If you thought a cup of tea started and ended with a bag of Lipton and a splash of milk then consider this a wake up call. Tea originated in China, and the sophisticated culture and history that surrounds it is easily the equal of, say, wine in Europe. This experience takes place in a lively wholesale market where the restaurants and teahouses come to buy their leaves. Here you’ll meet a selection of vendors who represent different regions, and learn about the main variations: greens, blacks, oolongs and reds. You’ll also learn how to appreciate the different flavors, which qualities are most prized by locals and how these ordinary looking leaves can very literally be worth more than their weight in gold.
Already something of a tea connoisseur? For a more in-depth experience Bespoke can arrange a day trip to the Longjing tea fields in Hangzhou, where you’ll hike through the tea fields, learn how it’s grown and processed, and taste the leaves at the very spot they were grown, in one of China’s most prestigious tea growing regions.
Bespoke’s tea expert was, in her former life, a coffee drinking mortgage lender from Florida who knew nothing of Chinese culture, but moved to Shanghai with her husband in 2007. She developed a deep passion for teas, and later based herself nearby Zhejiang Province to be closer to the plantations, regularly leading visitors on educational trips. She is a certified tea specialist by the only accredited tea educator in North America
NEED TO KNOW
How much does it cost? 2,500RMB for 1-2 people, then 500 RMB per additional guest (max 8 people). For more specialist tours or day trips to Hangzhou, please contact us for a quote.
How long will it take? 2.5 hours.
When can I do it? Morning or afternoon.
Getting there: You’ll be met at your hotel, or another agreed spot if you are out and about already.
Start Point: A tea market in central Shanghai. Directions will be provided.
End Point: A tea market in central Shanghai.
Children: Are welcome to join, but don’t always appreciate the fine art of tea tasting!
Any other costs I should know about? Tea tastings are included. There is absolutely no obligation to purchase tea, but should you wish to the expert will be able to assist.
How far in advance should I book? Ideally 2 weeks.
What to bring: No special requirements but cash is best if you’d like to take some tea away with you.
Our favourite bit: Slurping the tea as loud as you possibly can! Yes, that is considered the proper way to assess the flavors.
Is this an expert or local personality-led tour? Expert.
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