Experience Tasty Tea From Chinese Tea Leaves

By Rei Tuviera

Drinking tea had a long history in China. Chinese tea differs into four main categories, black, green, oolong and white varieties. There were more varieties that have been added such as red, compressed and scented teas. Somehow, researchers said that there could be more than 700 varieties of tea. Nonetheless, all these varieties came from the same tea plant - the Camilla plant.

The way of making Chinese tea is simple yet, is a delicate art. Tea leaves are placed into tea pots or cups and warm water or boiled water is poured over it. The leaves are soaked for several minutes in a tightly covered teapot. Hot water is also poured over the covered teapot thus retaining its heat. The leaves are then strained leaving the tea liquid behind to be served for drink.

For Chinese tea drinkers brewing is made usually by preparing utensils such as cups and teapots. Many people preferred to prepare tea in cups using instant tea or tea bag which is a lot easier. On the other hand, some preferred to brew tea using loose leaf which produce more desirable flavor than tea bags. Chinese tea like black, green, oolong and white are prepared or served differently from each other.

For Black tea, it could be brewed in either of the two ways using a Chinese tea cup or a teapot. In a cup or teapot pour the boiling water slowly over the leaves. Cover and steeped for about 3 to five minutes. This is the recommended time to steep for a perfect flavor. Anything more than that makes the tea bitter.

Conversely, brewing green tea among Chinese prefers the use of porcelain cups. In Chinese tea tradition using porcelain cups will help improve the tone of tea. During brewing, boiling water is not poured directly over the tea leaves unlike the black tea. The water is boiled first and then cooled for at most 3 minutes. Pour the water over the leaves and then infuse for about 2 to 3 minutes.

For oolong Chinese tea, it is prepared using the utensil set known as the "four treasures" that consist of kettles, teapots and cups. Tea is brewed by placing first tea leaves in teapots. Hot boiled water is then decanted over the leaves. Having the teapots tightly covered, hot water is then tipped over it to preserve the heat.

Now for white tea, pouring boiling water directly on the leaves could ruin the delicate flavor of tea. The water is boiled first and then let it sit for up to one minute. When the time is up, the water is then poured over the leaves. The recommended steeping time for most types of white tea is within 5 to 8 minutes.

Finally, brewing tea is all about the experience. Experiment and find the taste that you like best! - 30294

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Major Kinds of Chinese Tea

By Roselah Varde

Chinese tea bushes with a scientific name of Camelia Sinensis are mostly cultivated in the higlands of tropical and subtropical areas of China, where there is a perfect climate, humidy, enough sunshine and fertile soil.

Most Chinese teas are classified according to quality, processing method or locality where it is grown. The basic methods of processing Chinese tea leaves are fermentation, heating and or drying, and adding other ingredients like flowers, special herbs or fruits. Theses processes makes the unique flavor of the raw tea leaves.

Green Tea are fresh Chinese tea leaves that are not fermented. Green tea is naturally prepared through heating or drying in order to maintain its natural color and keep most of its potent substances like polyphenols and chlorophyll. Green tea is widely cultivated in almost all the regions of China and is the most well-loved in its kind. Green tea is known to contain the highest medicinal effects and the lowest caffeine.

Red Tea and Black Tea are types of Chinese tea that can be used interchangeably depending on the place of origin. Red Tea is Black tea by western classification. Red and Black Chinese teas are wholly fermented giving them the strong flavor and dark color. Compared to other Chinese teas, they have longer lasting flavors. They have the highest level of caffeine concentration. They are most commonly used in the west and northwest regions of China being known to be Weight-watchers' gospel. Black Chinese teas are known to clean up the digestive tract due to its emulsifying effect on fats and cholesterol.

Oolong Tea is green or black tea primarily because it is partially fermented. It taste more of the green tea but has smells like black tea. Oolong Chinese teas are thick to taste that's why it is a favorite among tea drinkers in southeast China and Taiwan. They are also the widely used for Kung Fu Cha. Interestingly, Oolong teas, similar to Black teas have natural substances that work great to loosen excess fats and lower cholesterol levels.

