First-time visitor to China: tea suggestions?


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First-time visitor to China: tea suggestions?

Postby dr-ivan » Aug 29th, '12, 04:16

Hello, good people!

In a couple of days I will be making my first trip to China (namely Changsha city, Hunan province). I am travelling on a business occasion, but hope to have some time left to go tea shopping. Thus my question is - are there any teas you would recommend buying on my first China visit (not necessarily just from the Hunan province)?

Thank you in advance!
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Re: First-time visitor to China: tea suggestions?

Postby iovetea » Aug 29th, '12, 15:48

you are in paradise.. try all teas you only live once...

i would say just get oolong, just get oolong tea and green tea.
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Re: First-time visitor to China: tea suggestions?

Postby Poohblah » Aug 29th, '12, 18:03

It is very difficult, particularly for foreigners, to buy worthwhile tea in China. Even when I was in Hangzhou, home of longjing, I couldn't get a decent cup of green tea. Try buying small cups or other souvenirs instead.
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Re: First-time visitor to China: tea suggestions?

Postby dr-ivan » Aug 30th, '12, 23:48

Thank you for your replies! I do hope to buy at least some tea in any case - and just hope for the best I guess. We will have a local guide though, which could perhaps help me a little...
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Re: First-time visitor to China: tea suggestions?

Postby gingkoseto » Sep 3rd, '12, 10:39

Try to have free tea tasting in small tea shops. After the tasting, if you like the service and feel obligated to buy something, spend less than 100 yuan unless you are very sure you would love the tea. If you like the service and are told all the teas are expensive, then ask to buy small samples and limit the expense within 50 or 100 yuan. You can always go back to buy more if you like the tea.

You don't have to feel obligated to buy something even after the free tastings. Many tea shops wouldn't mind it. Having somebody sitting in the shop tasting the tea would be like a window advertising and would attract more visitors, says the owner of the tea shop my aunt frequents. On the other hand, if the shop owner is very pushy then you don't have to feel bad not buying anything anyway, right? :wink:

Some of my friends say they would spend some money in small tea shops mainly because they enjoy the free tea tasting and talking with the shop owners. So if you think the money you spend is worth the service (but not considering the tea you buy) then it would be ok. If you think the tea is worth it too, then you can go back to buy more after tasting the initial batch.
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Re: First-time visitor to China: tea suggestions?

Postby TuoMa » Sep 7th, '12, 04:31

Chinese locals often stick with their own local teas. You can stick with it or try to find a tea mall 茶城 where all kind of teas will be sold.

Very expensive teas also exists in China, so don't get angry and don't feel necessarly cheated if prices seem high.
Very hard to find cheap Taiping Houkui, Jing Jun Mei, old Raw Pu Er, most of good Da Hong Pao, most of yellow teas, even first grades local teas are often expensive.

In France, sellers mainly buy low grade teas and sell them at affordable prices saying it's top quality teas, so people happen to think chinese teas ain't expensive.

However you can buy teaware, you'll find plenty of interesting products for good prices.
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Re: First-time visitor to China: tea suggestions?

Postby dr-ivan » Sep 9th, '12, 02:13

Yet again, thank you for your input!.. Although I left for China before reading your replies, I nonetheless managed to follow your advise unknowingly. I did some tea tastings, and found out for myself that tea is far from cheap - so I opted for many but small packages. Also, I baught some minor teaware :)

I will be writing a post later to ask what on earth I ended up buying - as soon as I can get some scans of my tea!
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