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Traditional Chinese Culture Interview II

Chinese Tea Lover—— Ma Yu Liang

Reporter: F.5 Ca: Nicky Ma

Interviewee: Parent: Ma Yu Liang

When it comes to Chinese tea, we always think of it as a daily drink in traditional Chinese restaurants. Many of us drink tea, but how much do we know about the tea itself despite its name and taste? In Mr. Ma’s perspective, Chinese tea is underestimated with its benefits and significance. Tea is far more than a boring drink, and tea is a crucial component of Chinese culture.

His Story with Tea

Mr. Ma is a Pu'er tea lover. He's been keen on Chinese tea since a couple of years ago. He’s always curious about new things. Once his friends around him started to drink tea, so did he. “When I started to drink it, I became more aware of the background of every little cup of tea," said Mr. Ma.

One well-recognized classification of tea refers to its degree of fermentation, which can be divided into green tea, white tea, yellow tea, black tea, and dark tea. The Pu’er tea that Mr. Ma fancies to is in fact a type of dark tea. Its name comes from a city in Yunnan called Pu'er City. Pu’er tea is further subdivided into Pu’er raw tea and Pu’er ripe tea, also known as raw tea and ripe tea. The former is made from leaves of fresh tea leaves that have been rolled and dried under the sunlight while the latter is made by man-made piling fermentation on the basis of raw tea. The most common Pu’er tea in the market is in a cake shape. The root cause of it is the inconvenience of transportation in old times, a long time from tea harvesting to tea production. Mr. Ma's "treasure house" has a collection of all kinds of tea cakes. Whenever a friend comes to visits him, he brews out the treasured tea and enjoys it with his friends.

Tea Regimen

Besides, tea also promotes a healthy lifestyle. According to Mr. Ma, no matter which type of Pu’er tea we drink, they all contain extremely large amounts of tea polyphenols compared to any other types of tea. Polyphenols which promote anti-oxidation and prevention of cardiovascular disease are extraordinarily beneficial to the human body. Although raw tea retains a lot of tea polyphenols, due to the fact that it has not been fermented, they are not suitable for all. There is a small chance of irritation to our gastrointestinal tract, so some people might feel uncomfortable after drinking raw tea. Thus, he highly recommends everyone to drink the ripe Pu’er tea which is suitable for all age groups. Specially processed ripe Pu’er tea allows the chemicals to be transformed over time, in addition to reduced bitterness, the tea gives a mellow taste. In terms of taste, the ripe Pu’er is smoother and thicker than raw tea. "It's a pity that young people don't like drinking tea very much these days, because they don't know much about the health benefits of tea." Mr. Ma said, sighing.

Chinese Tea Culture

Tea itself is a witness to history, says Mr. Ma. In ancient times, tea was found to have medicinal value and could cure diseases. During the process of integrating into our society, it gradually evolved into a daily drink. With the passage of time, drinking tea is no longer just about savouring, it did gradually develop into various customs, such as tea competition. "I know a little bit about teacups and tea ware." Mr. Ma pointed out that tea culture is not only the tea itself but also the etiquette style, the material of teacups and tea ware. Mr. Ma shared a story about a tea competition he heard from a friend, and shows his great appreciation towards those tea connoisseurs. Apart from that, he also shared his future plans, "I am thinking of transforming my dining room to be a teahouse in the future, where I can enjoy tea with my friends. Wouldn’t that be the best thing?"

Together with Mr. Ma, we sincerely hope that everybody would try to take a sip of Chinese tea in their leisure time to experience the culture of tea.


*Terminologies refers to 蔡榮章 / Steven R. Jones. (2012, March 12). 中英文茶學術語 Chinese-English tea studies terminology 2010 (repost). Tea Arts 茶藝.


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