Skip to main content

China Studies: Chinese Tea and Tea Culture

Provides a starting point for China Studies, including resources to find books, articles, etc.


China has a long history with tea. The discovery of tea plants was credited to Shennong (literally “Divine Farmer”),  a legendary ruler who experimented with many hundreds of herbs. As described in Shennong ben cao jing ("Shennong's Material Medica"), tea was first used as a drug as young tea leaves had the ability to relieve the symptoms of poisoning and reduce the need for sleep. Later with wide cultivation of tea plants, serving tea gradually became a common way of greeting guests, tea culture blossoms. Making and enjoying tea has frequently appeared in literati’ works. Lu Yu's (729-804) Cha jing ("The Classic of Tea"), is the first comprehensive book on tea in the world. In the Song dynasty, caked tea was the main form to be enjoyed. However, loose-leaf tea started to gain popularity and had become the most popular form since the Ming dynasty. Today, the custom of preparing and drinking tea remains an essential part of daily and social lives of Chinese people.   

The Library collects many materials on Chinese tea and its related subject areas. To assist you finding books of your interest, some titles have been selected and divided into four categories below: general works of Chinese tea and tea culture, Chinese tea ceremony and teawares, Chinese tea trade, and reference works

Blofeld, John. The Chinese art of tea. Boston: Shambhala, 1985.
Wang, Jian. All the tea in China: history, methods and musings. New York: Better Link Press, 2013. 

Chinese Tea: History, Philosophy and Culture

Blofeld, John. The Chinese art of tea. Boston: Shambhala, 1985. Hamilton, GT2907.C6 B58 1985.

Kit, Chow and Ione, Kramer. All the tea in China. San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals, 1990. UH Manoa: Hamilton Asia, TX415 .C45 1990

Gang, Fu. Cha wen hua. Beijing: Zhongguo jing ji chu ban shi, 1995. [冈夫. 茶文化. 北京: 中国经济出版社, 1995.]  Hamilton East, GT2907 .C6 K36 1995

Liao, Baoxiu. Cha yun ming shi: Gu gong cha hua. Gu gong wen wu yue kan selections. Taipei: Guo li gu gong bo wu yuan, 2010. [廖寶秀.茶韻茗事: 故宮茶話.故宮文物月刊. 臺北市: 國立故宮博物院, 2010]  Hamilton East Folio, GT2907.C6 L533 2010

Towler, Solala. Cha dao : the way of tea, tea as a way of life. London ; Philadephia : Singing Dragon, ©2010. All UH Libraries: Ebsco Public Library E-books (log in for full text)

Yang kunning. Zhongguo cha wen hua yi shu lun. Kunming: Yunnan jiao yu chu ban she, 2006. [杨昆宁.中国茶文化艺术论.昆明: 云南教育出版社, 2006.]  Hamilton East, GT2907.C6 Y364 2006

Zhongguo cha ye bo wu guan. Tu shuo Zhongguo cha yi: Zhongguo cha ye bo wu guan cha yi ji jin. Hangzhou: Zhejiang she ying chu ban she, 2005. [中国茶叶博物馆. 图说中国茶艺: 中国茶叶博物馆茶艺集锦. 杭州: 浙江摄影出版社, 2005.]  Hamilton East, GT2907.C6 T82 2005


Evans, John C. Tea in China: the history of China's national drink. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992. Hamilton Asia, GT2907.C6 E93 1992

Peltier, Warren V. The ancient art of tea : discover happiness and contentment in a perfect cup of teaTokyo ; Rutland, Vt. : Tuttle Pub., c2011. 

Fan, Zengping. Cha ye xiao shi. Taibei: Wan juan lou tu shu you xian gong si, 2000. [范增平. 茶葉小史. 台北: 萬卷樓圖書有限公司, 2000.]  Hamilton East, GT2907.C6 F4649 2000

Liao, Jianzhi. Ming dai cha jiu wen hua zhi yan jiu. Taibei Shi: Wan juan lou tu shu gu fen you xian gong si, 2005. [廖建智. 明代茶酒文化之研究. 台北市: 萬卷樓圖書股份有限公司, 2005.]  Hamilton East, GT2907.C6 L53 2005

Shen, Dongmei. Cha yu Song dai she hui sheng huo. Beijing: Zhongguo she hui ke xue chu ban she, 2007. [沈冬梅. 茶与宋代社会生活. 北京: 中国社会科学出版社, 2007.]  Hamilton East, GT2907.C6 S46 2007

Wang, Jian. All the tea in China: history, methods and musings. New York: Better Link Press, 2013.  Hamilton Asia, GT2907.C6 W36 2013 

Zhu, Zizhen. Cha shi chu tan. Beijing: Zhongguo nong ye chu ban she, 1996. [朱自振. 茶史初探. 北京: 中国农业出版社, 1996.]  Hamilton East, GT2907 .C6 C4758 1996

Chinese Tea Ceremony & Teawares

Bian, Weng. Zhongguo dang dai zi sha jian shang. Beijing: Lan tian chu ban she, 2003. [扁翁. 中国当代紫砂鉴赏. 北京: 蓝天出版社, 2003.]  Hamilton East, NK4367.I35 B536 2003

Li, Haocheng. Tan cha shuo ci. Taibei Xian Xindian Shi: Chang chuan shu shu fang, 1982. [李浩成. 談茶說瓷. 臺北縣新店市: 常春樹書坊, 1982.]  Hamilton East, GT2907.C6 T35 1982

