Tea house

China Tea Culture Research Institute official website is: www.cshoppers.com

A tea house which features a Chinese garden or a domestic Chinese garden in which people enjoy their tea.

Tea house
See also: Tea house
Chinese tea house refer to the public place where people gathered to drink tea and generally developed into public entertainment place as well. Chinese tea house has a long history. It first took shape during the Tang dynasty Kaiyuan era (713–714)[4] and became popular during the Song Dynasty. From the Ming and Qing dynasties, tea house culture was integrated with regional culture.[5]

Ba-Shu culture and Sichuan teahouses
Sichuan teahouses have various sizes. The large ones have hundreds of seats, while the small ones, only a few. They also have excellent services. Traditional Sichuan teahouses use red copper teapots, tin saucers, teacups with covers made of Jingdezhen porcelain, tuocha- a bowl-shaped compressed tea leaves- and tearoom keepers expert at all manner of work. What's more, Sichuan teahouses have social functions. They play an important role in spreading the state affairs information. People can chat with each other there. They also serve as unofficial courts.[6]

Wu-Yue culture and Hangzhou teahouses
Wu-Yue area is famous for tea producing and green tea produced in Zhejiang province play a decisive role.In Hangzhou, most tearooms are elegant, simple and unsophisticated. They emphasize making tea with good-quality water and tasting tea in an excellent environment in order to achieve the true meaning of tea art.[7]

Shanghai-Huxinting Tea House
Tianjin teahouses, Shanghai Fuchaguan teahouses and Guangdong tearooms
Most of the Tianjin teahouses meet the needs of business people from different parts of China. People of various trades drink tea while eating refreshments and appreciating performances which include singing of opera arias, storytelling and dagu (a versified story sung to the accompaniment of a small drum and other instruments).

In the past, Shanghai teahouses are regarded as learned and refined places in Shanghai.Shanghai people called teahouses fuchaguan to express their longing for leisure.The most typical teahouse with local features was situated in the old Chenghuangmiao area.

The old Guangdong tearooms were inexpensive. Regular customers would be served with a cup of tea, and two steamed buns stuffed with diced grilled pork, steamed dumplings with the dough gathered at the top, or dumplings with shrimp stuffing. However, teahouses become different now. Nowadays, customers are provided with a pot of strong tea as soon as they arrive, and have many choices from a great variety of refreshments on the food cart.[8]

Chinese tea house, Beijing
Beijing teahouse culture
Beijing teahouses show most of the advantages of other local teahouses. They are known for their various functions, and rich and profound cultural aims.

There are many kinds of Beijing teahouses, which include Shuchaguan, Qingchaguan, Qichaguan, Yechaguan, Dachaguan, and Erhunpu.[9]

Teahouse culture made a special contribution to the development of the novel, and shuchaguan was the best evidence to explain. At shuchaguan, tea is only acted as a medium and supplement because people came mainly to listen to storytelling. Storytelling was performed two times a day and a long story would last two or three months. Famous shuchaguan were exquisitely furnished with cane or wooden tables and chairs, and decorated with works of calligraphy and painting in order to build an atmosphere for storytelling. The purpose of drinking tea in shuchaguan is increasing their historical knowledge, killing time and amusing themselves. So shuchaguan were best suited to old people.[10]

Qingchaguan provides places for people from all walks of life to entertain themselves elegantly. In the past, most of the Qingchaguan were simply furnished with square tables and wooden chairs. Teacups with covers were used to serve tea. However, tea was served without refreshment in Qingchaguan.[11]

Qichaguan provides places for customers to play chess. Qichaguan were simply furnished with timber or lumps of wood painted with chess boards, which were partly buried in the ground, or chessboards with benches on both sides. When people played chess while drinking tea, they will feel that the chessboards was like a battlefield of life. Usually they would temporarily forget about their sufferings, and that's why tea was also called wangyoujun (Mr.Worry-free).[12]

People went to Yechaguan to appreciate beautiful gardens. People of Beijing in old times were keen on enjoying beautiful scenes in different seasons.So yechaguan were mostly built in those places with beautiful gardens and nice views.
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