Tea Culture Thrives in Lingnan Area
Lingnan's tea culture is one of the four main tea cultures in China.
Lingnan Area consists of provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and Taiwan and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region with Guangdong as its core area.
Lingnan people began planting tea in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). A man called Cao Song brought some seeds of tea from northern China to Guangdong and planted them in Xiqiao Mountain. Since then, Lingnan's tea culture has become an important part of life here.
Because of the hot and humid climate, tea is a must-have daily drink for Lingnan people.
In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Lingnan people started a special Cantonese-style breakfast Yam Cha, or Dim Sum, which is popular little snack steamed, deep-fried or boiled.
Yam Cha, literally, drinking tea, is what Guangdong and Hong Kong people in particular do, if they go out for breakfast early in the morning.
In the same dynasty, people in eastern Guangdong created a special way of preparing tea, called Gongfu Tea.
The tea set for making Gongfu Tea is very small. The pottery teapot is as big as a fist and the white and transparent teacups are as small as tiny liqueur glasses.
In addition they use a small charcoal stove, a small water kettle and a porcelain base for holding the tea set.
Spring or well water is best for making Gongfu Tea. Water is boiled with olive pits, which give out high flames and the delicate fragrance of olives.
Before making tea, the teapot is first cleaned with boiled water to get rid of the residual tea flavour and because a warm teapot makes better tea. Then a big handful of tealeaves will be put into the teapot, filling it almost to the brim.
Lingnan Area abounds with Oolong (black dragon) Tea. Half fermented, Oolong Tea is as mellow as black tea and as refreshing and sweet as green tea, complete with a lingering aftertaste.
Oolong Tea helps prevent and cure illnesses, prolong life and prevent arteriosclerosis and cancer.
The origin and development of tea culture was decided by the specific geographic and climate conditions of this region, as well as Lingnan's economical and cultural development.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Lingnan was an economic powerhouse with thriving trade links overseas, and wealthy business magnates developed the refined and leisurely hobby of drinking tea.