Chinese Tea Party -- Tea Parties Around the World

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Now a series of Tea Parties Around the World would not be complete without looking at Chinese tea. Let's face it, the China is where tea began. January seemed like the perfect time for us to look at China since we were looking at the Chinese New Year already. I will admit writing this post has been intimidating me and I keep putting it off. How can I do the long history of tea in China justice? I have decided just to share with you my references and what we enjoyed as we looked at China and the history of tea. 

For general tea references we have ones we have shared previously like The Art and Craft of Tea and Tea: The Drink that Changed the World. Both of which have much information on tea in China. We also took a look at two books about Chinese tea. The first is Chinese Tea by Ling Yun.

This book provides history, technique and more about tea in China. It has artwork as well as photographs of the tea regions, tea vessels over the centuries and more. It also provides information about preparing the perfect cup of tea  changed with the various dynasties in China as well as tea drinking itself.
This book is for adults. Hazel and I began to read it together but she did get bored and find it a bit confusing. However this small book is packed full of information including health benefits of tea. It is the perfect book to see the history of tea and its uses in China. It also goes through the various types of tea and the most popular in China. It amazes me how many varieties there are from the same plant depending on how it is picked, when it is picked and how it is prepared.

Our second book is The Ancient Art of Tea by Warren Peltier.
In this book Peltier takes all the wisdom from ancient Chinese texts and tries to condense them into one small book. It presents the history of tea and its changes but more so how to make the perfect cup and how that has changed. It talks about the art of tea, the water used for tea, the fire to heat the water, the taste of tea, the etiquette of tea and refinements in tea. It goes through the ancient texts and pulls the various important points and combines them into one resource (and translates them). This book shares the Chinese tea masters with the average tea drinker. Come explore how to make the perfect cup!

Now the purpose of our tea parties is for Hazel to learn about the different countries and cultures of the world. My favorite reference book on China is All About China. (Tuttle Publishing's All About series is a must for every school that studies Asian countries and homeschools.) We have reviewed a Chinese cookbook and books about Chinese festivals. We have also looked at many Chinese stories and shared them here as well (history lessons, Mulan, Chinese fables and stories, and many more) . A book to see some more culture and relate it to our American one is Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes by Faye-Lynn Wu and illustrated by Kieren Dutcher. 

 This book pairs English nursery rhymes with similar ones in Chinese (and English) to see how the cultures are similar and different. There are small Do you know boxes throughout the book with interesting facts about the Chinese culture. The book also comes with a CD. It is a fun way to introduce children to the Chinese culture and is definitely worth a look.

We also always get books and DVDs out of the library. Above are some of the ones we really enjoyed and found useful to learn a bit more about China. Hazel loves the Magic Tree House series so she read these on her own. Recipe and Craft Guide to China was extremely useful for our tea party. We used the recipe in it for almond cookies, which we loved!!

 We also enjoyed this book from the library. We used it as our guidelines for our tea party.


Now I did not know much about Dragon Well Tea. Apparently it grows near a well that has dense water and after a light rain the water in the well has the movements of a Chinese dragon. (Source) It is one of the most popular Chinese teas. In the book Erica is going to her best friend, Nancy's house for the first time. Nancy is Chinese American and Erica does not know what to expect. However Nancy's family welcomes Erica with a treat of almond cookies and dragon well tea and she loves them!

Now I went to our local tea shop to look for dragon well tea. They had it, but I liked the smell of the Dragon Pearls tea instead. It had a little jasmine added in so I thought Hazel might like it better.

 I pulled out my Chinese tea set and made a pot of tea. We tried it with the cookies. Hazel and Steve did not like the tea but I think I let it brew too long for them.
I got my tea set in a Chinatown years ago. It is part of my tea pot collection. Hazel loved using the little cups.

Abundance Cast Iron Tea Pot at Teavana

You can get this beautiful tea pot at Teavana if you want to have a fun Chinese tea party. (I wish our Teavana store was at our closer mall. They moved out and I really miss them.) Some other Chinese teas to try are Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls Green Tea 2 oz, Emperor's Clouds and Mist Green Tea, Golden Monkey Black Tea 2 oz, and Monkey Picked Oolong Tea 2 oz. If we had more children at our tea party I would consider getting some Chinese Jump rope (each) (see here for a bit of history), Chinese Yo Yo Favor (12 Pack) (click here for history), Chinese Umbrella (perfect for a decoration as well), Chinese Bamboo Hat Adult and Chinese Hat for Adults for the kids to try on, and Asian Landscape Fan (fans were introduced to China from Japan, but are common today; click here and here for history), some Chinese children's music, and of course the Stir Fry and Slicing Set from Melissa & Doug. For some crafts you could paint fans, do papercutting (for older children), make Chinese musical instruments, diy kites (like this one: HearthSong Design Your Own Kite Kites & Flyers)or fly one (like this one: HearthSong Swallowtail Kite Outdoor Play Toys)and for history of Asian kites click here.

For even more ideas and posts about China click here. Next month we are taking a look at tea in India. Be sure to check it out!!