A Mighty Civilization Built by Small Cups of Tea

Tea Symbolizes China Since the Ancient Time.

Tea is a national drink
An artform
A way of living
A communion
A commerce

Ancient Chinese Tea Culture

Tea comes with a fascinating origin story in China.

Tea-making is a Chinese tradition, a philosophy, a way of life. The Chinese tea culture has evolved for thousands of years.

As the art of tea drinking evolved over the millennia, tea percolated from the monks to scholars, emperors to commoners.

By the Tang Dynasty, tea had become China’s national drink, thanks in part to Lu Yu, author of CHA JING “The Classic of Tea, published in 780 A.D.). Tea culture in China reached the golden era by the 8th century. 

Tang Dynasty - LU YU 茶道 Chado

The great Tea Sage promoted the tea spirit, Chado or The Way of Tea, from cultivation to processing to tasting. Lu Yu illuminated the sacred nature of tea sets, proper teaware, spring water, and boiling water temperatures to prepare and taste tea properly. 

Tea tasting was high art amongst nobility and scholars during the Tang Dynasty. As a result, four hundred tea poems sprang up. One of the most famous, 7 CUPS, by Lu Tong, immortalized Wuyi tea from the Wuyi Mountains. 

World-Changing Tea

Located in China’s Fujian province, the mystical Wuyi Shan had produced tea for over 2,000 years. Not surprisingly, Wuyi Shan is the birthplace of Oolong tea and Black tea. In the tea realm, Wuyi Mountain is its epic center.

Traditionally, Chinese people manufacture six types of tea: White tea, Yellow Tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, Black Tea, and Pu erh tea.

All types come from the same tea plant, but the way the leaves are processed determines the tea type.

Tea is Zen

In ancient China, Buddhist monks were the first to start cultivating tea. Tea was a path to spiritual enlightenment. Tea was Zen. Heard of the Zen Tea Ceremony? Legend has it that the Buddhist monks at the Mount Tai temple in Shandong province created this spiritual practice during the Tang Dynasty.

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The Zen Tea Ceremony is still in practice today. We captured this footage in the film 9 DRAGONS TEA.

Tea is Art

The custom of tea drinking gives rise to fine tea accessories, evolving over the major Chinese Dynasties.

As tea leaves floated to the neighboring countries such as Japan and Korea, and eventually to Europe, sophisticated Chinese tea accessories followed. The export of fine China and Chinese Tea Things gave rise to local European porcelain industries.  

The combination of fanciful art style and exquisite quality, Chinese Tea Things, and porcelain whipped up a frenzy in Europe known as Chinoiserie, a trend lasting more than 300 years!

Tea drinkers in the West couldn’t wait to get their hands on exquisite Chinese porcelain such as Canton-Blue (or Blue and White) and Chinese Tea Things from the 16th and 18th centuries.  

tea thing-tea caddy-19th century
Tea and the Chinese culture grew inseparable.
9-Dragons-Tea-Art Book


You’ll love my new tea art-book! A labor of love, this book showcases glorious images from the documentary, and takes you on a virtual journey through the ancient tea rituals and how these practices bring calmness, mindfulness, and tranquility through the ages. Wellness and health is something we all need in modern days.

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