The History of the Chinese tea and the legends around it
In China, tea drinking has always been a part of the culture. The country has always been a big producer of tea leaves and used to import it to European countries, thanks to the Silk Road. The tea leaves can be boiled straight or can be let to dry in the sun first.
There are different legends around the tea and why it was first drunk by the Chinese. One of them is about Shennong, a legendary hero and the father of Chinese Medicine, who tasted different wild plants in order to see which ones were poisonous or not. He was poisoned many times during this process and what saved him were the leaves of a plant with white flowers. As it is believed that he had a transparent body, he could directly see what the plants were doing to him. They cured him, purified his body, perfumed his breath and left a fresh feeling in his mouth. It neutralized the toxins of the poisonous plants. He believed that this was the doing of the gods who wanted to save him. Tea was then first used as a medicine and leaves were directly prepared in boiling water.
Throughout times, spices were added to tea leaves and it was compressed as small pancakes. Tea has then become a privilege and became a delightful experience, especially under the Tang Dynasty. It became popular in the royal palace and among intellectuals.
Different types of Chinese tea
China has been famous for its Green tea (which was the oldest one cultivated, approximately 5,000 years ago) which is made from the new shoots of the plant. They are left to dry accordingly to the type of tea wanted. It is mainly produced in the provinces of Jiangxi, Anhui and Zhejiang.
Yellow tea, whose leaves are left to dry naturally, has an aroma close to green and white teas. It was served to the emperors as yellow was the imperial colour.
White tea is a kind of green tea that hasn’t been fermented and has been quickly dried. It is mainly cultivated in the Fujan province. White tea got his name from poor Chinese people who didn’t have any tea and would offer boiled water to their guests.
The Oolong tea is a unique tea, with characteristics from green and red tea. It is believed to be a beauty enhancer and helps with the process of fat loss.
The second biggest tea category is Black tea whose leaves are rolled, fermented and dried and it leaves a red colour when infused.
Dark tea is the most fermented one (a bacteria’s help is needed for its process), it dates back to the 16th century and is popular in Hong Kong, Japan and Southeast Asia. Pu’er tea is a kind of dark tea that is over 2000 years old. It is made from a large-leaf variety plant that grows in a defined area. Later on, it is compressed or shaped into bricks.
The Chinese tea Ceremony
The Chinese tea ceremony has become a ritual, with special utensils, and even a lifestyle that is a reflection of multiple philosophical movements like Taoism, Confucian and Buddhism. It also teaches virtues and a certain etiquette while being a stress relieving and peaceful moment. It used to be a sign of respect where the younger generation would invite the older ones for a cup of tea. On the other hand, offering tea was a way of apologising. It was also a way of showing gratitude and was used during wedding ceremonies in order to unite both families.
Chinese tea ceremonies are nowadays mainly done in tea houses called Guangdong in Cantonese. Ceremonies are prepared in advance, the choice of tea is extremely important and time is needed to prepare the soul for the ritual. There are 6 main steps to the ritual :
There are 8 main steps to the Chinese tea ceremony:
We hope that this article will trigger your curiosity and that one day, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a true Chinese Tea Ceremony! With that being said, we are having a 10% off summer tea. Come by and take a look at our quality teas or use SUMMER2019 for online shop.
The Great Tea Company
We all know, and it has been scientifically proven many times, that tea is indeed good for us, our health, body and mind. It cleanses our system as well as relieving us from stress.
If tea is such a good product for us, we have to make sure it is great toward the environment too. There are about 4 millions of tons of tea produced every year so if all the tea drinkers had an eco-responsible way of drinking, it could have a great impact, in a positive way.
In order to do so, we have to watch our consumption and make sure it is an eco-responsible one (no need to reduce your intake of this glorious beverage!). We have gathered a couple of advice for you so that you don’t feel guilty when drinking tea and it will even benefit other parts of your life. Here are our 7 advice:
So here are a couple of tips that could, at a human level, have a positive impact on the environment.
We hope you enjoy your summer!
The Great Tea Company
Dear Tea Lovers,
If you are a customer of ours, you know we are different from other tea shops, especially when it comes to our process of hand selecting teas from around the world and our love of unique flavors.
