Chinese Tea Culture (中国茶文化)

Tea is the national drink in China and serves as an important part of Chinese history and culture. Chinese tea is connected closely with Chinese Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.

Traditionally, drinking tea was the best way for learners to inspire themselves: Taoists used to drink tea for self-cultivation and keeping the oneness of soul and body; Buddhists used to drink tea for understanding deeply on Zen.

From the ideology of Confucius, drinking tea could judge a person’s character and level of moral and emphasise the feeling of objective environment and inner heart.

Tea has gradually developed into the number one beverage in China and now is the number one beverage in the world (adapted from Absolute China Tours).


According to Chinese Mythology, tea was discovered in China by Shen Nong (i.e. 神农), the Chinese Legendary Emperor over 5,000 years ago. 

It was said that Shen Nong tasted various herbals in order to master the characteristics of herbal medicine. He was positioned seventy-two times a day but was detoxified by accidentally eating tea leaves.

Since then, tea has become one of the most popular beverages first in China and then all over the world.



Tea as an imperial tribute.

From historical records, tea was known as a beverage in the time of Confucius (c.551-479 BC) and grew in popularity during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD).  By the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD) tea was the national drink of China, spreading from court circles to be popular throughout Chinese society. It was during this time that the practice developed of sending finest teas to the emperor's court as a tribute to him






Tea and Horse Caravan Road (Chamagudao) is an ancient trade route connecting Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan. It had been the important path along which tea, horse and traditional Chinese medicine were transported and traded, also known as the Silk Road of southwest China.


Chinese tea house is a place for people to get together to have tea.



Today China remains one of the largest suppliers of quality teas. Green teas represent 75% to 80% of China's current consumption. The rest of the production of green teas, and all of the black teas, are exported.


Drinking tea is an integral part of Chinese culinary culture.