Join Hias Gourmet’s Tea Tasting Safari to learn about and experience Beijing’s centre of tea trade, Maliandao Tea Street. The tour spends all of its time in Maliandao, where the experience of sampling and buying tea is unequalled and often unduplicated outside Asia.
Known as one of China’s best markets for buying fresh tea leaves, it’s said that more than 3,000 varieties of tea are sold at Maliandao Tea Street, which is lined with tea shops stretching over 1.5 kilometres from Guanganmen Street to the north to Honglian Road to the south. Most shops are still operated by the extended families of tea growers from Fujian, Zhejiang and Anhui province.
The primary focus of this area is to trade in tea. You won’t hear drifting meditation music or bubbling water fountains. But while every tea vendor always hopes to make a sale, Maliandao does not have the aggressive intensity of other markets in Beijing and is actually quite calm.
Tours can be tailored to meet your specific interests or knowledge level, from beginners to connoisseurs. Whether you want a general introduction to tea and teaware in China or a dedicated tasting journey of a particular tea variety, we can create an experience that matches your needs.
You might know about black tea and green tea, maybe even white tea or oolong. But did you know about yellow tea or fermented tea? Or what Chinese people mean when they say red tea? China grows more tea varieties than any other country, and you’ll find them all here at Maliandao. Essentially all true Chinese teas come from the same original species of plant, camelia sinesis. Yet through the craftmanship of working with terroir, picking methods, timing, processing and storage, the Chinese create a wonderful range of distinctly different teas. Discover the pale, delicately flavoured Longjing (Dragon Well tea) from Zhejiang province or the earthy dark-green Tai Ping Hou Kui from Anhui province, as well as many others you didn’t know about.
A premium quality tea can be made or destroyed by the way you brew it. Sit down with us for an expert-led tea appreciation session in a respected tea shop to learn about how you can optimise the unique characteristics of the tea you drink. This covers such things as correct water temperatures, brewing times, equipment, infusion techniques and more. Tea selections for our tastings will vary depending on the season and the freshest season’s harvest.
You’d better not whip out a tea bag while in China, you’ll be sadly frowned upon. Making the perfect cup of tea takes not only the right leaves but also the right equipment, and Maliandao is an accessory banquet when it comes to choosing tea equipment. Find out about when to use chinaware and when to use glass or pottery. Discover the incredible range of other implements to help make your tea time enjoyable and to standard. Beware if you have a penchant for collecting things!
The Tea Safari tour is an excellent opportunity for you to shop for yourself, buy gifts for Chinese hosts, or to pick up souvenirs for your family and friends. But you can’t just buy any old tea. Many of us here have learned the hard way by unwittingly buying our Chinese friends poor-grade tea – possibly fated to being discretely regifted or tossed somewhere down the track. There is an overwhelming range of teas and equipment to select from in Maliandao and our guides can help you make the right choices and bargain for a good price.
Please note: Hias Gourmet has NO contractual relationship with the vendors and our guides do not receive any bonuses or commissions from vendors. There is no obligation to buy anything. Regardless, given that this is a tea trading area, you should be aware that the vendors, of course, are always happy when you do!
Optional lunch: There is no food on this tour, so you do need to have breakfast. However, at the end of the tour you have the option of enjoying a hand-pulled noodle lunch (add US$10). Please inform us of your interest when booking.
Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm
Price: US $49 pp
Optional pulled-noodle lunch: US$10
Minimum: 2 people*
Maximum: 8 people
Day and time flexible
1 person: US $180
2 people: US $90 pp
3-4 people: US $70 pp
5-6 people: US $65 pp
7-10 people: US $60 pp
11-15 people: US $50 pp
Optional pulled-noodle lunch: US$10
*We require a minimum of two guests for join-in tours. However, if you are a solo traveller and we have no other bookings for your desired date, we can offer a special “solo booking” rate for join-in tours. We will contact you about this if applicable.