What some of you may now know, however, is how some of these unique flavors came to be. As one example, 3 holiday seasons ago, my family and I were trying to figure out a tea we could make that everyone could enjoy. We decided to add some orange peel and cinnamon into our full caffeinate black tea, and thus, a new delicious flavor was born, one that is warm and cozy and perfect for the holidays. However, I don’t have a name for this tea. I don’t want to name it “Orange Cinnamon” because we already have an Orange Cinnamon Decaf Black Tea in our shop. The difference between two is decaffeinate versus full caffeinate tea as we often hear from our customers “I want caffeine!” What do you think we should name this tea?
In addition to this unique and tasty flavor creation, we also developed another flavor. It is nutty, chocolatey, and indulgent. We took our Belgian Chocolate Black Tea and added almond, hazelnut, and sugar-coated fennel seeds. I think the seeds look like little holiday light bulbs. What do you think we should name this second tea?
We invite you to send us name ideas for these hand-crafted tea flavors. If you are picked, your tea name will become the official name for one of these teas and we will send you the tea you named! For our runner-up, we will send you a fun tea infuser.
To enter this contest, please send us your tea names along with your contact information by October 15th. Please submit your entry using the text below or something similar:
Tea 1 (Orange Cinnamon flavor) -
Tea 2 (Chocolate Hazelnut flavor) -
We will aim to announce the winner around October 20th. We would prefer that you pick up your prize at our shop because we would like to take a picture with you.
Thank you in advance to all who participate. We wish you luck and can’t wait to see what the new names for these scrumptious teas will be!
All my best,
Always online at
email@example.com or by mail PO Box 594, Shakopee, MN 55379
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Dear Tea Aficionados:
I hope you are having a good summer. I always get a bit sad when I drive past corn fields in the summer, as corn fields are summer’s timekeepers and inevitably signal the season’s gradual exit. I live right by a corn field in Shakopee, and recently when I drove by it with my children, I told them, “Now the corn is taller than me. You all know what that means. Our summer is coming to the end soon. And then you will have to go back to school.” This also means that our hot summer days are coming to an end too (remember the 104-degree day we had earlier in the season?!), and before we know it, it will be time to welcome in the cooler days of fall.
Just as the temperature changes with the season, so too do the teas I carry. The summery flavors are going fast, including fruity flavors and several varieties of refreshing green and white teas, among others. Some of my personal favorites include the Fruity Sangria and Organic Chamomile Dream. If you hurry, you can enjoy 15% off select flavors before they’re gone. Don’t wait though because once fall rolls around, we will have limited stock of our summer flavors.
To redeem your discount on select teas online, use code “Summer15%OFF” when you check out. Otherwise, we’d love to see you in our new brick-and-mortar location in charming downtown Prior Lake or at one of our farmers market locations.
Here’s where we will be in August:
Our shop at 16228 Main Ave SE #113, Prior Lake, MN 55372 TH 2-6pm, F 2-5pm, SAT 9-3pm
Hopkins Farmers Market- August 11 & 18,7:30-12pm
Prior Lake Farmers Market - August 11, 2018 8-12pm
Golden Valley Farmers Market - August 12 & 19, 9-1pm
Here at the Great Tea Road Company, we are wishing you a great rest of your summer and that you find the perfect tea to complement your summer memory-making. As always, we are happy to provide recommendations on flavors and brewing instructions. Until we meet again…
All my best,
Always online at
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Stock up your favorite teas. They are 20% OFF.
Use this code or pass on to your friends and family.
It is $5 shipping in Twin Cities.
Free shipping with $65 order.
Disclaimer: Not qualified for Journey Point Card
Thanksgiving day centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. It is another year, we blended orange black tea. Deliciously sweet and fruity with the underlying support of a robust (decaf) black tea.
The weather is getting colder. Please take care of yourself and have this wonderful Orange black tea to warm you up!
We met Karen at the church in November. We remembered that she purchased "Strawberry White" and "Blueberry White" sample tea. Since that day, she called us when she needs new teas.
We are very happy when someone is happy. This is a reason why we keep going with our tea journey -- to put smile on your face.
Thank you for being a part of our tea journey.
One of our friends suggested to change the current recipe of sweet mint tea. We took his suggestion to heart! Now it is called "Organic Exquisite Mint" Tea. We LOVE mint (peppermint, spearmint, wolly mint, etc). Do you know why mint is such a good plant? Here are 10 Reasons why drinking mint tea would be good for you:
Just a quick note. We have moved from Minneapolis Farmers Market to Hopkins (Sat) and Linden Hill (Sun). If you can't find us, you can always contact us via our website or a phone call. We are always here to help.
