All things Chinese tea, food and culture.

Hello Tea Cup

Hello Tea Cup

An authentic magazine about all things tea, food and Chinese culture.

Recent Tea Posts

Tie Guan Yin Production: How Is Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea Made?

Tie Guan Yin Production: How Is Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea Made?

Tie Guan Yin (铁观音, literally translated as “Iron Goddess”) is an excellent variety of oolong tea. With a fermentation degree between 50-70%, it combines the fresh scent of green tea and the mellowness of black tea.   Tie Guan Yin can be divided into Spring, Summer, […]

Tea Market Flooded by Typhoon Mangkhut: Guangzhou Fangcun

Tea Market Flooded by Typhoon Mangkhut: Guangzhou Fangcun

On the 18th of September, Guangzhou’s Fangcun tea market, was completely ruined by typhoon Mangkhut. This is really big deal for tea shop owners who’ve a huge part of their wealth in pu erh tea. On September 16th, between 19:00 and 20:00, the water level […]

The ‘Gong Dao Bei’ (Fairness Pitcher) Was Originally Made for Liquor

The ‘Gong Dao Bei’ (Fairness Pitcher) Was Originally Made for Liquor

When we prepare tea the ceremonial way, a tea pitcher is a must. This pitcher is also known as ‘Gong Dao Bei’ (fairness cup). In modern times, this tool makes sure the tea flavor is distributed evenly among each served cup.

What even long-time tea lovers don’t know is that the Gong Dao Bei, was also the name of a special kind of cup for liquor in ancient China. It’s a completely different cup! Yet, ‘fairness’ is still the theme behind it.

dragon head cup gong dao bei

The Design: Dragon Head Cup

The design of the liquor Gong Dao Bei is unique. It’s also called the “Dragon Head Cup”, because there is a porcelain dragon head along with the neck attached at the inner bottom of the cup. There is a small 3mm hole at the inner bottom of the cup where the dragon neck is attached. There is also another small hole at the outer bottom of the cup.

When filling the cup with liquid, while the liquid level is lower than a mark on the neck of the dragon (which is about 70% full), the liquid stays in the cup. If the liquid level is higher than the mark, the liquid will leak to the bottom of the cup. Isn’t it amazing? Learn in the next chapter how this works.

The Principle Behind the Gong Dao Bei

Left: liquid stays in the cup when the liquid level is below the top of the inverted U-tube. Right: siphoning occurs when liquid level is above the top of the inverted U-tube and liquid drains.

There is an upside-down U-shaped tube hidden inside the neck of the dragon. The two holes of the Gong Dao Bei are the two ends of the U-shaped tube. The mark in the middle of the dragon neck (a tiny black dot) shows the level of the top of the tube. The inner hole is the end of the short end of the tube, and the outer hole is the long end of the tube.

When the liquid in the cup is at the same level or below the mark, nothing happens. When the liquid level exceeds the mark, which means the surface is over the top of the inverted U-shaped tube, it generates pressure and the siphoning occurs.

The small hole in the top of the cup enters the U-shaped tube and then the liquid enters the inner hole of the cup into the tube and drains out of the outer hole. The liquid will drain into a hollow cup holder below the Gong Dao Bei to avoid a mess.

Ming Dynasty emperor Zhu Yuanzhang loved this cup, learn why in the next chapter!

Story of the Origin of the Gong Dao Bei

The founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty Zhu Yuanzhang appointed the government to open the Royal Kiln in the porcelain capital of China – Jingdezhen, specializing in the manufacture of porcelain for the royal palace. Any porcelain artist that was selected to work for the Royal Kiln was highly skilled. Needless to say, the production level of the royal porcelain was topnotch. Lots of exquisite pieces were designed and made there and then. This Gong Dao Bei was one of them.

As a man born in poverty, Zhu Yuanzhang established the Ming Dynasty with great leadership and the help of his loyal followers.

One day, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang hosted a banquet for those who aided him in forming the dynasty. During the banquet, he took out a porcelain cup and said to everyone: “You and I fought on the battlefields all over China and made the country united today. You must know your contributions. The amount of the drink I am pouring in the cup matches your own contribution. You can decide how much alcohol you deserve to drink.”

General Xu Da was the first to be served. Xu Da loved to drink, and he felt complacent about what he contributed in the past. He asked Zhu Yuanzhang to fill the cup full to the brim. To his surprise, the drink leaked out completely when he picked up the cup. Everyone else was puzzled too.

Without explanation, Zhu Yuanzhang took general Xu Da and everyone else’ cup that leaked without any explanation. Everyone enjoyed the fine drink as long as they didn’t ask Zhu to fill the cup completely.

Then emperor said: “The ancients taught us: we can always benefit from modesty and introspection; complacency with one’s achievements will bring losses and disasters.

This is the “fairness cup” i received from the Royal kiln in Jingdezhen. Why is it fair? Because the greedy people have no drink whilst the non-greedy ones enjoy it.” Moderation is a key to contentment. Lesson learned!

