Monday, 9 August 2010


The “Tea Fight” custom, according to research, originated in Jian’an County, Fujian Province, where White Tea is harvested. In those days, when fresh tea had been picked and processed in late spring, each tea farmer would bring out his crop to fight for the honor of presenting his own tea to the emperor as a tribute. Later, the convention was borrowed and carried forward by the tea’s customers, including plain intellectuals, courtier officials, and even the emperors. When having a get-together, they were all fond of the competition to make good tea, and this tradition came to be called “tea fights”.


Found this while searching for something else I heard on Harry Shearer's Le Show (coming soon), in which people who started out sharing tea got into an argument until it escalated into gunplay. But instead, I'll start with the 'tea fight' that I mentioned above.

Sounds like such a civilised fight, doesn't it? We all want to present our tea to the emperor, so we get together and duel it out for the opportunity. But there's nothing violent about it at all. The one with the best tea, serves it to the ruler. Now you're probably thinking that it might get dangerous when one tea is chosen over another. Someone who really believes his tea is superior gets bent out of shape by the results.

No need to worry. These are people who are dueling teas remember? They've all had multiple sips of tea possibly passed around in communal cups. Can you really see violence breaking out in this scenario? Really? I can't.

In the Panjwai district west of Kandahar, the regional Governor and the police chief had an altercation in which the governor was hit by the chief. But with his fists? A club? No and no. A tea kettle was his weapon of choice. The Governor responded by hitting the Chief on the head with a teacup. At the end of it their guards were shooting at each other. (from the Washington Post by way of Le Show)

Now that's what I call a teafight.


  1. Exciting stuff! Tea is suppose to induce a sense of calm though. A bit unproductive if you ask me!

  2. But how did they decide which tea was the best?

  3. I love my tea but have no intention of getting into a fight over it except, maybe, in a cyber kind of way on twitter!

  4. You know Ice, that was exactly my question. Who decides who wins the teafight for the opportunity to serve one's tea to the emperor?

    Great question.