Chinese people love tea. It is more than just a drink it is a way of life and has been for centuries. All of China's larger cities have tea markets and Beijing, being the capital, outdoes them all in terms of size, quality, and style. Beijing's tea market is actually a street named Maliandao Tea Street. The street, located in the southwest of the Xuanwu District in Beijing, is the perfect place to learn more about China's tea culture. The 1,500 meter long street sells the finest teas from throughout China. Anxi Tieguanyin Tea, West Lake Dragon Well Tea, Dongting Biluochun Tea, Huangshan Maofeng Tea, Pingshui Pinhead Tea, Qihong Tea, Dianhong Tea, Dahongpao Tea, and Taiwan's Dongding Oolong Tea can all be found on Maliandao Tea Street. If you are a tea snob with a bit of your own time on your Beijing tours, never forget to drop by this tea market.
The businesses on Maliandao Tea Street occupy an area of over 64,000 square feet and it has over 8 large tea malls. It is the largest tea distribution area in northern China. Retailers purchase tea here and export it to the United States, Korea, Russia, Japan, and many countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The annual trade volume exceeds 1.3 billion Yuan which accounts for a tenth of the national tea trade volume.
Visitors entering Maliandao Tea Street will first notice the variety of businesses. There are tea houses, shops that specialize in tea and shops that specialize in tea related items. Competition is very fierce which means that prices are very good and that each businesses owner works hard to make their individual location unique and inviting to potential customers. Many of the shop owners also own tea plantations of their own which means prices can be quite low. The Maliandao Tea Street is the perfect place for visitors with an extensive knowledge of tea, or those who are interested in, but do not have a large knowledge of Chinese tea.
Tea shops always offer free tea to visitors and are always more than happy to offer suggestions, or teach novices about the wonderful world of Chinese tea. Chinese tea is more than just a drink; it is a culture in and of itself. China has several different styles of tea ceremonies, and different ways of brewing different teas. The articles used can vary from the cheap and mass produced, to one of a kind works of art. Visitors are often recommended to shop around before making any purchases and to remember that prices are not set in stone and the price given is usually never the lowest price that will be accepted. The tea street also sells things related to tea such as calligraphy and paintings that are wonderful to appreciate while drinking a cup of China's most famous beverage.
Maliandao Tea Street is a wonderful way for visitors to get a glimpse into China's tea culture. Tea is not just a simple beverage, but a living piece of ancient Chinese culture. It is simple to prepare, but has endless varieties and styles which keep connoisseurs addicted. It is a wonderful way to truly feel Chinese culture and the best part is you can take it with you.
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