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The role of tea in the chinese tradiction

Recently, I have started collaborating with Sensaterra (www.senseterra.com), an online platform for the sale of coffee, tea, and herbal teas. They have asked me for an interview to explain my background.


I am always delighted to promote my traditional Chinese culture through tea! Below, you will find the complete interview. Additionally, you can find the link to Sensaterra at the end of the blog.


Could you briefly tell us the story of Zentè? How did the idea for this project come about?


The birth of Zentè stems from my need to rediscover my traditional Chinese culture in Italy and to share it with Italians. Zen philosophy and tea are two closely related concepts. Through tea, I aim to convey to the new generations of Chinese born in Italy the importance of their roots and to show Italians the beauty encapsulated in this magical beverage and all the history behind it.


What place does tea occupy in Chinese culture and tradition? Does it hold the same importance in society today?


In China, tea is considered one of the seven indispensable items of life: wood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and tea. Tea is not just a healthy drink for us; it encompasses history, art, literature, and philosophy.

In today's society, tea is still a daily habit, which was only interrupted in the past during periods of war and poverty.


In your tea room in the city of Prato, you organize many courses and events to introduce people to Chinese culture. Could you tell us about these activities?


Yes, we offer calligraphy courses and tea tasting lessons. Calligraphy courses are led by Master Fang, a professional calligrapher and painter. The tea tasting session consists of my demonstration of the art of tea (茶艺), a brief introduction to tea culture, and finally, a tasting of three different teas selected based on the customers' preferences.


We also have plans to expand tea courses for beginners and professionals in collaboration with a Chinese institution. Through this collaboration, I will be able to provide students with an official participation certificate. It will be a well-structured and scheduled program for in-depth learning. I will make sure to inform you when it officially begins.


We also organize events for major Chinese holidays. For the recent Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节), we held a small event where guests had the opportunity to wear traditional Chinese clothing and taste mooncakes paired with different teas. I tried to create a traditional atmosphere by accompanying the evening with delicate music from the Chinese guqin harp (古琴).

Soon, we will be celebrating the Chinese New Year (春节) on February 1st. For this occasion, on January 28th, 29th, and 30th, the tea room will be dedicated to creating traditional Chinese couplets (春联) with Master Fang. Anyone can help in their creation and even purchase them. Of course, there will be tea and music to accompany these days.


Approximately every month, I organize an open day where visitors can taste three different teas freely.


According to the Chinese zodiac, this year will be the Year of the Tiger. Is there a tea variety that you would recommend for this sign?


The production of Chinese tea is based on climatic conditions and market demands, and it is not directly related to the zodiac. However, there might be some producers who create a tea to commemorate the Year of the Tiger, but it is not part of the traditional practice.




How can one recognize a high-quality tea?


This is a question that cannot be answered in a few words, as different teas have different standards. However, in general, there are four aspects to consider when determining the quality of a tea:

  1. Appearance of the dried leaves: They should be intact and roughly the same size.

  2. Color of the infusion: It should be clear, clean, and bright (each tea has its own color).

  3. Taste: It should be clean, without strange flavors or particular smells. Each tea has its own characteristics that need to be taken into account for detailed observations.

  4. Leaves after infusion: They should remain robust and vibrant.


A final sentence that represents Zentè?


We believe that a good day can simply start with a cup of tea!




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