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bailing

tea appreciation courses

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bailing

hi!

Anybody knowing courses in tea culture and appreciation? possibly organized by a University...

thank you!

 

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Guest scooby

Hi,

 

The most easiest option is to go to a central and public place in Beijing and Shanghai, and wait when a friendly Chinese person comes up to you, talks nicely, then invites you to an authentic restaurant where you can enjoy real tea ceremony and then pick up the tab for 1000 RMB or more. But of course, that's a total scam.

Apart from that, I don't know about universities teaching it, however I've heard that some tourist guides can take you to such places.

Or you can always try to learn it from Youtube.

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abcdefg

Beware the Scooby method, outlined above. (I know he was joking -- smile.)

 

If you are unable to find an organized course, you might consider trying what I did in Kunming a couple years ago, especially if you have a good deal of time to invest in it as a hobby. Go to a wholesale tea market and talk to knowledgeable tea merchants, asking them to help you understand the background of this or that tea, preferably one in which they specialize. Do that repeatedly while reading on your own for background.

 

One such merchant eventually put me in touch with an instructor at one of Kunming's tea colleges, where locals go to learn to become professional tea servers or tea sellers. The instructor had left to start her own business, but it didn't require all her time at that early stage. She still had all her teaching materials, including power point slides. 

 

She took me through all the major types of Chinese tea, how they are grown, how they are processed and so on. We tasted examples of each type of tea as we studied it. We did this two or three days a week for about half a year, meeting at her home.

 

Now she has moved away and is working as a tea buyer and restaurant consultant for a tea company in Chengdu. I've resumed my education by visiting merchants at one or another of the wholesale tea markets here (we have two.)

 

This morning I went to a Pu'er seller at the north market. It was raining and the man running the shop had nothing much to do. I think he was bored. So we sipped tea while he explained this and that about his different Pu'ers. Informal education, but I still took notes. The guy knew a lot and was talkative. Lots of fun.

 

post-20301-0-36020800-1404772573_thumb.jpg

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hedwards

I had good luck going into small tea shops. It's generally in their interests to help potential customers develop a taste for teas. The shop I went to charged a very reasonable fee to cover the cost of the tea.

 

The big things to keep in mind is that ideally you'll want to go to a shop that's familiar to you or people you know and they'll need to be able to communicate with you. In my experience dealing with shops, the latter seems to be more of an issue as I usually found that the shop owners were quite happy to have me shopping there and would be pretty nice. That was mostly in small towns, so that might not be true in larger towns with more tourists.

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abcdefg

@Hedwards, I agree a small tea shop would work just as well, especially if you go to a familiar one that you can trust. When I go to the wholesale market, the stores I visit are small ones, usually run by the owner or by a couple. Best if you're not dealing with a hired 售货员 sales clerk. 

 

As you found out, the people running these places generally love drinking tea and talking about it with others. If you buy something every now and then, all the better. But purchasing is not essential.

 

And you're absolutely right about communication being a crucial issue. Need to be able to talk Chinese. When I was starting out to learn about tea a few years back, I hired a teacher go go with me to the tea market. She would help me with the language if I got stuck real time while in the shop and we would review specialized terms afterwards.

 

Overall, I think a class or course would be best. Just don't know where to find one in Guangzhou, which I assume is where the Original Poster is located.

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