Learn Mandarin Series: Eat tea or drink tea?

08 Sep Learn Mandarin Series: Eat tea or drink tea?

Learn Mandarin Series: Eat tea or drink tea?

Learn Mandarin

Today, in our Learn Mandarin Series, we ask: Are we eating tea, or drinking tea? Which is the more appropriate way of saying in the Chinese language?

茶(chá ), or what we know as tea, originated from Sichuan, China. It was recorded first to be taken as a sort of Chinese medicine, because it has many nutritional benefits.

Many years later, tea was appreciated more as a cooling drink to freshen you up, coupled with its nice aroma. It was only planted and drunk in Sichuan province until Emperor Qin Shi Huang united China.

As time flies, the way tea is drunk changed. In the Tang and Song Dynasties, the way to boil tea was to ground it and make it into a tea ball and then mix it with spring onion, ginger, orange peel, mint and salt before boiling it.

It was called 吃茶(chi chá , or ‘eat’ tea, as its texture was more like paste than liquid.

Nowadays, Hakka and Southern Chinese still keep the tradition of eating tea by making green tea into 擂茶 (lèi chá), or ‘thunder’ tea. In 805, Japanese brought the tea seeds from China back to Japan and the history of tea drinking in Japan started since. In the 17th Century, Chinese tea was transported to Indonesia, India and Europe and became a world-wide drink.

Today we will learn some useful phrases related to 茶(chá

你喝什么茶?nǐ hē shén me chá?What tea do you drink?

红茶 hóng chá black tea. Note that 红 hóng, however, is red in Chinese.

绿茶 lǜ chá green tea.

花茶 huā chá flower tea

Let’s also learn some basic tea drinks to order in coffee shops in Singapore.

  • teh oh = hot tea (without milk, sweetened)
  • teh oh beng = iced tea (without milk, sweetened)
  • teh oh kosong = hot tea (without milk, unsweetened)
  • teh oh kosong peng = iced tea (without milk, unsweetened)
  • teh = Tea with condensed milk (sweetened)
  • teh beng – iced milk tea (sweetened)
  • teh ‘c’ – hot tea with evaporated milk (sweetened)
  • teh ‘c’ kosong – hot tea with evaporated milk (unsweetened)
  • teh ‘c’ beng – iced tea with evaporated milk (sweetened)
  • tiao hee or tiao her –Chinese tea
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