What happened: “Oven brewed tea” (围炉煮茶) is fast becoming the latest trend Slow living lifestyle trend among young Chinese consumers. As the name suggests, the activity refers to the light roasting of the tea leaves before boiling them in a pot on a charcoal-filled stove. People sit around the stove and eat snacks like fruit, nuts, and desserts with their hot tea, which can be enjoyed alone or mixed with flowers and milk.
Originally practiced by ethnic minorities In China’s remote province of Yunnan, “tea brewed in the oven” has surged in popularity on social media this fall.
There are over 40,000 posts on the topic on the Xiaohongshu app, which together have received about 12 million views. On Weibo, relevant hashtags have also garnered tens of millions of views. For example the hashtag “How wonderful it is to have tea brewed in the oven in winter” (冬日围炉煮茶有多香) has been viewed over 18 million times.
The activity has attracted young Chinese consumers through its connection with the natural environment. People usually sit in outdoor or inner courtyards with gravel floors, bonsai and flowers, and traditional Chinese decorations. Some people also post their love for tea brewed in the oven while wearing traditional attire hempu clothes in these picturesque settings.
In addition, “tea brewed in the oven” is affordable and customizable. A review of the posts in Xiaohongshu suggests that these tea services typically cost between US$28 and US$56 (RMB200 to 400).
The Jing Take: Drinking loose tea is generally considered a habit of middle-aged or elderly people in China, while young people prefer bubble tea or coffee. However, this trend represents the revival of Chinese tea culture among Chinese youth who yearn for a slower pace of life. The art of brewing tea is a time-consuming process that requires constant attention to temperature in order to “cook” it properly.
Similar to other lifestyle trends in 2022 such as glamping, To go bikingand Frisbee disk“Oven-Boiled Tea” reflects the desire of young Chinese consumers to escape the urban environment, embrace nature and practice mindfulness. As one Xiaohongshu post attests, “It’s absolutely relaxing sipping hot tea, feeling the autumn breeze, and chatting with your best friends.” Another Xiaohongshu user says she felt “peaceful as she entered the courtyard – a wonderland secluded from the busy city”.
The practice is also the latest addition to China’s “guochao,‘ or ‘National Trend’ movement, which refers to the integration of Chinese cultural elements into modern life. Slow-boil was the predominant way of brewing tea in ancient China until the faster steeping method was used became widespread during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is significant that in 2022, the old method is making a noticeable comeback in the hands of Chinese millennials and Gen-Zers.
C drama hit earlier in the summer A dream of splendor, which follows three women who transform a tea shop into a successful restaurant during the Song Dynasty, prompted many fans to emulate the desserts, clothing, and tea of the period. “Oven brewed tea” complements the fall and winter seasons and becomes a widespread lifestyle. China’s younger generations are increasingly appreciating the health benefits and spiritual solace associated with tea drinking and slow living.
Chinese tea culture could be the next focus for luxury brands striving to find new ways to connect with discerning young consumers. Some brands already offer Afternoon tea Services in partnership with five-star hotels in China. The popularity of “oven brewed tea” could inspire her to introduce a broader range of products and experiences that pay homage to the traditional Chinese way of tea and life that values patience and serenity.
The Jing Take covers one of the leading news stories and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key impacts on the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product failures and mergers to heated debates brewing on Chinese social media.