Greetings from the Guangzhou Tea Markets! April 02, 2013
Dr. Oolong here…saying hello from Asia!
After spending a day in Hong Kong, our China adventure continued today with a mind-boggling stop at the tea market here in Guangzhou. “All the tea in the China” doesn’t even begin to describe it. From exquisitely designed and extremely high-end teaware shops with gorgeous hand-crafted pots averaging in the $500-1000 US range, to modest stalls with open burlap sacks of low-grade tea a few feet away, it was a diverse market to say the least. Besides plenty of tea, another thing we shared in common was the torrential downpour of the day.
We found a couple favorite merchants and teas that occupied the majority of our time. As I was relearning how to “get my shop on,” I was cautious at first to make even a modest purchase. Remember, I am here not for business buying (although I am acquiring some teaware for the tea room); I am just picking up some interesting things for my own use.
So we settled into a nice relaxed tasting of a yi wu pu-erh which was quite smooth and got us into the groove. This was followed by an extensive session at a shop with zillions of little cups, among other things. We all found some well-made artisan and inexpensive cups to our liking, and I also scored a cute and unique yi xing pot for a reasonable price. Pics to come soon!
We also sipped snow chrysanthemum tea for a couple hours, which was a delight. Even though I have a gifted tiny stash of it at home in Austin, I hadn’t tried it until yesterday while in China. Crazy! It is a fantastic herbal tea! Great mouthfeel, surprisingly complex, and has a long sweet floral finish. I bought a little to bring back, as I also want to try blending with it; it is gorgeous and vibrant in addition to tasting great.
Truly, we barely scratched the surface of the tea market. You could literally spend a week there. Hundreds and hundreds of vendors. Thousands upon thousands of pu-erh cakes. Gorgeous and immense hand-carved tea tables. Relaxing and helpful sales people. And, there weren’t that many shoppers there so it was a mellow time. We capped our day with an outstanding Hakka lunch at a nearby restaurant. I love the rain, but arrived soaked. Note to self: buy an umbrella; they are cheap here!
I must point out that it helps greatly to have knowledgeable friends who also happen to speak Chinese. I would be lost without them.
So today we journey to a nearby city of which I have forgotten the name. Tomorrow we fly to Yunnan!