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¡°MaLianDao Tea City¡± is one of the biggest tea markets in Asia. To tea lovers, it is Heavens. It is to me. I like the fragrance of tea, like those hospitable tea merchants, like the peaceful atmosphere of this special place...
MaLianDao Tea City houses about 100 different tea vendors in a four-story building. The best teas from all over the country are represented here.
You smell a beautifully strong scent as you enter the buiding. Suddenly, you feel cut off from the hustle-bustle of Beijing, and immersed in a strongly cultural atmosphere. In a way, tea has become a symbol of the Chinese art of life.
Stroll along the small tea shops of the first and second floors. All of the owners are tea lovers. They have many years of experience in tea growing and selling, and are proficient in tea culture. They like to make friends while drinking tea.
The third and fourth floors are occupied by several big tea companies, each taking nearly one third of the floor. Though their decoration is magnificent -- some even have a tea museum on display -- I don¡¯t appreciate them as much as the small tea shops of the lower two levels. The salespeople seem maybe more interested in earning money than in expanding a certain culture. Not the same atmosphere.
First and Second Floors
The booths on the first and second floors have their own particular characteristics, but they have one thing in common: no matter how big or small, they feature at least one big exquisite tea table on which tea sets are placed.
Most of the tables are made with tree roots. They are used to entertain friends, and also for the boss and employees to spend their leisure time.
All the guests entering in, no matter whether or not they intend to buy tea, are invited to sit down and share cups of tea with the tea house personnel. I always feel these people are more like my friends than merchants.
If you are lucky enough, you can attend a free tea art performance (there is no certain time schedule on performance) on the spot.
Invited by Mr. Ming
I entered into a very neat tea booth of around 40 sq.m. The boss, Mr. Ming, greeted me warmly. I sat down, and talked with him like we were familiar with each other.
Mr. Ming opened a new bag of TieGuanYin tea, and infused some for me. TieGuanYin is one of my favorite tea, I drink some nearly every day. Mr. Ming told me the prices of TieGuanYin ranged from RMB 150-160 to RMB 2000-3000 per kilogram. The batch grown in Autumn is the best one.
Mr. Ming has been running his tea business for over ten years. Every season, when the fresh tea comes out, he goes to a certain tea town to select the best teas. Because of the quality of the products he selects, his business has been very prosperous.
Some outside tea houses always come here to purchase a great deal of tea. Individual customers also represent a sizeable clientele. Mr. Ming makes good money running his tea house, while at the same time making a lot of tea friends.
His physical condition is very fit because of his habit of drinking tea. Tea is a kind of very heathy food, and is said to help reduce high blood pressure, avoid degerescence, reduce weight, etc.
An Enchanting Afternoon
Though I didn¡¯t buy any tea this time, we had a delightful talk, exchanging our feelings on tea art.
As a matter of fact, every tea booth here practices this art of life. If they invite you to sit down and taste some tea, don¡¯t refuse the favor. It means you also would like to become a friend. In this situation, business is lighter than friendship. Whether you pay money or not is beside the point.
¡°MaLianDao Tea City¡± is a good place I recommend. It is a window to feel Chinese hospitality, tradition, and culture.
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