18 Styles Of Man Sheng Yixing Teapots ‘Man Sheng Shi Ba Shi’

18 Styles Of Man Sheng Yixing Teapots ‘Man Sheng Shi Ba Shi’

The 18 types of Man Sheng teapots were designed by painter and seal engraver during the Qing Dynasty – Chen Hong Shou (1768-1830), and handcrafted by Yixing zisha (purple clay) craft master Yang Peng Nian. Chen Hong Shou styled himself as “Man Sheng”(曼生), hence the title “Man Sheng teapots”. Meeting Yang Peng Nian In the era […]

Grapefruit Iced Green Tea Recipe

Grapefruit Iced Green Tea Recipe

Summer is the best season to enjoy the freshness of green tea with the flavor of sweet and bitter grapefruit. And the good news is, everyone can do it. Here’s what you’ll need for two glasses of grapefruit iced green tea: 10 g of green […]

Best Strawberry Iced Tea Recipe with Sea Salt Cheese Foam

Best Strawberry Iced Tea Recipe with Sea Salt Cheese Foam

Ever tried combining strawberry with cheese flavors? Well here’s the new trend from Asia: a strawberry iced tea with a creamy layer of cheese foam. Words can’t explain how fantastic it is, you’ve got to follow the steps below and try!


Here’s what you’ll need for two servings

  • 10 g of Tie Guan Yin oolong tea
  • Fine sugar
  • 30 ml of milk
  • 100 ml of whipping cream
  • 20g of cream cheese
  • 100g of strawberries
  • Sea salt


  1. Put oolong tea in the pot and boil on the stove with 600 ml of water for 10 minutes. Then strain out the tea, and discard the tea leaves.
  2. Add the sugar and stir until it’s fully dissolved. Let it cool down then let it chill in the refrigerator.
  3. Chop and blend the strawberries with chilled tea and pour it in a glass.
  4. For the cheese foam on top: bring cream cheese to room temperature, add in fine sugar and sea salt to taste, stir till it’s smooth. Add in whipping cream and milk, whip the mixture till it becomes foamy.
  5. Gently add the topping mixture over the glass of strawberry black tea. Now it’s time to enjoy!
Summer Cooling Tea Recipes

Summer Cooling Tea Recipes

One of the best things about summer is sipping a refreshing drink on a relaxing afternoon. It’s even better when the drink is tasty, healthy and homemade! Now we have 2 summer-ready tea recipes that guarantee to cool you down. Cold-Brewed White Tea Recipe White tea undergoes […]

Fried Tea Leaves? Yes, Here Are 2 Recipes

Fried Tea Leaves? Yes, Here Are 2 Recipes

Fried tea leaves? Oh yes, it exists! It is trendy to add tea into food these days, such as the dish tea-scented chicken we introduced recently. Both brewed and fresh tea leaves can be used to make fried tea leaves. There are basically two ways of making it. […]

DIY Iced Peach Jasmine Green Tea Recipe for This Summer!

DIY Iced Peach Jasmine Green Tea Recipe for This Summer!

Celebrate the wonderful summer with a refreshing glass of iced tea. Forget the sugar-loaded ice tea packs from the supermarket. Instead go for this highly nutritious and anti-oxidant rich jasmine tea recipe flavored with fresh peaches and natural agave syrup.

Experience this amazing taste as a result of perfect synergies between the ingredients used. The flavor of peaches are highly compatible with the base green tea taste. Its somewhat thick juices also give the iced tea an excellent body.

The agave syrup has a somewhat more neutral taste relative to honey, and it’s light flavor perfectly matches the fresh and flowery taste of jasmine tea. The colour of the syrup also give the tea a somewhat more warm and beautiful looking colour.

iced jasmine green tea recipe


To make 4 glasses of this jasmine tea, you’ll require the following:

jasmine tea agave syrup recipe

Here we go

Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, please follow the following easy steps:

  1. Boil hot water and let it cool down for 3 minutes.
  2. Add 10 gram of jasmine green tea in a large teapot and pour the water in the teapot. Now let it steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the tea in a large container such as large soft drink bottle and let it cool down in room temperature for 4 hours.
  4. Now store the tea in the fridge for at least another 4 hours until it’s fully cooled. Make sure the bottle is closed so that the tea doesn’t absorb any scents from your fridge.
  5. Peel and slice the peaches in flat pieces.
  6. Serve the tea in with ice cubes and sliced peaches in 4 glasses. Sweeten the tea with agave syrup as according to taste.

We hope you like recipe. Please share your comments below if you’ve tried this recipe.


Is Tea Acidic? Factors Affecting PH Level in Tea

Is Tea Acidic? Factors Affecting PH Level in Tea

The PH level of tea is important for those who suffer from heartburn and acid refluxes. In such a cause it’s important to understand what affects the acidity level of tea. Tea like other foods and beverages have an acidity level. Unless your doctor told […]