Mighty Leaf News
The naming of tea is no small matter. It can tell you much about the character, nature, and origin of the tea. One of the oldest tea legends has it that in the village of Longjing, during the Qing dynasty, if you peered into the well you could see dragons circling in the water. Some say a dragon even lived in the well. I have been to 3 wells in Longjing and have yet to see any dragons. In one of the wells, you can’t even see the water. Instead, the well got the name because the water had different densities and when it swirled, it looked like there might be dragons in the water. In Chinese culture, dragons are very auspicious and symbolize long life. Seeing dragons in a well was considered a good thing—they weren’t the “eating people” kind of dragons. People try to have children born in the year of the dragon, which is the only mythical creature in the 12-year Chinese calendar cycle, just to give you an idea of how important the dragon is in Chinese culture.
After water tea is the most popular beverage consumed in the world. That may be a surprise for many living in the U.S. who only drink tea when they are sick or looking to chill out or relax. Of course, iced tea is consumed by the gallons here in the South and in refrigerated icy bottles drunk up like soda pop. But, good old fashioned hot tea reigns supreme in many parts of the world when it comes to what people drink on a daily basis.
Steeping loose leaf tea in water has not always been the dominant method of tea preparation. Prior to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in ancient China, the tea brick, compressed tea made of ground or whole tea leaves pressed into a block form using a mold, was one of the most popular forms of tea produced and consumed. People also commonly used tea bricks as currency. Today, the legacy of tea bricks lives on - you can find a variety of compressed black teas, green teas, pu-erh teas and more.