First tea trip to China and it’s hard to believe this was way back in 2009. In the spirit of firsts, Maliandao, Beijing’s tea road, was on the agenda. Upon arriving, it was hard not to become carried away, after all this was more than a road, it was a city. Building upon building is dedicated to production, packing, distributing, and selling of tea and tea ware. For some reason unbeknownst to me, my mother and I were able to settle on two. The first one we ended up purchasing some yixing teapots, Chinese style tea sets, a magnificent tea tray that Chariteas is still using today, and a serving set.
At the second shop and after tasting and spending an hour deciding which items to purchase I began the process of bargaining for the right price. It was a fun, engaging experience.
On our way out, we went into a teashop with fabulous looking green teas. The freshest teas available on the market were green teas. We sat down at the tea table and they brought out samples, brewed some, and we began the process of tasting and sampling tea the Chinese way.
First part of the process was to bring out the leaves, examine them and smell them. Then they cleaned the brewing vessel and cups with hot water. Next they put a little bit of the leaves in the brewing vessel, poured hot water over it and used the lid to stir the tea in the water. After a few minutes they poured the tea into a small clear teapot and served the tea into our little cups. If we drank all of the tea in our cups they would actually pour more. The process then repeated itself with every different tea we tried. After having about 12 different cups of tea and swimming in tea, it was time to call it a day.
My mom and I traveled to Hangzhou—the place where the famous Longjing green tea is from. Once arriving at the airport we met our guide Ruiya. She took us to our hotel to get settled. After she took us to the West Lake, we walked around and then had dinner. The food was very good! I especially liked the bamboo shoots.
After eating we went to a traditional tea house. You order your tea and then they have a buffet filled with fruit, savory appetizers, pumpkin seeds and ice cream to choose from. You could seriously sit there all day and it’s a set price. The tea I had was an herbal flower tea. It was quite sweet and floral. After that was bedtime. Yaaawwwn...