Buying Tea in China

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Buying Tea in China

China is famous for it’s tea and the people we’ve met so far are passionate about it.

In the afternoon, before visiting the Temple of Heaven we went to Yi Xin Cha Yi, a tea retailer close by.

As with all these stops the experience starts with a demonstration. In this case one of the shop assistants showed us the traditional way to serve tea and we got to taste 4 different types.

• Oolong Jinseng tea – served in a traditional clay tea pot
• Jasmine Tea – flowery and also came as a pod which opened up with a lily and a Jasmine flower
• Fine black tea – apparently now more favoured than green tea
• Lycee flavour tea with Rose – a sweet flavour that smells of roses.

We liked all of them but everyone had their favourite. The children were also fascinated by the colour and picture changing mugs and were ecstatic about the little boy who peed when the water was boiling!

After that there was the simple job of choosing something to buy. However this was not so simple. Tea, it seems, is not cheap in China. The cheapest box was about 180 Yuan (£18 GBP) and the tea sets seem to start from 960 Yuan. I am sure there was some tourist pricing going on too but we’d seen similar prices at a shop near the hotel.

The situation wasn’t made any easy by the assistant who insisted on following us around. While I didn’t feel under pressure to buy anything (at least not from the shop assistant – from family it was a different matter!) it did make the discussion more stressful. In the end we plumped for a selection pack for 280 Yuan and set ourselves the challenge of finding a tea set at a more reasonable price elsewhere in China. To the children’s delight, the little boy going to the toilet came free…