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The best tea house in the world is one’s own house. To me, the essence of tea brewing is to be absolutely aware of the tea’s reaction to one’s brewing style, and being sensitive to how one is affected by the tea. Nothing beats coming to terms with tea in your very own home. Visiting cool places and experiencing tea in ‘the other space’ is great, but in the end, we always return home and it is there that changes to our brewing and approach to tea take effect, even if these changes were inspired elsewhere. Tea houses can be used instead of carrying a large pack with tent and stove etc. All you need is your usual daypack and a sleeping bag. Personally I would highly recommend Café Eteaket in Frederick Street. It has a massive menu of different types of tea as well as excellent lunch dishes and afternoon tea. It is often full and you may need to wait a few minutes for a table but it is well worth it. Once there they will go through the ceremony as normal or just be given a cup of herbal tea to drink. Then be charged an outrageous price for what basically a normal cup of herbal tea (like 1000 rmb or more for something that should cost no more than 10). With the people who invited you there pretending to just be ordinary customers like you and will act if its normal, paying the full amount as well which they will be given back later.





























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This normally tends to happen around Peoples Square and East Nanjing Road where there is a high concentration of foreign tourists. With the Tea shop itself often being a back alley one within walking distance of these areas. Thankfully I was warned about this sort of thing on my very first day in China and am naturally skeptical of people who just walk up to me out of no where. But there have been a few occasions when I’ve been in these areas and someone as come up to me and asked me if I wanted to join them for a tea ceremony they where on their way to. Try to get as many as possible so that at the time the brand becomes big, someone else is not sitting on some domain name and hijacking the brand. Don’t settle for .in if .com is gone and there’s an active website there. I can only recall one I’ve been to that exclusively focuses on tea, and that’s Tealuxe in Harvard Square, on Brattle St. Very impressive tea selection, knowledgeable staff, and good service. All in all a great little shop. I was there in April 2011 and again in April 2015, when that major earthquake happened killing so many. Trust me the entire place had changed drastically in such a short period and almost unrecognizable for me. Even if you fulfill all criteria required to open a tea house, I request you NOT to do it. There are more than enough already present there and the entire route / region looks more like a market than a trekking route.

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