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The tea culture in Sichuan


As the saying goes, Tea houses of Sichuan rank first in the world, while those of Chengdu rank first in Sichuan. Tea houses play an important role in the lives of Chengdu natives. Distributed throughout the city, tea houses are far more than places for drinking tea. They are places for relaxation and social activities, and even more, as a reflection of local life. Here one may enjoy such genuine Chinese teas as jasmine, Maofeng and Zhuyeqing, and Sichuan opera performances as well.

A quick stroll on the streets of Chengdu will reveal scores of tea houses. There is a saying, "China has the best teahouses in the world and Chengdu has the best teahouses in China." The reputation is definitely well-deserved, not only because of the numerous teahouses, but also because the special way of serving and drinking tea.

As soon as the guests enter the teahouse, waiters greet them with a smile on their faces and with teapots and cups in their hands. After the guests have sat down, cups are placed on the table and waiters pour water from behind the guests or from above their heads. When the cups are almost full, the waiters suddenly raise their hands, but not a drop of water is spilled.

The cups' antique style features covers and saucers. Sitting on the saucer, the tea cup looks like a boat floating on the water, hence the name "tea-boat." The cover keeps the water warm and also adjusts the steeping speed of the tea. It also helps prevent the tea leaves from going into one's mouth and helps strain the tea better.
  

People who go to the teahouses are not necessarily thirsty. Retired people pay 20 cents to go to the teahouse and sit there all day long in order chat with each other. They enjoy the relaxing social environment. Sometimes, people bring guests to entertain them. Melon and sunflower seeds are served as light appetizers, mostly to help the passing of time and keep people's fingers' busy.

Teahouses are also places for businessmen to get together to hold trade talks or make deals. In recent years, more and more people go to teahouses for business meetings. Some of the teahouses also have theatrical performances, such as storytelling, crosstalk (comic dialogue) and Sichuan opera.

Lets start from the basic: a tea set in Sichuan. It comprises three parts: a lid, a cup (Sichuanese call it bowl instead of cup) and a saucer. There's another name for the saucer too: the tea ship - a metaphor describing the saucer holds the tea cup like a ship,
The boiling water is not poured into the cup to full in one time. In the first time the cup is gently poured to about half full, leaving time for the dried tea leaves to "breath" and to "stretch" (how thoughtful); after the leaves are stretched, the boiling water will be poured again rapidly from high - to plough on the leaves in order to draw out the fragrance of the tea.
 
Picture on the left captured a facet inside a traditional teahouse in Sichuan. Unlike Cantonese teahouses where people usually go there for the dim sum rather than the tea; Sichuanese obviously appreciate the teahouse by its face value. See how everyone is basking in their bamboo chairs, either reading news or, better still, whiling the afternoon away with nothing done.
If you can read Chinese characters, you'll be very surprised by the price for a cup of tea here. The best one is selling at a mere RMB$6, which is just about half a euro! Gee, can I buy anything with that in Paris? Mind you, this is the price that includes unlimited refill as long as you stay there. And when you leave, the etiquette has it that you either place the lid or the saucer on the chair to show to the waiters you're leaving. Otherwise, they'll assume you're staying and will refill your cup yet again.
And if hungry, you can order a tu fu, the soft bean curd, another famous Sichuanese fare.
Teahouse in Chengdu, people can take power natural growth, so the "bubble" tea has become the soul of the word. The story of the last bubble tea I will not say. Spoken-word content, and now the story though not the last century, so rich, it is still very taste. Is the so-called "big universe cup of tea in the sun and the moon long", a small teahouse larger society, where the convergence part of everyday visitor, shelter or the wind or vice versa. Complexity of the social attributes of tea, this is not the crowd of high and low points, meaning its own tastes. Here you can talk business businessman, retirees can wear at this time, friends, this situation can renew old friendships, lovers can appeal to this sentiment, family members this can be jolly.
Chengdu Tea House is the most distinctive Dr. Tea, in fact, mixed tea waiter. Tang, "Feng Shi Wen Jian Lu": "tea stop, get money orders thirty sub-text of slaves pay Dr. Tea." Sichuan tea mixed with tea groom skilled, there are many unique skills, the other day there are a few field Da Lei contest for women to Chengdu, said Sinal. They put tea boat, put bowls of action at one go, they can be filled with water, there is a large copper pot-meter-long spout fighting windmills turn to play, he is closer to the spout bowl first, and then suddenly lift up the pumping, a Share boiling water to the column of water rushed down Zhixie bowl inside, and then put his hand over the little finger over the pages built a teacup in front of you, that means he just wow. What tricks they perform "Su back on," "Sea Dragon," "Flying Fairy" "Boy worship Goddess of Mercy." . . . . . , Dazzling. Highly skilled body into water injection can be reversed to spout a few feet away from the soda bottle, just filled, without leaving out bit by bit, and classical in the technology that oil peddler par; they live in the tea house, social contact all walks of life, well-informed, broad knowledge. Urban road traffic, news anecdotes they know, therefore patrons call as "Dr. Tea." Today, the country's Sichuan, Dr. Tea, a lot of work, but they mainly rely on primary mixed tea art, and not knowledgeable of.
General provision to the teahouse in a "bubble" on the half-day characters are drinking two flowers, three flowers of the old customers, that is, two, three tea. Because jasmine tea with the old tea smoked, not only cheap, three to five dollars a bowl, but also stand the long soak, you sit there and drink that day, Chapu also faces wait, you can always loud The crying, "mixed tea" ... ... ", and did not pay attention to, sir sorry" ... ... ordinary tea and green tea are generally used Gaiwan Cha drink. Cover that the days of tea and tea vessels that land, Metaphorical cup, tea onto the lid of a cap, meaning that world and you say a lot with stress.
Chengdu's tea is now also the development of tea, because there are some to enjoy the spring snow to the teahouse bosses talk business, to take a private room, drinking a cup of tens of dollars of high-grade tea, and pay attention to a beautiful and elegant high tea, so the tea house where there are a crystal glass child. A cup of Buxus, that a tea washed by water, and immediately floated thickly, as if a group of small fry to head out, and slowly they are also an upright with a sink, stand in the bottom layer of glass, a look that is tea. Bosses to drink tea to drink, "Bitan snow" float glass sub-layer of white jasmine above, bottom of the cup covered with a layer of green tea, looking at all cool heart pleasing to the eye, mouth and drink the rich aroma. In recent years, there is the invention of the "mountains" is the past, farmers drink wild tea - leaves Kudingcha made, has become the high-end drinks, but also fitted with a glass sub-contractors have a green flavor. I also heard that there is a businessman, in the past rent Scriptorium office, a few thousand dollars a month rent to the teahouse where he later opened a private room, where guests every day to pay tea money line, and also serve , you said that sperm is not smart Chengdu?
Busy teahouse in Chengdu, selling seeds, selling peanuts, Taoer Duo, polish shoes, Shu bones, mahjong playing, playing long card, business meetings, boring sleepy, writing articles, businesses thousands of lines of Chapu soft spot. Sichuan people crowded together to the tea house where we seek to find feeling, so-called "quiet cup of tea to go, sneak cigarettes to get shot." Chengdu people's style is evident impunity.
 
The people of Sichuan pursuit comfort when having tea. The ornament of teahouse is not the table for eight people in south of the Yangtze River but little tea table or little square table. The seat pattern in the teahouse in east Sichuan can not only be sat but also can be lied, while the pattern in west Sichuan is just the bamboo chair with back, very stable and comfortable.
 
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