I’ll be short and sweet with this newsletter. How about “Let’s have a Spring Tea Party”.
Spring tea party ideas include:
Consider these health benefits of tea and the next time you have to choose. Tea is officially awesome for your health. But before loading up your cup, make sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Real tea is derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. (there are “Yellow tea” as well but it is very few produced) Anything else (like herbal “tea”) is an infusion of a different plant and isn’t technically tea.
The real tea may lack in variety but it makes up for with serious health benefits. Most people know about tea’s health properties of antioxidant. Most studies have focused on the better-known green and black teas, white and oolong also bring benefits to the table. Read on to find out why coffee’s little cousin rocks your health.
The takeaway: Tea is safe to consume — just not in excessive amounts. So brew up a batch of the good stuff — hot or cold — and enjoy.
Source: Adapted from Time magazine 9/4/12
Have you ever attended Japanese Tea Ceremony New Year Style?
Hatsugama (初釜) means boiling of the first kettle tea ceremony. It is a tradition that passes down from several generations. It has always been an honor to be served by tea teacher. This meeting is seen as something very special. Hatsugama is the only time when my tea teacher himself prepares tea for all his students. This does not happen often in Asian culture because students uphold the teacher highly. However, this year, we, students, were gathering at his place and our most senior students served the tea in his place as our teacher's health was not his best. Most of us were wearing formal Kimono.
In the traditional way, kaiseiki meal would be served. Since we could not complete the ritual with Kaiseiki meal, well, none of us was capable enough to prepare such a formal and beautiful meal. Instead, we came and shared a dish. Everyone placed one’s dish on the table provided in the room.
Fifteen minutes later after everyone was chatting and laughing, we were told to be seated. There are 2 tea sessions, thick tea (or Koi Cha performed by our male student) and thin tea (or Usucha performed by a female student). Our most senior students began to work his and her magic. It was quiet and calm. People were looking at the tea hosts. I have always loved the sound of water whether is boiling or running. It sounds so pretty to me.
Talking about 2 different type of tea being served. Koicha was also prepared and shared among all students. Koicha is a thick tea that looked like a pea soup (really). Each one of us shared the same bowl. Yes, it may sound a bit strange to many people but we are bonded together this way.
Then we also got served a thin tea. This year, I got an honor to help out as the first guest. The first guest is the most important guest. He or she receives the dessert and tea first. He or she can have a conversation with the tea host. It also shows the rank among the guests as well.
One of our popular teas is Oolong tea from Northern Thailand.
Northern Thailand is a popular destination for Thai and foreigner visitors. It is also renowned as a scenic wonderland of orchards, flowers and forests. The area attracts tourists to enjoy the picture-perfect valley in the mountains 1,400 metres above sea-level. Here, the ever-present influence of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, can be sensed, from the Royal Agricultural Station to his agricultural affluence and an effort to better the quality of life to the ethnic people there.
Please enjoy the scenery of this village. It is truly beautiful place.
Credited: Great Tea Road.
Tea of the Month –Angkhang Oolong and Homemade Ginger Cinnamon Black Tea (new seasonal tea)
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting and being a loyal tea customers–it's what made our 2015 most memorable. Wishing you and your family peace and joy in 2016. Happy New Year!
“How can I be more mindful?” a customer and friend was asking. For me, it comes from practicing Japanese Tea Ceremony. I was instructed even when I prepare tea utensils, I need to be focused on what I do. I think it is very simple task but for some find it is difficult.
At times, when we are drinking tea with a friend, we are not aware of the tea or even of our friend sitting there. Practicing tea meditation is to be truly present with our tea and our friends. We recognize that we can dwell happily in the present moment despite all of our sorrows and worries. We sit there relaxed without having to say anything. If we like, we may also share a song, a story or a dance.
Tea and Meditation are two practices that go hand-in-hand. They are both contemplative, slow-paced activities that help a person wind down.
Practicing Japanese Tea Ceremony is something many people do not want to do. Many think it was like a drag to pick up new “procedures” when they weren’t necessary. Some people even thought of doing tea ceremony seemed so cumbersome and old-fashioned.
