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The Arbor Teas Blog

Your Guide to Chinese Tea Terminology!

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In many of our previous posts, and throughout our website, we've taken pains to define various tea terms. Occasionally, we've also tried to convey the proper pronunciation of key tea terminology, but now we're taking it to a whole new level!  With each installment in this new series, we're going to give you a brief lesson on the correct pronunciation of basic tea terms in the tongue of tea's motherland, Mandarin Chinese!

Many of you may already know this, but the Chinese language relies heavily on tonality.  If the tone of a word is incorrect, it could be unintelligible to a Chinese speaker or its meaning could be dramatically altered.  With this in mind, we've done our best to guide you down the path to perfect pronunciation of Chinese tea terms!  For our first installment, we’ll start with the basics: "tea"!

Meaning: This is the character that signifies the general term for “tea.”  This is the most important character you will learn, because all the other characters will often build off this one.

Pronunciation: This character is pronounced “chá” with a rising tone.  This rising tone is akin to the change in pitch that occurs at the end of a sentence when we ask a question in English.  Simply, your pitch starts low and gets higher at the end of the word.

Okay, now give it a try, and get ready for our next installment, " green tea"!