A Trip Down Tea Street

Alexa Penton
January 21, 2014

It is no secret that the Chinese people have a long tradition of tea drinking. Nowhere is this fact more evident than Beijing’s famous 马连道 (Mǎliándào) Tea Street. Last Sunday, we took the public bus from BěiWài to a four-story concrete tower packed full of authentic Chinese tea shops. The shops boasted every kind of tea imaginable, with each variety categorized under one of six main types of Chinese tea: White (白茶), Green (绿茶), Black (红茶), Oolong (青茶), Pu’Er (普洱茶), and Yellow (黃茶). It is astounding to think that so many varieties of tea exist, especially when you consider that they each come from a single species of plant! I was even more impressed by how knowledgeable each of the shop owners were about Chinese tea. I now know which teas to drink to lose weight, cure a cold, energize, or simply kick back and enjoy an afternoon break. I’ll definitely be back!

The building was jam packed with little tea shops!

The tea varieties were endless.

These teas were almost too pretty to drink! (Almost.)

We had the nicest shopkeeper! She brewed us pot after pot of tiěguānyīn tea.

We learned that the Chinese like to smell the tea leaves after brewing: the shorter the brew time, the stronger the smell.


A short video of our tea street adventuring!

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Alexa Penton

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! My name is Alexa Penton and I&#39;m an undergrad at the University of Mississippi pursuing degrees in Chinese Language and Culture and Art History. I started photography as a hobby in high school, and have since expanded my collection to 10 film cameras and one digital. Most of my photos and videos document my travels at home and abroad. I am particularly inspired by the qualities of light, memories, natural history, nontraditional developing practices, and nontraditional portraiture. I call Orlando, Florida home, but can&#39;t wait to spend a whole semester living and learning in Beijing!</span></p>

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