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Brewing tea around the stove: tea culture and new Chinese trends

By: Abraham Jan. 04,2023
The weather is getting colder and colder. I wonder if you have experienced the sudden explosion of this winter "around the stove cooking tea"?

With three or two friends around the stove, boil a pot of tea, and then baked persimmons, oranges, sweet potatoes, peanuts, red dates, chestnuts and other fruit snacks, raise a glass of slow drink, a long conversation, as if you can "encounter the most elegant warmth".

In fact, "cooking tea around the stove" already existed in ancient times, and in the life of the ancients was just the same ordinary thing. Behind its present hot, is the long-standing tea culture and the new Chinese trend of intermingling and mutual assistance.



Tea culture and the new Chinese trend

In Chinese culture, tea is a material carrier that has been artistically transformed.

At the beginning, the function of tea for people was reflected in its practical value. In ancient times, from the emperors and generals, to the literati and inkmen, down to the common people and the peddlers, all had the habit of drinking tea. In the development of a certain period of time, the tea puzzle to clear the mind, the natural properties of the flat taste bitter, and the traditional Chinese culture of the unity of heaven and man, the combination of nature, was injected with cultural content, carrying a spiritual and social role.


However, in different times and different regions, the tea drinking habits are slightly different. In the Central Plains, before the Tang Dynasty, raw leaves boiled drinking is the most common tea drinking method; Tang Dynasty, tea to group cake, by baking, grinded into the end, into the boiling water, known as the decoction tea method; to the Song Dynasty, point tea method became popular, that is, tea grinded into fine powder, placed in the jar, with boiling water point punch; after the Ming Dynasty, dry tea bubble drinking gradually become mainstream.

"Boil tea around the stove" to the ancients, just a common thing, Su Dongpo's "red roast shallow Ou new fire live, dragon ball small mill bucket clear window" describes the snow day boiling tea scene. But in terms of form, this popular activity is now more like the "fire pond roasting tea" in the Yunnan region. In the fire bed slowly baked earthenware teapot, and then put tea leaves, stimulate the mellow aroma of tea, and then add water to make tea. The family sits around the fire bed with bait, drinking and chatting is an important part of Yunnan's traditional daily life.


In the midst of the smoke and poverty of modern times, the country has temporarily set aside the non-essential presence of tea, and many ancient cultural traditions have been forgotten in the evolution of Western learning and modernization. With the country's economic development and the improvement of people's living standards, traditional culture with deep connotations and national significance, only to return to the public eye. The "new Chinese trend" has become the "Z generation" to establish national cultural self-confidence, but also highlights the return of the aesthetic interest with oriental flavor.

And tea culture, is one of this trend. This summer's hit "Meng Hua Lu" on the Song Dynasty tea ceremony culture presentation, but also to a certain extent deepen people's interest in tea culture. "Boiling tea around the stove" simplified the ancient tea ceremony process, there is no threshold, but also more casual, is an easy way for young people to perceive the tea culture, naturally can get hot.

Ritualistic addition and elegant cognition

Drinking tea has always been called "tea", often accompanied by a sense of purity and nature, but "cooking tea around the stove" is about lively, warm, most of those involved in the card are young people. Among them, part of the tea and tea culture can not say a reason, and do not drink tea as the main purpose, and can even replace the tea for wine, coffee.

When it comes to "cooking tea around the stove", "elegant" is a very common adjective. For many participants, this activity carries a social need first and foremost. In the post-epidemic era, people have fewer opportunities to interact face-to-face with friends and family, and the need for social interaction is further enhanced. Compared to other outdoor activities, "cooking tea around the stove" has a long meaning and can make people experience the quietness of the winter months.


Secondly, the sense of ceremony, atmosphere and a sense of seniority added, which is the necessary elements of the "value economy" pursued by young people. From last winter's skiing, this summer's camping, to the current "cooking tea around the stove", are the way people show exquisite life.

Therefore, we can see that a variety of teahouses, cafes, restaurants that provide "cooking tea around the stove" service, will use antique tea sets, utensils, with calligraphy, Chinese paintings, flower arrangements, folding fans and other Chinese decorative elements, in order to create a sense of warm winter atmosphere at the same time, so that customers have a good photo experience. In addition, small charcoal stoves, wire mesh trays, rough pottery tea jars, also present the slow life style of reverting to the basics, which can create a harmonious and self-consistent "sense of relaxation". All of these represent retro, nostalgia, niche, not popular, high quality, and can be separated from the mass consumer, naturally, is "elegant".


In the field of culture, there has always been a distinction between elegant culture and vulgar culture, but people's perception of elegance and vulgarity can be converted. Popular culture comes from the general experience of social life, and the experience is sublimated to become elegant culture. The culture that can move from vulgar to elegant and from elegant to vulgar is the one that is dynamic.

Back to "cooking tea around the stove", if this activity wants to get lasting development, it can not just stay in the trend of rubbing hot, Netflix elements piled up and the so-called "high-end" "sophisticated" "elegant" publicity, otherwise it can only be a "momentary fever".

In the "Chinese traditional tea-making techniques and related customs" selected by the United Nations Representative List of non-heritage works of the wind, practitioners should do more - niche for the masses, so that tea drinking becomes part of people's daily life. At the same time, they should create the contemporary vitality of tea culture by inheriting the past and creating the present.


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