|The Song Dynasty (960=1279) carried on the refined, elegant rituals of tea drink-
ing begun during the Tang Dynasty (607-918), continuing to enjoy it as a leisure-
ly and social beverage. The complex and formal tea etiquette begun under the
Tang was also carried on, as were new rules of hospitality, preparation, and
serving of tea created as well, which now extended to guests and strangers.
These new rules of hospitality created a link between tea and being courteous
and cordial to all, which still remains part of China’s culture today.
|Under the Song Dynasty the emperor now
controlled all aspects of tea cultivation and
production, establishing new systems of
grading leaf tea and determining quality.
Only select members of a chosen class were
allowed to drink certain teas, with the
precious “tribute grade” teas from revered
mountains reserved exclusively for the
emperor.Song emperor Huizong selected Ts’ An
Hsiang as the first commissioner of tea. As
commissioner of tea it was his duty to per-
sonally supervise the collection and labeling
of all tribute teas in the first weeks of spring.
The next plucking of tender spring flush teas
|were reserved for the upper and elite social classes, while working class was allowed the larger
more course summer plucking for their daily tea.The Song preferred tea cakes with plum juice added as a sweet-
ener. But as tea drinking continued to evolve, finely powdered
tea began to replace the course leaves used to make tea cakes.
The change to powdered tea brought a new refinement to the
Song emperor, Huizong ordered the royal pottery works to create new tea drinking cups to
One of the most popular Song porcelains
During this time in tea culture
Another porcelain piece used during the Song era was a
The demand by the emperor for more strong, thin tea-
It was during the Song Dynasty that China’s teahouses be-
A variety of tea and light snacks were available and tea-
Toward the end of their era the Song began to experi-
brewing and drinking tea made with loose
brewing methods of loose tea,outside their walls something other than tea was brewing, and that was trouble…big trouble.
Held back by the harsh, impenetrable lands outside China’s borders for centuries, fierce hordes of Mongols were now
The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) headed up by Kublai Khan would control the Middle Kingdom, essentially eliminating