Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quick Trip To Chengdu Tea Culture Town

Since we were planning to return to Thailand in January, we decided to take a quick trip to Chengdu to buy some tea for Thailand. We left on the 0800 school bus and arrived at SW Jiaotong University in Chengdu at around 1040. We immediately caught a taxi to the Tea Culture Town and found the area shops we had done business with before.

The trip into Chengdu was foggy and cool, almost cold. As usual, Emei Mountain was putting out her usual misty morning skies.

One of the first things we did was to check out the Liu An Gua Pian. I had been reading up on this famous tea and definitely wanted to give it a try. Here we are buying the tea after successfully negotiating for a discount on bulk.

The leaves of the Gua Pian are the most unusual we have ever seen. Guess this must be way they have their name - Melon Seed or Melon Pieces.

How about a little sample to wake you up in the morning. Nice flavor and nice aftertaste. One can see why this is in the top five teas of China.

Sunee and I are both very happy with our purchases from this shop.

Our next stop was to find the tea accessories shop from our last visit. The lady we bought the last batch of tea from walked us over to the area where the store was. The store is on the second floor so we returned, bought our Induction Tea Maker, two big Giawans, my new better teapot and some other items.

This is one of the two huge Gaiwans we bought to use daily. It cost 6 Yuan (less than $1 USD) and is really big, bigger after we bought it and got it home than even we realized.

This is the first "expensive" teapot I have purchased. The one in the previous posts cost a whopping 2 Yuan at one of those Two Yuan stores that have popped up in Emei City. This was several times more expensive and if one compares just the pictures of the two teapots, the difference is obvious. I will have to wait for my REALLY expensive teapots until later.

We originally wanted to buy four cup mats (is that what they are called) to match our tea tray. Sunee said she want four (si4) of them. When we got home and checked over our receipt, we realize we had been charged for ten of these mats. Instead of 3.5 Yuan times four, we found we had 3.5 Yuan times ten. Speakers of the Sichuan dialect and virtually all southern Chinese speakers have trouble with the reflexive sounds in Chinese. Four thus sounds to them like ten if a none native Chinese mandarin speaker says these two sounds. Ten is the pinyin shi2 but actually sounds like si2. At least it does to me and obviously to Sichuan speakers as one sees them clarifying the four and ten with the fingers crossed for ten. Sunee obviously did not cross her fingers. As it turns out, we are now both happy to have bought ten of these cute little mats to use around the house.

We are also the proud owners of an Induction Tea Cooker. This keeps the cups and such warm while rapidly heating the water via induction in a nice teapot. It works really great. I have it setting next to my computer and am looking at it as I type this. The cost was 180 Yuan or about $26 USD. Well worth the money!

On the way back to the main road to catch a taxi to the Walmart closest to Southwest Jiaotong University, we met this lady when I stopped to look at her collection of Yixing Teapots. She specialized in Puerh from Yunnan so we talked with her about buying some more cakes. She suggested a young puerh cake she had just received. We decided to give it a taste.

In addition to the young puerh cake, we found two different kinds of puerh in these two smaller cakes and decided to buy them for 15 Yuan each (around $2 USD). One was cooked while the other was not cooked.

This is the puerh cake that the lady showed us and told us about. Sunee bargained until she got it down to 75 Yuan (about $11 USD).

We were very impressed with the tea from the above tea cake. It was not as dark as what we expected and the taste was just marvelous. Now Sunee thinks we should have bought several of them. We bought one plus to two small cakes to take back to Thailand with us.

All together we bought the following teas on this trip:

One Puerh cake
Two small Puerh cakes
Liu An Gua Pian tea
Xihu Longjing tea
Dian Hong tea
Qi Men Hong tea
Xin Yang Mao Jian tea
Jun Shan Yin Zhen tea
Bi Luo Chun tea

After our tea culture town journey we got a taxi to Walmart where we bought a CD/cassette player for the Buddhist Nun we have been teaching English. She works and lives a FuHu Temple about a fifteen minute car ride from Jiaoda. This should assist her learning English. To learn more about this nun and the FuHu Temple please go to:

1 comment:

Bryan said...

Hello, I like your blog! I'm going to add yours to my blogroll on my site, thanks for adding mine.

That small 250g beengcha you have there is very tippy! Probably tastes more like a white tea than normal pu'er cha. Judging from the logo it seems to be from the Jinuo Shan tea factory, which, fittingly enough seems to sell pu'er sourced mainly from Youle mountain (Jinuo is the name given to Youle shan by the local Jinuo minority group that lives there in Yunnan.) Youle tea in my experience seems to be gentle, light, smooth, and full of tobacco sweetness. This should age well if kept after for several years- hopefully decades.