You do not need to learn Japanese Tea Ceremony to be more mindful, really. Watching the tea ceremony being performed can help you be more mindful. For those of you who may be new to meditation, it is not a practice reserved for only certain religions. In its most basic form, meditation is the process of sitting still for a period of time and focusing your mind through deep breathing or a single word so that the inner chatter in your head ceases.
That is why I said you can be mindful to whatever you are currently doing. The combination of drinking tea and meditating has long been practiced by Chinese and Japanese Buddhist monks, who discovered that the calming properties of theanine in tea helped them to meditate blissfully for long periods of time. Perhaps, you can try combining them together to see if you get calmer or more focus before starting a task.
Tea of the Month - Chamomile Green Tea
Drinking tea right from the tea farm!
Taiwan is well known about their Oolong and that is what most people know. Do you know they also produce black tea? It is amazing to learn that they have been growing Assem (Indian tea) as well. On this trip, we visited Maokong which is located near Taipei. It is said that tea farmers from southern China came here to open teahouses. Later, the teahouses declined and customers no long came. The domesticated cats ran away and thus the place was called "Maokong" (meaning Cat Sky). However, Maokong has developed its unique sightseeing and tea tasting industry.
The tea farms here are famous for Bouzhong tea and Taiguanyin (Iron Goddess Oonlong). There are many teahouses with diversified styles. They are good places to visit no matter during day or night. In the daytime, there are tea trees and hills forming green scenery. Many citizens visit the place by taking the mountain tracks. After dusk, Maokong is like an enchanting, mysterious lady. Colorful light bulbs are lit in front of every building. Visitors taste tea, chat with each other and admire the nightfall.
The tea farms (open for sightseeing) are scattered around (you will need to walk around and find them). Most tea farms provide tea tasting or meals. Visitors coming here may also want to try the delicious dishes.
We work directly with several tea farms. Your Journey Begins with Our Tea.
From the beautiful Fall colors to the bountiful harvests, we have a lot of good things going on around us. For us, we are always thankful to our customers who support and follow us on Facebook, Twister or simply stop by and say hi to us. We can’t be “us” today without you. THANK YOU. Talking about tea and thankful month; the same goes for tea. The tea farmers have, done their final harvests for this growing season. We recommend these teas for the season:
1 Full of Character: Milk Oolong, Angkhang Oolong, Sencha Okumidori (Green Tea), Roasted Green Tea
2 A Great Tea Gets More Variety: Almond Coconut (Green Tea), Heavenly Hawaii (Herbal)
3 True, Clean Taste: Midnight Roses (Green Tea), Chamomile Dream (Herbal)
4 Refreshing: Sweet Mint (Herbal) or Moroccan Mint (green tea)
5 Hearty and Satisfying: Ceylon Earl gray (Black Tea), Russian Caravan (Black Tea)
Japanese Black Tea has arrived. It has been awhile since we are out of this product. It has 2 contribute factors: we sold out and the tea farm was in a transiting period to fully Organic farm. This tea plant is seedling selection from the local varieties based in Nara Perfecture, an old capital of Japan in 7th century.
The tea farm is located and nested in the mountain. I love their location and scenery very much. From here, you can see the river and mountain.
Tea of the month –ri Misho (Japanese Black Tea).
We work directly with several tea farms. Your Journey Begins with Our Tea.
For those who are interested to experience a real Japanese Tea House, it is time to register. The spots fill up so quickly. Send us a message if you decide to come.
A little back ground of the event. Built in the style of a traditional Japanese tea house, the Como Ordway Memorial Tea House is made primarily of materials indigenous to Minnesota, and expresses pure Japanese taste. Its aesthetic intent addresses not a spirit of deficiency but of poverty freedom from external concern and awareness of essential inward values. Equally important is the spirit of tranquility. Together they reveal beauty in imperfection and insufficiency.
For the Japanese people, a tea house and garden represent a mountain sanctuary within the city. The tea house and gardens are our mountain sanctuary. Through participation, guests set themselves apart from the cares of the world.
One approaches the tea house and its gardens by way of a gate, leaving the outside world behind. Only participants of the tea ceremony enter the inner secluded garden. This is not a large landscape scene. Dramatic views or unusually fragrant plants are not included. Simple, natural arrangements of trees and green leafy plants are desirable, as is foliage that makes a sound in the breeze.
