Tuesday, April 10, 2007

China | Beijing | Maliandao Tea Street

Having exhausted my supplies of Yunnan and Qi Mun black teas and running dangerously low on Puerh tea I had no alternative but to wing down to Beijing to replenish my supplies. The day before I left Ulaan Baatar we were treated to a ferocious dust storm and snow flurries simultaneously—Mongolia is of the few places in the world where this can happen—but in Bejing real spring had already arrived, with temperatures up into the low 70s F. Overhead was a faultless dome of blue sky, without a hint of Beijing’s fabled pollution.

I immediately grabbed my local tea consultant, Ms. R, and head for Maliandao Tea Street, one of the world’s greatest tea emporiums. This is a standard stop for me in Beijing. Although there are reportedly over a thousand tea stores on the street I always return to the shop of Ms. Na, who has a especially strong selection of black teas.

The estimable Ms. Na showing off a new cake of Puerh

I bought a kilo each of the highest grade Qi Mun and Yunnan Black and three cakes of Puerh.
Ms. R sampling the Qi Mun

Tie Kuan Yin Oolong

Although I am not a big fan of Oolong tea at Ms. Na’s instigation I sampled some new Tie Kuan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) Oolong which she had just gotten in and ended up buying 250 grams. It is so hard to say no to the entreaties of the charming and gracious Ms. Na!

The breath-takingly lovely Ms. R virtually glowing after sampling the Tie Kuan Yin

Another tea seller in the same store

Nice selection of Puerhs