Tea and Tea House Culture

One of the coolest parts about living in China is the opportunity to refine your tea drinking palate. Although I still haven’t given up coffee completely, there are lots of interesting, different types of teas which I’ve come to know since moving here.

One type which is relatively unknown in the U.S. is pu’er (普洱茶). Pu’er is an easy brand of tea to fall in love with because of its distinctive bitter taste and seeming ability to clear up indigestion. That last part isn’t a fact, but I swear that this tea has some positive effect on my body when I drink it.

Another type of tea worth mentioning is Longjing (龙井茶), which is a subcategory/strain of green tea that comes from the city of Hangzhou (杭州) in Zhejiang province (浙江省). While lesser quality green tea is often bitter, Longjing is contrastingly smooth.

The Chinese love of tea expands beyond the confines of a cup and overflows into the tradition of tea houses more broadly. Even for ardent coffee drinkers, it’s hard to not find satisfaction in the ornamental nature of the lacquered wooden chairs and tables of a tea house.

Here is a shot of one from last night that I took on a stroll through Beijing’s Chaoyang District.

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