ALL THE TEA IN CHINAALL THE TEA IN CHINAImmerse yourself in the art of Chinese tea culture with Lipton's guide to hosting a tea ceremony. Find the rituals, symbolism, and etiquette behind this ancient tradition. // THE TEA IN CHINAALL THE TEA IN CHINA800800



world tea tea party china

Sipping tea in China is quite different from a brew you’d get in countries like Britain or Japan. With its own tea traditions, cultures and quirks, what could be more fun than hosting your own Chinese tea party?

Tea has been enjoyed for centuries in China. The earliest descriptions of them come from the Tang Dynasty (that’s 618–907 AD to you and me). Often known as Gong Fu ceremonies, they have become increasingly popular and highly commercialized in recent years.


Gong Fu Cha literally means ‘making tea with skill’. So be ready to sharpen yours! Create your own home tea ceremony by putting the following items on your shopping list: 

  • A small teapot

  • A larger teapot

  • A kettle

  • Teacups without handles

  • A small wooden tray

  • A wooden or porcelain spoon

  • Wooden or bamboo teacup holders

  • Your choice of tea


In Chinese tea ceremonies, it’s traditional to use loose leaf green, oolong, or black tea. And the perfect tea should always be prepared with best quality tea leaves with only the purest water. Not only will you get a great tasting cup of tea, but you’re showing respect to Mother Nature, too. 


The Chinese believe your state of mind can be very easily passed on to others, so before inviting friends over, take time to relax and think positive thoughts. The idea is that the entire party should be done in a calm and relaxed manner. That includes your tea pouring, hand movements and facial expressions.


You’ve done all your pre-planning (Zen-like state-of-mind, plus all the Chinese essentials). Now, just follow these few simple steps when your guests arrive.

  1. Put your teabags in the small teapot. Place the pot on the wooden tray.

  2. Next, line your small cups up on the tray.

  3. Boil some water and add it to your larger teapot.

  4. Pour the water from the large teapot into the smaller teapot, from a height. The tray should catch any spills, but watch out for splashes of hot water.

  5. Once your small teapot is full, immediately pour some of the hot water out into your small cups. This will warm the cups up.

  6. Pour the hot water inside the teacups back out over the small teapot. Hey presto! You’re ready to serve.


  1. First, fill the small teapot with hot water, pouring from a height. Be careful to avoid any splashes or spills.

  2. Pour tea into the small cups. Place each cup in a holder and offer it to your guests.

  3. Repeat the last two steps for each round of tea until there’s none left.

It might sound complicated at first but once you get the hang of it, it’ll seem easy. And holding a Chinese tea ceremony is a wonderful way to give thanks to friends and family. At the end of it all, you’ll have had fun doing something new. Why not try it out and treat your loved ones to a truly special tea time?