Experience Tea Drinking at a Traditional Tea Village
By Viator, May 2012
Though numerous tea villages sit just outside the outskirts of Hangzhou, one of the most accessible and popular villages for visitors is the Meijiawu Tea Village, where it’s possible to follow the creation of the tea from bush to wok to piping hot cup. It’s important for visitors to understand that the Longjing style of tea which is grown around Hangzhou is considered to be among the finest and most prized varieties of tea found anywhere in China. The residents of traditional tea villages work incessantly to uphold a cultural heritage and standard of quality which has been intrinsic to Chinese society for hundreds of years. In short, tea in Hangzhou is taken quite seriously.
Many tours to traditional tea villages feature a segment where it’s possible to walk the dirt trails of the tea-covered hillsides and try your hand at harvesting the leaves directly from the bush. Although there are numerous different types of teas ranging from Longjing to Oolong, all of the tea varieties initially begin by being harvested from the same bush. What separates the different tea varieties is the way in which they are processed and prepared. This is another important component of tea culture that visitors are able to experience hands-on when visiting a traditional tea village. After harvesting a few leaves on the hillside, stand by or assist as a master tea roaster expertly roasts the leaves in a wok-style pan.
Visitors are also taught about the differences between leaves of varying quality and how to go about recognizing and selecting the best batches for brewing. Finally, after learning about the lengthy and laborious process of cultivating and preparing the tea, steaming glasses of Longjing tea are expertly poured in a precise fashion, which itself is regarded as a part of the cultural heritage. More than just a soothing cup in a scenic rural location, drinking tea in a traditional tea village is an all-encompassing journey into the craft of growing, brewing and appreciating Longjing tea.