Blessed by a new family member of Chinese origin, aware of my love for foreign food stuff and generous enough to shower me with gifts of such nature each time she visits us in Montreal,
in the past two years I have gradually become familiar with and fascinated by a vast array of Chinese tea. I take this as the most fortunate and welcomed introduction to the Chinese culture, albeit through a small (steamy) window.
As an Iranian, I grew up knowing and loving our national beverage, tea, which could be translated into loose black tea leaves, always prepared and drunk in the same fashion by steeping and simmering, then sipped from small delicate glasses that allow one to see its translucent mahogany color while relishing its flavor. In Iran, tea is the first thing you serve to your visitor – or drink on your own for that matter – at any time of the day or night, at happy or sad, formal or informal occasions, always the same black tea, always processed in the same way, though. I think it is safe to say that the Iranian tea culture while being extremely popular is quite simple plain down to earth. The Chinese tea culture, on the other hand seems anything but simple!