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[ICF 2019] Encountering tea cultures in the International Culture Festival

OCT . 21 2019
Peking University, Oct. 21, 2019: As part of the main activities during the International Culture Festival 2019, the on-campus exhibitions and food fiesta became highlights of the day, showcasing symbolic items of different cultures. Among them, tea is a typical element that reflects on the culture of a country.

Originated in China and spread by ancient merchants and envoys to all over the world, tea has taken its root in almost all major civilizations and formed diverse cultures when meeting and melting with local features. In ICF one can have a glimpse of tea cultures in different countries.

It remains a controversy over the time when Chinese people started to plant and drink tea, but it is certain that tea has been prevailing in China ever since the Spring and Autumn period (770 B.C. ~ 476 B.C.). The long history has seen the emergence of a myriad of tea species and processing methods, particularly in the southern part of China where the damp climate is suitable for the growth of tea bush. In the ICF, three world-renowned Chinese tea species, i.e. Pu’er tea, green tea and white tea, were displayed. The Pu’er tea, a specialty of China’s southwestern province of Yunnan, is famous for its mellow, brown soup stemming from long-term fermentation. The white tea and the green tea are non-fermented ones with clear, light soup but have slight deviation in tastes, which was resulted from the important step, tea fixation, in the whole process. The traditional Chinese way of tea-preparing was also exhibited on the ICF booth.

The Chinese tea and tea pot displayed in ICF: the Pu’er tea, the green tea and the white tea (from left to right).

The black tea is one of the most popular among all kinds of tea and has been a key element in many cultures, including the UK, Turkey and India. It gains its reputation from the unique fragrance and pure flavor, and it adapts to almost all kinds of dishes worldwide. Different from their Chinese counterparts, who typically brew tea in a small pot, people from other countries are more accustomed to boil the tea leaves. For example, the Turkish will boil concentrated tea soup and dilute or add sugar into it based on their personal needs. Students from the UK presented in ICF the “British milk tea”, a mixture of milk and black tea which became an instant hit among on-lookers.

The Turkish black tea

Cinnamon is a beloved spice that makes drinking tea even more enjoyable. Adding this woody spice to hot water creates a tea that is sweetly aromatic and delectably spiced. Cinnamon tea is not only delicious, but also good for health. Cinnamon tea has been used to accelerate weight loss, improve immunity, and prevent chronic disease.

The Canadian cinnamon tea

In DPRK where winter is bitterly cold, the insam tea serves as an effective kind of beverage against the freezing weather. The herb and insam can nourish human body in many aspects, thus enabling people to endure the chilly days. Other kinds of herbs, which are proved to be beneficial to health, are also grinded and then mixed with tea powder as supplements.

The insam tea from the DPRK

On the ICF stage, Malaysian students gave a special performance of making teh tarik (pulled tea). Teh Tarik is a rich and creamy tea from Malaysia that is gaining popularity all over the world. The tea is skillfully poured from one jug to another to create the magical froth on the top.

Apart from the booths, the ICF stage witnessed a special performance of making teh tarik (pulled tea) given by Malaysian students. Teh Tarik is a rich and creamy tea from Malaysia that is gaining popularity all over the world. The tea is skillfully poured from one jug to another to create the magical froth on the top.

A special performance of making teh tarik

Reported by: Bai Qingwen
Photo credit to: Liu Zhijun
Edited by: Huang Weijian

References: China Medical Information Platform (
                     Wikipedia (English)
                     Puercn (