Tea Shop

Xinyang green tea

Another one about tea, yeah. I just want to show you some photos. About two and a half months ago Bingjie, Alex, Fabio and I went to Kaifeng. We stopped in Xinyang on the way, because we had to wait for our train. So we had some food and, of course, some tea.

We were driven around the city by Bingjie’s cousin. First we went to a moderately sized tea shop, to taste and maybe buy some tea. As you may know, Xinyang is famous for its green tea, called Xinyang Maojian. There are a lot of tea shops there. I am serious, there are areas where the only type of shop you can find is a tea shop.

green tea
Green tea processed by hand and by machine

I think a lot of these shops have a resident tea expert, who serves tea to the customers. This one had a nice lady, who sadly didn’t speak any English, but thankfully Bingjie translated some things for us. She showed us green tea processed by a machine and one processed by hand. When you add the water you can recognize the difference by comparing the murkiness of the water (yes, that’s an official term). If it’s more on the clear side the tea was processed by hand, and if not, by machine. (It’s been two months and a half, don’t lynch me if I mixed it up.)

tea tasting
Tea tasting in Xinyang

We tried both, I can’t say I have a preference. We also tried a type of red tea, and I think one other. The red tea tasted vaguely of honey, but when we told this to the shopkeeper she just laughed at us. I think it’s amazing how differently all these teas tasted – they all come from the SAME PLANT. I love Camellia Sinensis.

cup of tea
A cup of tea out of focus
Cup of tea
The same cup of tea, now in focus
boys tasting tea
Boys tasting tea
cousins tasting tea

After the tasting we decided not to buy any tea. I know, bad customers, but it was pretty expensive, and we figured there must be cheaper tea in this city where they sell tea everywhere. We went to eat to a nice place, and ordered something suspiciously similar to bibimbap, although I think the Chinese have a different name for it. Anyway, it was delicious.

tea ceremony statue
Statue of a woman performing tea ceremony

We were not done with tea yet though, oh no. Now we needed to buy some tea cups! Alex and Fabio were leaving China in a few days, so they had to stock up on gifts. So we went traipsing around to found a nice tea set.

Buying tea cups
Asking where we can buy some tea cups

There aren’t as many tea cup shops as there are tea shops in Xinyang, but there is still a decent number of them. Most of them sell both actually, tea and tea accessories. I say accessories, because there aren’t just cups; the Chinese tea ceremony includes a bunch of different china, and little wooden sticks and tongs and brushes to prod the china with. I have no idea how to use them all, but apparently they are a must if you are serious about your tea. And then there are also different containers to store the dry tea, and a bunch of other tea related knick-knacks.

tea set shopping
Shopping for a tea set

After going into a few shops, we found one that had a second floor dedicated to tea related things (excluding actual tea). Jackpot. There were a bunch of different nice tea sets. I told Fabio (who needed one for his sister’s wedding gift) which one I thought was the nicest, so he bought it. Okay, maybe I didn’t have that much influence, but I didn’t buy anything, so let me at least have that.

tea set
Brand new tea set

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a pretty tea set and all the accessories for it, but I am here with one suitcase, and I don’t think I can stuff a tea set inside. And there’s the whole “breakable” business as well. Maybe I’ll order a cup or two from Taobao.

tea tasting number 2
The second tea tasting of the day

Well, we chose the tea set, came downstairs, and guess what was next? You guessed right (the picture probably helped) – another tea tasting! Not that I minded. This time we were joined by Bingjie’s cousin’s friend (I am sorry about my inability to remember Chinese names), who deals with tea professionally. He had a lot to say, but sadly by then Bingjie was exhausted and felt like she would die if she had to translate another sentence, so we just kind of nodded along and drank the tea until it was time to go.

I did get some free samples to take home, which I am saving to give to people when I come to Slovenia, but I will definitely buy a proper amount of tea before I board the plane home.


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