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During tea ceremonies, why do people eat pastries with tea?

In China, there is a tradition of hosting guests with tea dating back to ancient times. However, it is not considered hospitable to have guests sit in front of just a teapot. Therefore, regardless of the household, there will always be some pastries on a plate when guests arrive to show the courtesy of the host.

Even when China was not yet wealthy, some demanding families would store biscuits and cakes in a tiny boxes, only taking them out when there were guests at home to serve them with tea. Although it may seem like a luxury for the less fortunate, the significance of sweets with tea in tea culture is evident.

Alleviating hunger

In China, there is a tradition of frequenting tea houses. When everyone gathers around the tea table, while drinking tea and chatting, time often slips away. Additionally, certain types of tea, such as Pu-erh, have a strong digestive effect and can often make you feel hungry. Moreover, drinking tea on an empty stomach can be harmful to the stomach, so at this point, it is necessary to eat some pastries to alleviate hunger and prevent stomach damage.

Complementing the taste of tea

The selection of pastries for tea is both a technique and an art. The choice of pastries should harmonize with the taste of the tea. Generally, the selection of pastries should complement the taste of the tea and be in harmony with its flavor. For example, "sweet with green tea, acidic with black tea, melon seeds with Oolong."

When drinking tea, different pastries can be chosen based on the tea variety, which is another form of tea culture.

  • Green tea is an unfermented tea. Its taste is fresh and delicate, and the color is refreshing and pleasant. Therefore, the pastries that accompany it should be fresh, delicate, and refreshing.

  • Oolong tea is partially fermented and has a taste similar to green tea. It is not suitable for pastries with a strong flavor. Therefore, pastries with low sugar or salt content can be chosen, such as melon seeds, peanuts, green beans, and bean rolls.

  • Black tea belongs to the category of fully fermented teas and has a full-bodied and robust flavor. It is suitable to be paired with pastries that have a slightly salty, slightly acidic, or slightly fizzy taste, such as sour berry sweets, dried plum sweets, candied fruit sweets, and so on.

  • While enjoying flower tea or green tea, small pastries with a sweet flavor can be tasted.

  • Pu-erh tea has a stronger flavor and pairs well with snacks with a strong taste, such as dried meat, various types of dried meat, dried fruits, and so on. Dairy products like cheese and milk puddings or high-fat nuts like peanuts, cashews, and almonds are equally good choices.

  • The traditional Japanese Matcha tea is quite bitter, so Japanese pastries like mochi and dango tend to have a sweet and sticky taste.

How to avoid getting drunk on tea

It is important to know that tea contains various substances such as tea polyphenols, caffeine, and others. Caffeine can stimulate the central nervous system in the brain to a limited extent, causing nervous excitement, accelerated blood circulation, and digestive disturbances, among other negative effects. In more severe cases, the substances present in tea can also rapidly lower blood sugar levels, causing symptoms of imbalance such as fainting, dizziness, limb weakness, and other symptoms similar to alcohol intoxication. Therefore, to avoid getting drunk on tea, the best advice is to "eat before drinking." Before drinking tea, eat something to ensure that your stomach is full.

During tea tasting, it is helpful to have small snacks, nuts, and the like on hand, such as cinnamon cakes, date paste, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, pistachios, etc. If tea intoxication occurs, it is necessary to immediately drink a cup of sugared water, eat sweets, or drink more water to increase blood sugar levels and gradually reduce the symptoms of intoxication.

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