Maliandao tea street in Xuanwu District has everything a tea lover
could dream of. With tea being one of the luxury products produced
domestically, it is now going through a renaissance with the
burgeoning Chinese upper class. Beijingers, who once snubbed
southern Chinese teas, are quickly becoming connoisseurs and buying
expensive, aged pu’er brick teas and the highly valued, exclusive
qingming green teas. Seeing this booming market, top producers from
all over the country send spokesmen to Maliandao to open teashops.
So it’s also the best place in
Beijing to learn
from regional experts about Chinese tea.
Maliandao can be daunting for first-timers, with its boisterous
teashops selling thousands of different teas and its
less-than-glamorous restrooms. But it makes for a perfect day trip
for those looking for some culture and adventure. Here are a few of
our favorite tea stops.
Hong Zhi Teashop
Owner Hong Zhi from Anhui province has set up one of most
reputable and relaxing shops on Maliandao. His selection of Anhui
teas is unbeatable and the employees here are knowledgeable on teas
from all over China; a rarity as most people in the tea industry
believe only tea from their home province is worth mentioning. Try
their Monkey King green tea from Taiping Lake (Taiping houkui), or
keemun black teas (qimen hongcha) all made in Hong Zhi’s home
province, some even made on his brother’s farm.
Location: 10 Maliandao Chaye Jie, Xuanwu District
Opening hours: Daily 8am-10pm
Shi Jie Cha Teashop
Owner Lou Ping is from Wuyi Mountain, China’s most famous oolong
region. Her unassuming shop at the end of Maliandao brings the best
of the Wuyi Mountain rock oolongs – highly oxidized, full of
minerals, and complex – to Beijing. Try the dahongpao. And since
this shop is open 24 hours, there’s a selection of pu’er bricks for
late night tea drinking.
Location: E-29 Cha Yuan, Maliandao Chaye Jie, Xuanwu
Opening hours: Daily 12am-12pm
Si Ji Cha Xiang Tea Ware Shop
This tea ware shop, owned by Jin Huashun, primarily exports to
Korea so quality here is higher than most, with unique tea wares
made from natural materials. Their imaginative gourd tea filters
and bamboo scoops are favorites with tea lovers.
Location: 2/F, 11 Maliandao Chaye Jie, Xuanwu District
Opening hours: Daily 8.30am-6pm
Geng Xiang Shi Fu Restaurant
Tea drinking should never be attempted on an empty stomach.
That’s why this delicious Zhejiang restaurant makes the perfect pit
stop. The owner, a pioneer in China’s organic tea movement, never
uses MSG and sometimes uses organic vegetables. Guests can enjoy
live shows starting at 6pm, such as traditional Chinese music or
dancing tea ceremonies.
Location: 2/F, Gengxiang Teahouse, Maliandao Chaye Jie, Xuanwu
Opening hours: Daily 9am-10pm
(That's Beijing December 8, 2007)