CITYLIFE / Shopping
Explore Beijing's tea street
Updated: 2007-11-27 10:37
Maliandao tea street in Xuanwu District has everything a tea lover could dream of. With tea being one of the luxury products produced domestically, it is now going through a renaissance with the burgeoning Chinese upper class. Beijingers, who once snubbed southern Chinese teas, are quickly becoming connoisseurs and buying expensive, aged pu’er brick teas and the highly valued, exclusive qingming green teas. Seeing this booming market, top producers from all over the country send spokesmen to Maliandao to open teashops. So it’s also the best place in Beijing to learn from regional experts about Chinese tea.
Maliandao can be daunting for first-timers, with its boisterous teashops selling thousands of different teas and its less-than-glamorous restrooms. But it makes for a perfect day trip for those looking for some culture and adventure. Here are a few of our favorite tea stops.
Hong Zhi Teashop
Owner Hong Zhi from Anhui province has set up one of most reputable and relaxing shops on Maliandao. His selection of Anhui teas is unbeatable and the employees here are knowledgeable on teas from all over China; a rarity as most people in the tea industry believe only tea from their home province is worth mentioning. Try their Monkey King green tea from Taiping Lake (Taiping houkui), or keemun black teas (qimen hongcha) all made in Hong Zhi’s home province, some even made on his brother’s farm.
Shi Jie Cha Teashop
Owner Lou Ping is from Wuyi Mountain, China’s most famous oolong region. Her unassuming shop at the end of Maliandao brings the best of the Wuyi Mountain rock oolongs – highly oxidized, full of minerals, and complex – to Beijing. Try the dahongpao. And since this shop is open 24 hours, there’s a selection of pu’er bricks for late night tea drinking.
Si Ji Cha Xiang Tea Ware Shop
This tea ware shop, owned by Jin Huashun, primarily exports to Korea so quality here is higher than most, with unique tea wares made from natural materials. Their imaginative gourd tea filters and bamboo scoops are favorites with tea lovers.
Geng Xiang Shi Fu Restaurant
Tea drinking should never be attempted on an empty stomach. That’s why this delicious Zhejiang restaurant makes the perfect pit stop. The owner, a pioneer in China’s organic tea movement, never uses MSG and sometimes uses organic vegetables. Guests can enjoy live shows starting at 6pm, such as traditional Chinese music or dancing tea ceremonies.