The
aroma and fragrance . Lastly, tea meetings are cost-effective and cheap over high-end restaurant reservations or drinking in a pub.
Health Benefits of Chinese Tea
With its history of being a medicinal herb, the benefits of drinking tea have been backed
by science. If you are into improving your overall wellness and health, you must start
investing for your mind and body through tea.
Pure Chinese Tea has many benefits in general. Some of these are:
1. Tea keeps body young
Since it contains antioxidants, tea protects the cells from getting damaged due to pollution. The powerful antioxidant of tea is due to flavonoids components: theaflavins, blisfavanols, and theaflavin acid. According to a study, these components fight free radicals that are present in colon and blood.
2. Tea has the anticancer property
Camellia Sinensis is a powerful tree, making even fight cancer. Epidemiological studies found tea to decrease cancer cells in the colon, pancreas, and rectum. In the same study, a significant decrease in lymph node metastases of a patient with stage I and II breast cancer. There are more studies that are linked to tea consumption and cancer prevention. Another noteworthy to mention is tea fights esophageal cancer.
3. Tea protects you from dental caries
Oolong tea extract (OTE) has a substance known as polyphenols. These substances have antibacterial properties against oral pathogens. In a study by Lingstro’m et al, mouth rinsing with green tea can protect your mouth against plaque build-up, acidity, cariogenic microflora.
4. Tea helps you to lose weight
With its antioxidant properties, tea helps you to lose those unwanted pounds. Though this claim is yet to be proven, it is concluded already since tea blocks protein, calories and other nutrients in the body.
5. Tea protects you from a heart attack
Green Tea contains the same polyphenols that are present in red wine and other vegetables. This also lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. All these are good for your heart.
In March 2015 Epidemiology study, tea proved to be effective against heart disease. The study is conducted in 90,000 Japanese participants.
6. Tea protects your bones
Aged women who suffer from osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases are encouraged to drink tea. In a comparative experiment of women, 83% who drink tea have higher energy and calcium intake, compared to non-tea drinkers. Calcium is necessary to fight for bone loss. In a comparative study of Mediterranean Osteoporosis Study (MEDOS), tea drinkers have higher Bone Mineral Density or BMD.
The list of benefits of the tea continues to grow. Some even associate tea with sleeping wellat night and improves your mood.