Tea Talk at China Culture Center

by Arina on November 3, 2010

in Tea Classes

Tea Talk at China Culture Center

A long-standing favorite among expats and visitors, China Culture Center (or “CCC”) offers  a wide selection of talks and classes on Chinese culture. The coverage goes from fairly traditional topics like Chinese history, philosophy, painting or medicine to very practical, hands-on classes on how to make dumplings or tie Chinese knots, passing by exotics like cricket fighting or the history of feet binding. With such a wide range of subjects, no wonder that tea culture has not been left unattended. Unlike The Hutong, where the Tea Lounge is a regular, biweekly fare, talks on Chinese tea at CCC do not have a fixed schedule, but do take place on a regular basis, probably about once every two months.

When you come for a talk or class at CCC for the first time, expect any event to be animated by Feng Cheng, the CCC “founding father”. The presentations at CCC are usually well prepared and informative – they do their homework very well. You also usually get a print-out with the highlights of the talk. What I particularly like about CCC is that they usually invite a local expert. For the tea talk I attended in September, the guest star was a tea master from Taiwan, a very nice, graceful and humble young lady.

A great deal of classes at CCC are delivered by Feng Cheng

Tha talk was combined with a tea tasting, whereby we could taste five of the six main categories of Chinese tea (except yellow tea) – an excellent introduction into a subject for someone who is just starting a journey into Chinese tea. A minor critical note: I found that the guests were sitting a bit too far from the tea master, like students in a classroom. It was no doubt good for visualising Powerpoint presentation, but made the experience lack a little bit of community spirit, so good for Chinese tea drinking. Having a big common table arranged next to the tea master would make the event more personal, would facilitate and encourage exchanges between the participants. For a finishing touch, I would also add a nice background traditional Chinese music…

The event went on longer than two hours, but no one seemed in a hurry to wrap up and plenty of time was given to questions and answers.

You can taste six basic types of Chinese tea

As a side note, I would also recommend CCC tours for those who are new to China and do not mind group travel. We went on a couple of tours with CCC shortly after our arrival in Beijing, including their tour to Wu Yi Shan mountains – a very memorable experience…

The CCC currently operates from its  welcoming offices at the Kent Center, very close to Chaoyang Park and Lufthansa area. But no one knows for how long – like many other Beijing districts, the surrounding area has  apparently been scheduled to be demolished for quite a while…

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