Luo, Wenhua. Qu tan Zhongguo cha ju. Tianjin Shi : Bai hua wen yi chu ban she, 2005. [罗文华. 趣谈中国茶具. 天津市 : 百花文艺出版社, 2005.]  Hamilton East TX657.T43 L86 2005 

Ma, Jiashan. Wu feng he dong : jing can Zhongguo chao dao zhi yun. Beijing Shi : Beijing da xue chu ban she, 2014. [马嘉善. 无风荷动 : 静参中国茶道之韵.  北京市 : 北京大学出版社, 2014.] Hamilton East GT2907.C6 L464 2013

Ma, Weibing. Fa men si Tang dai di gong gong ting cha ju. Beijing: Chang cheng chu ban she, 2003. [马卫兵. 法门寺唐代地宮宮廷茶具. 北京 : 长城出版社,2003.]  Hamilton East, NK8459.T43 M3 2003

Mao, I-hisan. Chʻa chü tʻu tsan. [1936] Hamilton East NK2740.H73 1936.

Reid, Daniel P. The art and alchemy of Chinese tea. London ; Philadelphia : Singing Dragon, 2011. Hamilton Asia GT2907.C6 R45 2011

Wang, Qiumo. Zhongguo lao cha ju dian cang tu jian. Beijing: Zhongguo qing gong ye chu ban she, 2007. [王秋墨. 中国老茶具典藏图鉴. 北京: 中国轻工业出版社, 2007.]  Hamilton East, NK4165 .Z46 2007

Yun, Ling. Tao of Chinese tea : a cultural and practical guide. Pleasantville, N.Y. : Reader's Digest Association, c2009. Leeward CC: General Collection GT2907.C6 Y855 2009

Zhang, Tiejun. Ch'a hsueh man hua. [1980]. Hamilton East GT2907.C6 C44

Zhongguo cha ye bow u guan, ed. Zhongguo cha ju bai ke. Jinan Shi : Shandong ke ji chu ban she, 2008. [中国茶叶博物馆 ed. 中国茶具百科. 济南市: 山东科学技术出版社, 2008.] Hamilton East Reference GT2907.C6 Z46 2008

Zhongguo li shi bow u guan. Zhongguo gu dai cha ju zhan: 15.12.94-14.3.95. Xianggang: Shi zheng ju, 1994. [中國歷史博物館. 中國古代茶具展 : 15.12.94-14.3.95. 香港: 市政局, 1994.]  Hamilton East, NK4695 .T43 C56 1994

Chinese Tea Trade

Chu, T. H.Tea trade in central China. Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, limited, 1936. UH Manoa: Hamilton, HD9198.C5 C5

Kensetsu Shiryō Seibi Iinkai. Shina chagyō no keizaiteki kōsatsu. Nankin : Chūshi Kensetsu Shiryō Seibi Jimusho Henyakubu, Shōwa 15 [1940] Hamilton East HD9198.C5 S36

Etherington, Dan M. & Forster, Keith. Green gold : the political economy of China's post-1949 tea industry.
Hong Kong ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1993. Hamilton Asia HD9198.C5 E85 1993

Liu, Yong. The Dutch East India Company's tea trade with China, 1757-1781. Boston: Brill, 2007. UH Manoa: Hamilton Asia, HD9198.N44 N435 2007

Lyons, Thomas P. China maritime customs and China's trade statistics, 1859-1948. NY: Willow Creek of Trumansburg, 2003. UH Manoa: Hamilton Asia, HJ7071 .L96 2003

Smith, Paul J. Taxing heaven's storehouse: horses, bureaucrats, and the destruction of the Sichuan tea industry, 1074-1224. Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1991.  Hamilton Asia, HD9198.C5 S64 1991

Torgashev, Boris Pavlovich. China as a tea producer; areas of cultivatin, methods of planting and manufacture, export trade, production and consumption, both in China and abroad, by Boris P. Torgasheff ... with fifty-nine statistical tables. Shanghai : The Commercial press, 1926. Hamilton (2nd floor) HD9198.C5 T6

Zhong yang yin hang. Jing ji yan jiu chu. Hua chʻa tui wai mao i chih hui ku yü chʻien chan. [1935] Hamilton East HD9198.C5 C55

Zhuang, Wanfang. Chung-kuo ti chʻa ye. Shang-hai : Yung hsiang yin shu kuan, 1953. Hamilton East HD9198.C52 C83


Tea fortunes / a Firefret production for Channel Four. [Honolulu, Hawaii] : [Wong Audiovisual Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa], [2016]


Reference Books

Chen Zongmao ed. Zhongguo cha ye da ci dian. Beijing : Zhongguo qing gong ye chu ban she, 2000.  [陈宗懋主编中国茶叶大辞典.  北京 : 中国轻工业出版社, 2000.]  Hamilton East Reference Folio SB272.C5 Z468 2000 

 Xu, Xianyao. Zhongguo cha shu ti yao. Taibei Shi: Bo yuan chu ban you xian gong si, 1990. [許賢瑤. 中國茶書提要. 臺北市: 博遠出版有限公司, 1990.]  Hamilton East Z5074.T4 C46 1990

Xu, Hairong, ed.  Zhongguo cha shi da dianBeijing : Hua xia chu ban she, 2000. [徐海荣 ed. 中国茶事大典. 北京 : 华夏 出版社, 2000.] Hamilton East Reference GT2907.C6 Z47 2000

Zhu, Shiying ed. Zhongguo cha wen hua da ci dian. Shanghai: Han yu da ci dian chu ban she, 1992. [朱世英 ed. 中国茶文化大辞典. 上海: 汉语大词典出版社, 2002.] Hamilton East Reference GT2907.C6 Z58 2002