Friday, July 17, 2009

Beijing's Ma Lian Dao Tea District: One Trip Isn't Enough

I've said that I feel like time is running short and I need to accomplish some of my goals sooner rather than later, but I didn't feel so old that I should pack it up now! When I decided to spend a day visiting the famed Ma Lian Dao wholesale tea district I found that maybe I am getting a bit too old! On the way to Ma Lian Dao via Beijing's subway, some nice young dude got up and offered me his seat! Although I was grateful for the polite gesture, I was a little upset; just because I have gray hair doesn't mean I'm THAT old! I smiled and said thank you, but declined the seat and internally was dismayed that people thought I was an elderly guy.

When I arrived at Ma Lian Dao I found that it has changed: it's now even larger, with many different buildings all claiming to be some kind of "Tea City." Each building houses hundreds of tea vendors who sell everything under the sun, including Darjeeling and Assams! After spending a whole day I didn't even finish one building, and after drinking tea offered by about 10 different vendors, I had to quit. My bladder was about to burst and I was getting tired! I never thought the day would come that I would walk away from tea, albeit tea that ain't so great, but okay, I will admit it right here, may be I AM getting kind of old??

Yesterday a bunch of samples arrived at my house here to await my cupping and comments. I will try them out, then revisit Ma Lian Dao to compare the best I can find there and see how my selections stack up against theirs.

2 comments:

Jason Witt said...

Let me tell you right now, I want to visit this tea wholesaler city. I would love to spend days inside these buildings sampling the different teas offered by the vendors. I need to visit China in the first place; I've never been there.

Roy Fong said...

You can literally spend weeks in this district of tea, hell you can spend a lifetime here going back and forth. By the time you finish going from one end to the other new seasons and harvest have most likely occurred, so you'd go back and start over again! By the way, if this gives you the idea that this is huge, the one in Guangzhou is larger...