Tea and Talk:
Being a Gracious Host
(the traditional Chinese beverage
is an entire field of study in itself)
The flavor of tea is no more important than the circumstances in
which tea is savored, at least not in the Chinese tea-drinking tradition.
Because tea is an agricultural product, tea-drinking has also become
a daily activity. Nevertheless, a tea-drinking occasion is often
a context for philosophical, sensual, and even cosmic contemplation.
A cup of tea can be savored with time. Conversation over a cup of
tea between friends creates a harmonious and relaxed atmosphere.
For the same reason, the Chinese like to serve tea when there are
guests, the Buddhists like to converse over pots of tea, and lastly,
the literati like to contemplate with tea in hands.
Tea is an integrated part of Chinese' daily life. Chinese tea ceremony
is a combination of various objects,
such as flowers, plants, qin (Chinese string instrument), ceramics,
as well as intellectual inquiries such as philosophy, Zen, and aesthetics.
What is interesting about drinking tea? Not in the taste of tea,
but rather in the occasions in which tea is served. Tea is a medium
for literati to meet new friends, and more often a prize of games.