How is your tea different from what I can find at the store?
Most tea available in the United States is black tea, such as English Breakfast or Orange Pekoe. These teas are often low-grade, with earthy or grassy flavors that require milk, lemon, or sugar to drink. Chinese teas have lighter and cleaner flavors that do not need to be covered. At Crossings Tea, we believe that our tea is best enjoyed plain, allowing you to savor the original flavors and experience the spectacular tastes of the Three Gorges region of China.
Where is tea grown?
Tea was discovered and developed in China, but is now cultivated throughout the world. The flavor of a tea will vary depending on the terroir of the area where it is grown; local geography, climate, picking customs, and processing techniques will also have an influence.
Where is your tea from?
Our tea is grown in Wufeng County, which is located in the Yichang Diocese of Hubei Province in Central China. The remote tea fields in this region enjoy temperate weather, high elevations, sandy soil, and generations of harvesting skill. These natural conditions and longstanding traditions give rise to superb teas.
In China, our black tea is known as Yihongcha, and our green tea is known as Caihua Maojian. The jasmine tea is Caihua Maojian green tea scented and blended with jasmine blossoms.
What is the difference between black, green, and jasmine tea?
These teas are all harvested from the same bush, the camellia sinensis. Starting each spring, skilled farmers pick the best leaves and buds. The difference lies in the processing. Black tea is fully oxidized, green tea is partially oxidized, and jasmine tea is green tea scented and blended with jasmine blossoms.
Are there Catholics in China?
China has an estimated 12 million Catholics. Starting with the Western missionaries a few centuries ago, the faith gradually took root giving life to the growing Church we see today. The Yichang Diocese, where we serve, is considered one of China’s smallest.
How does Crossings Tea work in China?
At present, the Vatican and China do not have official relations; the government-led Catholic Patriotic Association is the official church body in China. Despite this division, Rome and Beijing have found ways to work together. For example, the Chinese church recognizes the spiritual authority of the papacy, and the Pope is mentioned (often by name as Pope Francis) in the Eucharistic Prayer said at Masses. Posters of Pope Francis and books on Catholicism translated into Chinese are found at many church bookstores. Some international Catholic organizations have been at work for many years in China, as the Maryknolls support religious education of Chinese priests, and the Jesuits operate The Beijing Center at a university in Beijing.
Similarly, Crossings Tea operates in full compliance with Chinese laws and policies. Our work is focused on economic development and spiritual growth. We pray for the political reunification of relations between Rome and Beijing, of which there have been some positive signs recently. While those efforts continue at higher levels, Crossings Tea serves simply as a lay mission to support Catholics at the grass roots.
Our work is located in the Yichang Diocese, which currently has a vicar general and not a bishop. The previous bishop sadly passed away of cancer at a young age in 2011. Common practice is that a vicar general is appointed to assume administration of the diocese while church procedure is followed to appoint a new bishop. This is a process that can often take years. During this transition, we work in close collaboration with the vicar general to support the work of the religious and laity in the diocese.
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