Tea is easy to find in Beijing, but learning how to truly appreciate intricacies and histories of the tea leaf – that is a luxury indeed. Eschew crowded markets in favor of modern teahouses, new bastions of a tradition whose mission is to bring more than 4,500 years of tea culture to a more worldly and discerning clientele.
At the beautifully tranquil and award-winning Green T. House, the meditative strains of guqin, a seven-string Chinese instrument, can be heard wafting through stunning minimalist halls washed in blocks of still colors – black, white, cream, and light green. Unlike most tea houses, Green T. House offers the chance to soothe one’s entire body in the beneficial properties of green tea. In one room, a revolutionary reimagining of a Tang Dynasty emperor’s bathhouse, a warm pool infused with green tea invites guests to soak and forget all their cares.
A highlight of Chinese tea culture is the gongfu tea ceremony, a highly ritualized event using preparation and presentation methods from Wuyi in Fujian and Chaoshan in Guangzhou. Local millennial guests may not be familiar with traditional tea ceremonies but Green T. House is helping pass on old traditions with private tea ceremonies using traditional tools and accessories such as a slatted tea table, a Yixing clay teapot, teacups, bowls, and a “tea pet” – a clay figurine of a boy, zodiac animal, or mythical creature that waste water is discarded over.