Pu-erh or Puer Teas are as Compressed Chinese teas. They are wholly fermented for several years such that they are compact, which gives compressed teas the unique earthly taste. Puer teas are compressed artistically, however it's shaped depends on the creativity of its maker. Puer Chinese tea are very common in the west and southwest regions of China. To allow continued fermentation, compressed Chinese teas should be stored openings for air at moderate temperature. Puer matures like wine, the longer are the years of fermentation, the higher is its value.

From the word, Flowered Tea, Scented teas are mainly Chinese teas added with flowers like grapefruit flower, sweet-scented osmanthus, rose, jasmine, gardenia and magnolia. Scented teas could be based with either black tea, green or oolong tea. But, there is strict rule of the levels or number of flower petals that will be included on each type of tea. As an example, green is not fermented, most of its substances are retained, oolong teas are partly fermented, such that it is good for breaking down proteins and fats, and red or black teas have been fully fermentation, so 90% of its natural elements has lost, but black tea has the highest caffeine. Jasmine is the most favorite Flower tea.

White Tea or Yellow Tea are chinese green teas which have been roasted, that's why it is colored white or yellow, depending on the roasting process. White teas have the lightest taste and aroma and it has the lowest caffeine content. Some of the favorite chinese white teas are Shou Mei, Bai Mu Dan and Yin Zhen Bai Hao. - 30294

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Himfr Reports Pork, Eggs Price Increases In China

By Christina Xia

Himfr reports that recently the prices of pork and eggs consecutive increases in the market but that would not trigger inflation.

Usually during the winter, as vegetable prices rise, consumers will increase demand for eggs, and egg prices will rise. In the current market, however, eggs prices are not rising as vegetable prices rise, which contributes to low volatility.

In mid-July, the price of eggs in the market began to rise; by August the price of eggs had risen from 156 RMB / case to 163 RMB / case, and then floated around this price range. By late August, egg prices had hit new heights: 156.5 RMB / case by August 24, 160 RMB / case by August 25, and even 170 RMB / case recently, a new high point. As of this week, egg prices had risen for five weeks, for a cumulative increase of 5.8%.

During the winter in China, North-South transport is subject to certain restrictions, which contributes to stagnant egg prices; with limited transport, farmer's will not go out of stock.

China's live hog price dropped 40 percent year on year to 9.56 RMB (1.41 U.S. dollars) per kilogram last June as a result of oversupply. The wholesale price of pork plummeted to 14 RMB per kilogram.

Due to various measures adopted by governments to combat declining price, the price picked up in the second half of 2009.

Live hog price rose to 12.36 RMB in the first week of 2010, up 29 percent compared with six months ago. The wholesale pork price grew 22 percent to 17 RMB.

Himfr predicted pork price would rise at a modest rate in recent days with the Spring Festival drawing near, which would drive up demand for pork.

But Himfr reminds consumers, in the most recent period, pork and egg price rises have happened too fast, and so egg and pork market are not stable and consumers should pay attention to observe and to avoid risks. - 30294

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The Meaning Behind New Year Activities In The East

By John Chan

You may find it complicated to calculate Chinese New Year but if you observe the traditional activities related to New Year carefully you will get to know when it is celebrated.

Most of the people have no idea as to when Chinese New Year is. For a starting it is important to know that Chinese New Year is not on January first. This occurs because Chinese follow the lunar calendar and therefore come up with a different date which is in accordance with the lunar calendar. To calculate the Chinese New Year keep your eyes open for the traditional activities that start off in China which has to do with the New Year celebrations.

It is quite amazing that Chinese have no fixed date for their New Year. In spite of such a tradition you can not overlook it as many ancient customs are revived at this time of the year. In fact the nation becomes busy with traditional activities which are there for centuries and there is a festive spirit in the air. All the activities done during this time of the year makes New Year an important festival in China and any outsider can make out that Chinese New Year has arrived.

