Gathering Around the Stove to Brew Tea: Savoring Another Wonderful Taste

Friday, June 28, 2024

Do you enjoy drinking tea? Perhaps you are not accustomed to the bitterness of tea, but you can try pairing it with some snacks and you may discover another delightful taste! Brewing tea is not just a simple preparation process; it is also a serene and soothing experience. In China, people would roast some tea snacks while brewing tea, allowing the fragrant tea aroma to mix with the sweet flavors of the snacks, creating a pleasant moment. In fact, this practice continues the centuries-old culture of 'gathering around the stove to brew tea', and this article will introduce you to this elegant and fascinating cultural heritage!

Long ago in China, especially during winter, sitting around a stove was not only about keeping warm but also a cozy scene for family and friends to gather. Without modern heating and appliances, a stove 火炉 (huǒ lú) fire became the center of the home, naturally bringing people together to share stories and deepen their emotional connections.

火炉 (huǒ lú), noun, stove

Examples:

  1. You can try boiling tea on the stove.
    你可以尝试用火炉煮茶。
    nǐ ké yǐ chánɡ shì yònɡ huǒ lú zhǔ chá 。
  2. The room is heated by the stove.
    这房间用火炉取暖。
    zhè fánɡ jiān yònɡ huǒ lú qú nuǎn 。  

Brewing tea evolved as a form of living art in such an environment. Unlike simple steeping, tea brewing emphasizes the process and atmosphere. Slowly cooking specific tea leaves over a gentle flame, with the tea aroma rising gradually with steam filling the space, can evoke profound relaxation and pleasure. If you are interested in gathering around the stove to brew tea, below are some specific methods for you:

How to Choose Tea Leaves?

  • Aged white tea, the longer it is stored, the richer and mellower its taste becomes, offering a non-bitter and wonderful flavor when brewed.
    Aged Pu'er tea, especially ripe Pu'er, with its gentle character, its flavor becomes more outstanding after brewing.
  • Black tea, such as Dian Hong and Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, brewed tea has a sweet and smooth taste, particularly moisturizing, and can be mixed with milk to create a warm milk tea.
  • Dark tea, like Anhua Dark Tea, naturally suited for brewing, with its concentrated tea soup akin to the deep and full friendship of old friends.

Some varieties of Oolong tea, especially those with strong aroma and thick texture, such as rock tea, are suitable for brewing, providing a unique tea tasting experience.

While gathering around the stove to brew tea, adding some sweet tea treats can balance the slight bitterness of tea, add fun to tea tasting, and make the process more enjoyable. Here are some delicious tea treat suggestions that will surely make your tea gathering warm and flavorful:

Handcrafted Pastries 糕点 (ɡāo diǎn)

糕点 (ɡāo diǎn), noun, pastry 

Examples:

  1. I like to eat traditional pastries.
    我喜欢吃传统糕点。
    wǒ xǐ huɑn chī chuán tǒnɡ ɡāo diǎn 。
  2. This pastry is so light.
    这种酥皮糕点可真松软啊。
    zhè zhǒnɡ sū pí ɡāo diǎn kě zhēn sōnɡ ruǎn ā 。 

Try soft red bean cakes if you prefer something soft; walnut pastries are a good choice for a crispy texture; classic almond cakes have just the right amount of sweetness, perfect with tea, each bite full of joy.

Nuts and Dried Fruits

Roasted walnuts, almonds, and cashews, with honey-coated figs and persimmons, where natural sweetness complements the strong tea aroma, both healthy and satisfying the sweet tooth.

Honey Pear Slices

Cut a pear in half, remove the core, brush with honey, and slowly roast until golden brown. This dessert is nourishing and soothing, paired with hot tea, creating a warm and comforting feeling in both mind and body.

Stove-Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Corn

Simple and hearty, oven-roasted sweet potatoes and corn are naturally sweet, not only filling but also reminding you of the joyful times gathered around the stove in childhood."

With the passage of time, the ancient tradition of gathering around the stove to brew tea has transcended epochs and now shines with a blend of both retro and trendy styles, rekindling its charm in modern life. In the fast-paced moments, people seek peace of mind through gathering around the stove to brew tea, rediscovering the simple and sincere moments spent with family and friends. Whether in the tranquil tea houses of cities or the quiet courtyards of villages, this activity is a beautiful way to pursue a slow-paced life and immerse in traditional culture. If you have the opportunity, why not experience this long-standing and precious cultural tradition yourself, and feel the warmth and sweetness of gathering around the stove to brew tea.

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