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Max Tillberg April 27, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Dear Arina,
I read your interesting project to test 214 kinds of Chinese tea. I have tried to do the same (actually all the interesting Chinese teas I can find) for 15 years and I wonder if I could join you in some way on your marathon. I try to document all the teas I try at my website Unfortunately it is in Swedish but I try to write all Chinese names in both English and Chinese as well as the maps. If you are interested we could exchange information and teas. By the way, my wife rented Julie & Julia two weeks ago and I thought it was a very nice movie.

Max Tillberg


Roberta January 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

I have been enjoying your site very much. We will be going to China early in March, and I am interested in buying some tea there. I like sweet, fruity tea rather than black tea. Can you recommend some reasonably priced teas I might enjoy? It seems confusing that there are so very many to choose from. I know they offer samplings, but I am wondering if it is safe to drink the teas due to the possibility of water problems. Thank you

Arina January 7, 2012 at 6:51 am

Hello Roberta,
I wish you a very happy new year 2012. I hope you will make the most of your upcoming trip to China. Which places will you be visiting?
I have to admit, I found your question quite challenging. You are looking for sweet, fruity taste, but black teas are note among your favorites. I think wu long teas would be a great place to start. Put oversimply, wu longs are somewhere in between black tea and green tea. Wu longs coming from Northern and Southern Fujian, from Guangdong and Taiwan, taste very different. I suggest you try Da Hong Pao (大红袍), the superstar from Wuyishan mountains in Northern Fujian. Behind the powerful initial attack of burning and roasting aromas, you will clearly distinguish graceful fruity notes. Another suggestion: Dan Cong (凤凰单丛) teas from Guangdong province. Here the main aromas are burnt and floral, but distinct fruity notes transpire as well. Attention, you may need some skills to get this tea right, otherwise it may taste a bit harsh. The wu long teas from Southern Fujian and Taiwan are famous for their marvelous floral notes. Among them, Jin Xuan Cha (金萱茶), also called “milk wu long” (奶香乌龙), has a very particular mellow taste that usually delights the Western palate.
For more surprises, go for a white tea Bai Hao Yin Zhen (白毫银针), made only from buds. It has no herbaceous aromas, but will soothe you with velvety notes of cocoa, honey and ripe fruit. It’s an amazing tea, but be prepared: this tea is a beauty that does not show off. The first encounter with it could be a disappointment if you take for bland what is actually subtle.
I also suspect that with your taste preferences you may find your ultimate happiness in a cup of good old raw Pu Er tea (生普洱).
If you stay in China long enough until the time of the first picking of green teas of the year, then, I beg you – do try freshly picked green tea. Irrelevant to your taste preferences I guarantee you’ll have a feeling you savour the spring itself! It is just soooooooo good!
You can browse this website to have some shopping advice on finding good tea in Beijing. I’m currently putting some effort into updating it. If you have some spare time in Beijing, I recommend you go for a tea workshop or tea market tour in The Hutong ( This place is bustling with tea enthusiasts. If you do not have much time, just ask at the tea shop to taste the tea before you buy, observe how the tea is brewed and take some notes. At home, use good water, respect water temperature and brewing time. Good luck and don’t forget to share your experiences and addresses later on this blog!

Roberta Hofmann February 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Thank you so much for your response. It is much appreciated. We will be in Beijing March 4th for several days, then visit Hong Kong and Singapore, then cruise from Singapore to Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Nha Trang, Phu My (Saigon), Pusan, Nagasaki. Then back to Beijing for several days, then Xi’an, back to Beijing and home. We will be gone a month. I am really looking forward to seeing all these fascinating places.

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