Hangzhou and the province of Yunnan where I visited are known for their tea. Entire trade routes were set up here and through treacherous paths to Tibet for trading tea. The shops posted here contained a huge variety of tea, with a bewildering variety of packaging, preparation types, flavors, and prices. I did see a few people purchasing items, but lacking the knowledge of the tea itself and the labeling (most was in Chinese only), I decided to purchase the tea for my cousin elsewhere.
|What beautiful patterning at this store in Shuhe|
|More tea stores in Shaxi|
Most restaurants I visited, as well as some of the guest houses, provided complimentary tea. In the picture above, that large silver thermos at my guesthouse was filled with hot water and intended solely for me. Dried tea leaves were already placed in the cup, to which my host continued to pour hot water. Its delicate flavor was enjoyed without any additions such as milk or sweetener - much different than the tea I had in other countries, particularly India (I do love chai), Tunisia (sweet and served with pine nuts), and Mali (sweet "gunpowder" tea).