All the hosts of the tea ceremony volunteer their special skills. At least one certified tea instructor is present with a staff of other volunteers, who have studied tea for many years. The tea ceremony they perform has been taught in Japan from generation to generation by the Urasenke branch of the Sen family. We are most fortunate to have the support of these devoted individuals. (As of now, I am a Vice President of Urasenke branch in Minnesota).
The tea ceremony at the Como Ordway Japanese Garden lasts 45 minutes, and includes an explanation of the ceremony itself. As many guests are not able to seat on the floor, we make a modification and now guests are seated on the chair.
Tea of the month – Sweet Mint Tea, Jin Chain Oolong
Partial Except from Como Park website with modification.
Just one drink, so many cultures have its own way to drink. Let's look together how tea service in different cultures are like.
Chinese Tea Ceremony
Gongfu cha or Making Tea with an effort is what Chinese Tea Ceremony is about. The Chinese Tea Ceremony emphasizes the tea, rather than the ceremony -- that the test testes like, smells like, and how one tea tastes compared to the previous tea, or in successive rounds of drinking. Ceremony doesn't mean that each server will perform the ritual the same way; it is not related to religion. Each step is meant to be sensory exploration and appreciation.
Japanese Tea Ceremony
Chado, also known as Chanoyy and commonly referred to as the Japanese Tea Ceremony in English, is a spiritual and aesthetic discipline for refinement of the self - known in Japanese as a "do", a "way". The word "Chado" means "the way of tea". It is centered on the activity of host and guest spending a mutually heartwarming time together over a bowl of matcha tea. The purpose is to serve the guest an unforgettably satisfying bowl of tea and the guest responds with thankfulness, both of them realizing that the time shared can never be repeated and that is a "once in a lifetime" occasion. Some may see Chado as moving meditation which is not wrong. It gives a sense of mindfulness and help refocusing the current moment. (I confirm it helps distress!!).
Indian Masala Chai
In America, we generally say something like "I like a cup of chai tea". Chai means Tea. Masala Chai (simply referred to as “Chai”) has been a tradition throughout India for centuries. This spicy hot beverage is a brew of Indian black tea with a unique blend of spices, typically including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and pepper, although the recipe varies region to region. Chai is consumed morning and afternoon by many Indian families, and is customarily the first thing offered to houseguests. So prevalent is the service of Chai throughout India that baristas, known as Chaiwallahs, can be found at just about every cornerm in India.
British Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. She would become hungry around 4 o'clock. The evening meal in her household was served around 8 o'clock thus leaving a long period between lunch and dinner. She began to ask that a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room. Then she began to invite her friends. After that, it became a fashion for high class society in England. Afternoon tea was born.
Samovar and Russian Life
With an influence from Asian Culture during the trade on Great Tea Road , Russian tea is a combination of two or three types of flavors. These different teas are brewed dark and in separate pots. When mixed together in the cup, additional hot water is added to dilute the mixture. The tea pots are designed to sit one atop of the other with the bottom pot holding the hot water. The next pot, typically, will be a very dark tea followed by a pot of herbal or mint flavored tea. Stacking the pots, not only saves space, but enables each to stay hot longer. The samovar has served as Russia's teapot since the mid-1700s. By 1800, the samovar had become a cherished focal point of the Russian household and was the centerpiece of any social gathering.
Made from a combination of Chinese green gunpowder tea, handfuls of fresh mint and a liberal amount of sugar, the tea, or atai, as it's known, is a refreshing break, and the mint has both appetite-calming and digestive qualities. Tea is drunk at all times of the day, from early in the morning to an after-supper digestif, and is often served with Moroccan Cake. It is made in a metal teapot that is heated on the stove top, until it reaches a near boil. Then, it is left to stand for a short time, and may (or may not) be transferred into a serving pot, depending on where you are drinking it, and the preferences of your host. It is then brought out with an appropriate number of small glasses - these too may contain a sprig of fresh mint.
Thai Ice Tea
Lastly, street vendors who sell Thai ice tea can be found anywhere. Thailand is hot; Thai ice tea is an excellent choice beverage. You can simply mix condensed milk to black tea and serve over ice. Or another version is sugar with black tea and serve over ice (aka. Cha dum yen).
Disclaimer: We are not associated with any local or oversea tea organization.
Staff at Great Tea Road Co