The activity begins with the home, to be more precise, home cleaning is the first official New Year activity for all Chinese home owners. This cleaning includes a top to bottom makeover. Out with the old and in with the new. Families purchase new clothes for the celebration days and pay off any pending debts.

The New Year activities make their beginning in Chinese homes. It starts with home cleaning and clearing out the things that have no use. The Chinese people also make it a point to buy new things at this time as well as clothe. This is a time when they prefer to clear off past debts.

The home cleaning is done in a big way by doing repair on the home and may be painting the house. The people spruce themselves up for the approach of New Year by getting a hair cut.

The thorough cleaning of the house is followed by a paint job of the doors and windows. They are painted bright red in the belief that the red color is the agent of good fortune and it helps to keep the evil elements away.

Another New Year activity is decorating the entrance of the house with spring couplets. The couplets are made of paper having curls and squares with engravings done on them. The engravings have meanings such as it could be words of blessings of good luck or could be wishing for spring etc.

During the Chinese New Year the traditional signs and traditions are given importance. They all hang paper lantern in their houses as a part of the tradition. The animal of the year must get prominence and as such should be seen throughout the house. Chinese also get beautiful flowers and plants for decoration, blessing and prosperity. Narcissus and quince are a few examples of the flowers they use. - 30294

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Know Usual Forms of Payment in the Region Before You Transfer Money to China

By Beth Williams

Many people have never been to Asia, but that shouldn't prevent anyone from learning how to transfer money to China to kin in need. Even if you live thousands of miles away, you can get an idea of your options before you send any money. After all, remitting currency that your relative cannot use or selecting a dangerous or time-consuming method can ruin your plans of helping them out. Just getting to know the common forms of payment in the area can help you make the right decision.

The actual cash of China is the Renminbi Yuan, made up of 100 fen. $1 USD equals about 6.82 Yuan, though the rate changes daily. Currency exchange is typically only available in China, so most travelers and residents returning to China cannot usually find local legal tender before they enter the nation. However, one of the greatest parts about the ability to transfer money to China is that your U.S. dollars will be changed automatically to Chinese currency in most cases, depending on the service you use.

If you both have an account at a bank that exists in both regions, or perhaps both have access to the same account, you can easily transmit capital to your relatives. If you have access to their account, it is free to transfer money to China using this option, but if you use separate banking institutions, the charge is typically anywhere from $10 to $45. You should find out from your financial institution what they charge for this ability. If you are lucky, your financial institution could permit you to send the money for free to a certain financial institution in China, but you usually have to be using a particular type of account that a could cost money in itself.

Credit cards are not quite as standard in China as they are in the United States. However, most banks there do provide debit cards, such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and most branches of the Bank of China. This means that your relatives likely have decent access to ATM's. Macau, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai are especially well-known for their abundance of cash machines. Take advantage if they live in such major areas by mailing them a prepaid debit card. This allows them to withdraw funds from ATM's for a charge of approximately 10 Yuan, or use it at merchants that accept debit cards. Of course, if your family members live in smaller cities, particularly those in rural areas, you should first make sure they have access to ATMs and nearby financial institutions before taking these routes.

These are the main ways that many people decide to transfer money to China. Trying to send funds before you find out the best way for your recipients could prove to be pointless. For example, sending a prepaid debit card might be the cheapest route in many cases, but it is useless if your relatives have very little access to ATM's or merchants that accept debit cards, and thus, no way to access their money. A little knowledge about the area where they dwell can go a long way. - 30294

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Beijing Hotels as seen from the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong

By Efrenn Larson

Since time immemorial, Beijing has been home to some of the country's most prominent figures, from heads of state to entertainers. These people have succeeded in turning this once rigid city into a more open and versatile metropolis that is always open to the changes that each year brings.

