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A few "imperial" hours in the tea empire

2023-04-25 16:52:00, Opinione Edmond Laçi
A few "imperial" hours in the tea empire
Edmond Laçi

While for us Albanians and a good part of humanity coffee may be the "favorite" drink, the world actually revolves around tea. Apart from water, today tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, with about 300 billion liters per year. And precisely in the Balkans, there is the place where more tea is consumed per capita than anywhere else in the world: each Turk uses an average of 1,300 cups of tea per year, or 3.5 kilograms, followed by Ireland and Great Britain. However, the real tea empire in the world is China.

The "homeland" of tea today produces about 2.8 million tons per year out of 6 in total, which is the global production. It is in this country that the most valued tea flowers in the world grow: Da Hong Pao, which cost as much as 1.2 million dollars per kilogram. China is also the country with the largest consumption: 70 billion liters of warm tea and 15 billion liters of cold tea per year. Last November, "Traditional Chinese Tea-Making Techniques" were registered on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO...

To feel like an "emperor" for a few hours in the real tea empire is not enough just to be in Beijing. But you should be lucky and be there during the opening of the 14th International Tea Exhibition and Tea Ceremony. For four days in a row, 1,000 tea brands, 10,000 products from well-known public and private companies were displayed in 1,300 stands, on an area of ??26,000 square meters.

Among the thousands of visitors, most are professionals who come to China's most influential and valuable spring tea exhibition for business. But there are others, like me, who drank the tea only when they had a fever, and even then, giving it with difficulty. However, no matter how much you are a fan of other "juices", you can't help but try the Chinese ritual of the tea ceremony that comes to this day almost the same as that created by the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

It is enough to sit on the small benches of any stand to experience more than tea, the "Gong fu cha" ceremony, which can be translated as "prepare tea with care and devotion". On the tasting table, there is a small teapot, a bowl where the tea is poured first, aroma and tasting cups, but also other tools, such as small tongs, bamboo spoons, tea trays, as well as a brush for the care of clay teapots Yixing. You feel like a real "emperor", even more so, because here you can try tea from all regions of China. From the southwestern plantations, in Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou, where the famous Dianhong black tea, Mengding yellow tea and Duyun Maojian green tea are produced.

To continue with Southern China plantations in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and Hainan, where dark Liu Bao and Oolong, or semi-fermented, teas are grown. Da Hong Pao is also from this area, a two-gram filter whose price is 2,400 dollars. Literally translated as "big red dress", the leaves of this tea come from only six plants that have survived the centuries and were grown in Fujian, in the Wu Yi Mountains, the former gardens of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Legends say that this tea cured the mother of an emperor from a serious illness.

But today, at least for a few hours, I am the "emperor" myself. Teas from plantations south and north of the Yangtze River, from Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Hunan to Shandong, Gansu, Shaanxi, Henan as well as northern and southern parts of Jiangsu, Hubei and Anhui, are still to be seen and tried. The famous Dragon Well green tea is produced here, as well as Keemun, Phoenix Dancong and Xinyang Maojian.

Duhet thënë se nuk ka asnjë sistem emërtimi për çajrat kinezë, të cilët njihen nga malet, vendet e shenjta dhe personazhet mitologjike. Dhe ndërsa vazhdojmë të mësojmë gjëra të reja, rituali vazhdon: uji i nxehtë hidhet mbi tavolinën e çajit pa pushim, pastaj vetë çaji shpëlahet për të mos rrezikuar cilësinë e infuzionit, derisa çajniku zbrazet i gjithi në filxhanin e provës. Një degustim të tillë do ta kishte zili edhe Shen Nungu, babai i mjekësisë dhe bujqësisë kineze, të cilit i atribuohet zbulimi i çajit rreth vitit 2750 para Krishtit.

Sot çaji është bërë një artikull i sofistikuar konsumi. Kjo pasi njerëzit tani po kërkojnë opsione më të rafinuara, duke detyruar prodhuesit jo vetëm të ruajnë metodat mijëravjeçare, por edhe të krijojnë aksesorë të ndryshëm për t'i shtuar shije dhe elegancë çajit. Kjo është edhe arsyeja që “Ekspozita e Çajit të Pekinit”, prej vitit 2011 është shndërruar në platformën më të mirë të tregtimit dhe komunikimit për prodhuesit, shpërndarësit, krijuesit e kompleteve të çajit dhe dashamirësit e kësaj pijeje që ka pushtuar botën. Kombet e Bashkuara dhe FAO kanë caktuar 21 majin e çdo viti si Ditën Ndërkombëtare të Çajit, për të reflektuar mbi mundësitë e pafundme dhe për të tërhequr vëmendjen ndaj veçorive ekonomike e kulturore të këtij produkti.

Since the first monograph, written in 758 by Lu Yu, until today no one doubts the qualities of tea. Vitamins B, C and E, mineral salts, proteins, but above all the antioxidants that are present mainly in the black and green type, are excellent for the prevention of cardiovascular or ischemic heart diseases. In addition, the Pu'er and Oolong types are incomparable detoxifiers, perfect for those who want to quit smoking, but also to fight obesity and high cholesterol. A Chinese proverb says that "Drinking a cup of tea a day will certainly starve the pharmacist." For me, the pharmacist will have a long life, but at least for a few hours I was "emperor". Right in the tea empire. (CRI)

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