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Tea and Minority Groups


 Bai Ethnic Minority: Three-Course Tea

The Three-Course Tea of the Bai ethnic minority is a dramatic tea ceremony. This ceremony was originally held by the senior members of a family to express best wishes to juniors when they were going to pursue studies, learn a skill, start a business or get married. Now, to drink Three-Course Tea has become a conventional ceremony when people of the Bai ethnic minority greet guests.         

In the past, the ceremony was normally conducted by the senior family members, but now juniors can also take charge of the whole procedure and offer tea to elder members. In Three-Course Tea, the brewing techniques and materials used in each course are different from each other.

The first course of tea is called bitter tea, meaning that one will suffer a lot before she/he starts his or her career.

The second course of tea is called sweet tea. After serving the first course, the host will empty the pot and repeat the procedure right from the beginning. This time, the host will add brown sugar, a special fan-shaped dairy product, and Chinese cinnamon into the handless cup, and then pour the tea into the cup with an amount of 8/10 cup. 

The third course of tea is called aftertaste tea. The brewing procedure is the same as the previous ones, but materials added in the handless cup change to honey, popcorn, Bunge prickly ash, and walnut kernel with a water amount of 6/10 or 7/10 cup. When drinking this course of tea, one should shake the cup to mix up all those materials and then drink the tea up while it is hot. One will find flavor of sweet, sour, bitter, and pungent in the tea which reminds the taster of bitter comes first, sweet comes second. 

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