Most tourists when coming to the city realize that a number of Beijing hotels are situated near famous tourist spots and shopping havens.

Most of the tourists, however, come to Beijing to experience the local sights and sounds that the city can offer. One of the famous landmarks in the city is the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. He was the Chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death.

Situated at the heart of Tiananmen Square and close to a number of fabulous hotels in Beijing, the Mausoleum replaced the Gate of China which was the Imperial City's southern gate during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The construction of the mausoleum was made right after Chairman Mao's death. Hua Guofeng, who supervised the mausoleum project, has his handwriting on the mausoleum's sign. According to an issue of China Pictorial, the Chinese people designed and built the mausoleum. In fact, materials from all over the mainland were used, including granite from Sichuan Province, porcelain plates from Guangdong Province, color pebbles from Nanjing, and even rock samples from Mount Everest. The sand and rocks were also taken from the Taiwan Strait, signifying China's dominance over the island. What's more, a mass of 700,000 people voluntarily helped to make the mausoleum.

The remains of the Great Helmsman, which Mao was famously known, are on display for public viewing. He can be seen inside a crystal coffin fitted with Xenon lamps using the latest in fiber-optic technology. With this, Mao's skin color appears closer to that of a living person and the wrinkles seem to disappear.

The locals and guests who are staying at various Beijing hotels line up for hundreds of meters for them to visit this prominent Chinese individual. Many locals pay tribute to him by offering flowers which can be rented at the north entrance. You can also buy souvenirs at the shop located at the south gate.

In death as in life, Mao Zedong still remains as an imposing figure to the Chinese people. By visiting this landmark, you will get to know more about the lives and culture of the Chinese. Since a number of hotels in Beijing can be located within a few minutes of the area, then transportation will never become a problem. That is why, we invite you with open arms to come and experience a glimpse of one of China's most revered leaders. - 30294

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Beijing Hotels on the Sidelines of the Summer Palace

By Efrenn Larson

Beijing, China's vibrant cosmopolitan and ancient capital has been home to some of the world's many wonders. You may have already heard of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, but there are still more places to see and things to do when you're in town. What's more promising is that Beijing hotels are located within considerable walking and driving distances, making them more accessible to locals and tourists alike.

In the olden times, the emperor and his court stayed inside the Forbidden City. It was there where the emperors, called 'Sons of Heaven,' made their duties. Owing to the great task that they handled, they were thus subjected to many pressures. This prompted the emperors to build the Summer Palace as a respite from everyday problems of palace life.

Literally called the 'Gardens of Nurtured Harmony,' the area is primarily dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. It covers an area of 2.9 square kilometers, three-quarters of which are water. In the Summer Palace itself, you can find a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures. Getting to this place can be made easier by working with Beijing hotels which would gladly assist you in your itinerary.

One of the most important features of the complex, the Kunming Lake was created by extending a present body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The central lake was entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill.

When emperor Wnyn Ling moved his capital to the Beijing area, he built a Gold Mountain Palace on the site of the hill. It was renamed from Gold Mountain to Jug Hill (Weng Shan) during the Yuan Dynasty. Finally, the Qianlong emperor of the Qing Dynasty gave the hill its present name.

Standing about 60 meters high, the hill holds several sequentially-positioned buildings. The front side is abundantly decorated with buildings and halls while the back is maintained in its natural beauty.

The Cloud-Dispelling Hall, the Temple of Buddhist Virtue, and the Sea of Wisdom Temple, all having religious and cultural significance, are some of the notable buildings in the hill's northern side.

The Summer Palace was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, calling it "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design." Today, it not only serves as a tourist destination but also as a recreational park.

Getting to this favorable destination is made less of a hassle since Beijing hotels are always ready to assist you in this journey. Whether you are to experience the homey rooms of the wonderful hotels in Beijing or marvel at the splendid quarters in the Summer Palace, you will definitely find this city worth remembering! - 30294

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