Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beijing Tea Street

"Tea Street" in Beijing

Imagine this - a bustling city street (quite long) filled with shop after shop of TEA!  That's "Tea Street" in Beijing and I could have spent a week just browsing each and every shop in great detail.   

When you enter a shop, you'll receive an initial welcome, complete with mild surprise that a Westerner has found her way there.  Shops vary, some have an English-speaking staff member and others don't.  It didn't matter much, as the gesture to sit and taste tea is universal.

This gracious tea shop owner served us a white tea.  Look at her gorgeous tea table!

I don't think anyone came home empty handed from this excursion.  In fact, most of us could have spent all of our discretionary funds in one place!  Good thing we had limited time.  I came home with some treasures to be unveiled later, along with some tea from this shop (below).  I will confess, the name is what pulled me in!

Fujian PinPinXiang Tea industry Co., Ltd

According to Mr. Wu, our National Guide, this company is well-known across China, with a good reputation. I was after a dark Wuyi oolong-style tea, and getting that communicated was quite a fun experience.  Many thanks to my fellow tea mate who had been studying Chinese.  Between her language skills and lots of trial and error, we found a nice Da Hong Pao and I came home with a bag full. 

Side note:  One of the things I learned on this trip is that Da Hong Pao, "Big Red Robe," technically refers to tea trees that are very old and very protected.  Even the lucky among us won't likely sample that nectar.  What we drink today (hopefully) when we have Da Hong Pao is tea made from tea plants that are derivatives of the original, several generations down the line.  It's more appropriately called "Small Red Robe."  Thanks to Dan for the lesson.  More info.

Da Hong Pao

A few more scenes from Tea Street...


Steph said...
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Marilyn said...

Love the name of the tea shop and your explanation of the Red Robe tea. Already I wish I could have traveled on this adventure, it is amazing.

anodyne said...

Da Hong Pao (Big or Little Robe) is the tea I come to think of as my Dark Time of the Year tea. The roasty and dried fruity flavors with floral notes and that caramelized sugar sweetness against the dark rustic base just fits the season at hand. That's the oolong I love to do as Flaming Oolong with the brown sugar cube soaked in brandy...really meshes well with the tea. Sounds like an amazing trip.

Steph said...

Thank you for sharing your insights...Anodyne, that sounds heavenly!

Teafan said...

Wow - I love that photo of the woman with all the teapots areound her!!!

Angela McRae said...

Tea Street in Beijing? New item for Bucket List!

And thanks for the information about Da Hong Pao. Most intriguing!

Rich said...

Hey Steph, great to meet you at Shiuwen's last week - hope you had a good time at the tea fest. Let me know next time you're up here and we can share a pot again!