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February 29, 2016

Maliandao Tea Market 

Aah, winter in Beijing! Quite frankly, your freezer will be warmer. For a wander that won’t end in frostbite, doesn’t skimp on tradition and beats well off the tourist track, tea-ter over to the sipi-centre of cha, Maliandao Tea Market. Pinkies poised...

With over five thousand years of infusion know-how under their cosies, and most of the nation’s leaf pickings passing through here, you can bet the savvy brewmasters at mind-boggling Maliandao know their Assam from their Oolong.

Along this 1.5km stretch you’ll find streets lined with some 1,000 vendors and teahouses, selling everything from traddy ceramics and pretty porcelain sets to over 500 aromatic blends. And best of all it’s wholesale, so adventurous quaffers can escape the hordes and get lost in this charming maze of eager, leaf-swilling shopkeepers.

Nosing around too much can throw a spoon in the works, so follow our advice, and begin on the second floor at Tianhu Tea where everything from its prized, cure-all Yunnan Pu'er to delicate whites originate in the company‘s sprawling, 100-hectare organic plantation in southern Fujian. 

Cha Cheng, on the same floor, will welcome you into its fragrant fold with a delicious pick of Taiwanese Oolong, before you head up to level three for a cuppa and a chinwag with Mr Liu in Ji Shi Fang’s den of rare, smoky, black Lapsang Souchong.

If you haven’t yet descended into a scent-induced slumber, make your way back down to ground level and slip into dainty Durdas next door for top Anhui brews. Cha-aaah. 

Tianhu Tea, Ji Shi Fang & Cha Cheng / 11 Maliandao / Xicheng /
Durdas / 10 Maliandao / Xicheng / +86 10 6334 4248

Photos © Akuppa & John Wigham