Personal Stories about Tea in Chinese Culture

Tea drinking has been an integral part of Chinese culture for centuries. This ubiquitous beverage is not only admired as a delicious drink with a fragrant aroma, it also plays a profound role in social gatherings as a way of showing hospitality. Furthermore, making and drinking a cup of tea provides a moment of tranquility to escape from everyday life. In this video Hollie Wong, the owner of Ching Ching CHA Tea House in Washington, DC, discusses why she decided to immigrate from Hong Kong and open a tea house in the US and shares her favorite teas. Then, she is joined by three other tea lovers originally from Beijing, Shanghai, and Taiwan who share their personal attachment to tea culture. This video was created by Freer and Sackler, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art, as part of the project Teaching China with the Smithsonian.

Questions for Discussion

  • Does your family drink tea? What kind? When and for what types of occasions does your family drink tea? What does tea mean to your family?
  • Explore different objects designed for tea across the world. Which one stands out to you? Why?
  • Research tea cultures in China, Japan, and the United Kingdom. How are they similar and different? How did tea gain popularity in Japan? How did tea travel from China to the United Kingdom?