Friday, August 8, 2008

Tea Ceremony

The Japanese tea ceremony or chano-yu, is the ancient practice of serving tea according to a strict ritual that defines the manner in which tea is prepared and served. Rooted in Zen Budhism, the art of the tea ceremony symbolizes aesthetic simplicity through the elimination of the unnecessary.

The tradition ceremony, as practiced today, takes place in a tea room within a house. The simply constructed room is small, accommodating a host and five guests, and the floors are covered with straw (tatami) mats. The most formal ceremony takes four hours, and two types of green tea are served. A gong is sounded to signal the beginning of the ceremony. Following prescribed pattern, the host prepares the tea with the utmost exactness. The principal guest is served first, after which the ritual is repeated. The accurate and delicate performance of each act is thought to represent the fundamental Zen principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.

The tea ceremony was originated in China by Buddhist monks who believed that tea had medicinal quantities. It was bought to Japan the 13th century.

Unblended and Blended Varieties of Tea
Among the unblended teas are Assam and Darjeeling, produced in India, Ceylon teas, which have a smooth, flowery flavor; and Keemun, a China black tea also known as English Breakfast tea (high grown Ceylon and Assam teas); Russian style, which is a China Congou sometimes containing other teas or scents; and Earl Grey, a black tea flavored with bergamot or lavender oil.

Tea Producer
India, China, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Japan, Indonesia, Kenya, and regions of the USSR (Gregorian and Azerbaijan) are the world's leading tea producers.

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