Thursday, April 11, 2013


A few weeks ago I took my thirsty self to a local tea house. (Well, actually, Mingbai's Inge Jansen en Monique Groeneveld from China Inside had organized a tour.)

After a short introduction to China's obsession and long history with tea, we sampled a few cups ourselves. If you are having tea in a proper Chinese tea house, better not be in a rush! "To go" is clearly not an option, as the goal is to sit down, slow down, and chat or do some business.

Lovely ladies -- with years of training in teaology -- will come to your table to help prepare the tea, choose the appropriate cups, and poor out the goods in whichever way is appropriate for that particular kind of tea.

Green tea? Let the water cool down a bit. Oolong tea? Be sure to rinse the leaves one time.
Strawberry-kiwi tea? That's a weird Western invention! (The Chinese in fact refer to these other "teas" that don't use any real tea leaves as "flower water." )

The "Confucian Tea House" is just across from the Confucius Temple on 28-1 Guozijian Street.

Preparing for the tea.

Notice the difference between the various kinds of tea. Although I can't remember now which one is which, I do know all the leaves come from the same plant (the tea plant Camellia Sinensis) but have been processed differently. The tea on the left (barely visible) in the green chickenpox cup is called "bai cha" or "white tea," which means it is a very lightly processed tea with excellent health benefits. The other teas we tried were oolong team, green tea, and "I-forgot-its-name-of-course-tea."

Patience is a virtue!

Finally enjoying my cup of T!

In het Nederlands: Wat kan ik anders zeggen? Lieve ooms en tantes, vrienden, moeder, en overige familie: Als jullie in Beijing komen nodig ik jullie uit voor een heerlijk kopje thee in het Confucius theehuis! Koekje zelf meebrengen.

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