To the Teochew people, tea is treated like the exilir of life.
Traditionally, most Teochew cannot do without tea even for a day. They drink (“Lim” in Teochew dialect) tea throughout the day and many of them often substitute drinking water with drinking tea.
Teochew or Chaozhou style of brewing tea is one of the most sophisticated way of brewing tea. It looks awfully simple but the understanding and techniques really take a lifetime to learn. I set up a brewing station at home specifically just to train myself to brew tea in Chaozhou style but after many many years, I think I am still a novice apprentice.
While most of the tea connoisseurs refer to tea consumption as drinking (“Lim”) tea, the Teochew would normally say eat (“Chiak” in Teochew dialect) tea instead. This term of eating tea suggest a higher level of tea appreciation. So when we meet a Teochew, or a tea friend whom we usually enjoy tea at a higher level with, we should say eat tea rather than drink tea i.e. “Chiak Teh” rather than “Lim Teh”
So…“Lai Chiak Teh” ~~ “Come, Let’s Eat Tea”
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