Sunday, October 01, 2006


Green Tea

Green tea is good for you! Loads of people carry around some kind of jar or pot, with a handful of green tea in the bottom, and water in the rest. Once you've drunk the tea, the jar's refilled. They must've been doing this for a while because you can now get purpose built tea jars, with a strap, and an inbuilt filter to stop the leaves getting in your mouth while you gulp it down. I have one!

My "Plain Sailing" tea jar

Originally I was re-using a drink jar for the purpose - the fruit drinks in China are a million times better than the selection in Europe, there are very few fizzy artificial things (although the ones you do find are ace!) and mainly loads of nice gulpable fruit drinks, some with actual bits of fruit in. They're probably full of toxic chemicals and stuff, but they taste really, really good, and are cheap! You can get a great green tea cold bottled drink, and if you want hot stuff, there are many grades of green tea leaf. I accidentally spent 40 yuan on 50g of Oolong yesterday, though it did taste pretty nice. There's a great tea shop in Fuzi Miao where you sit down to test teas, made by someone who's been to Tea University. There was also Jasmine tea - 4 grades of it! - and we got some of that too.

Loose Jasmine tea. The flowers unfurl when you add water

If you're in the states, you can buy green tea and really high grade tea online.

Speaking of jasmine tea - it's not just green tea that's drunk here. I saw an old dude with red beany things in his tea jar, and bought some at RT-Mart a few days later. Turns out they were dried medlar berries (I haven't heard of them either - also known as loquat) and were ok. We've got random flowers and stuff to put in the tea jar. The Chinese version of camcmile tea (if you like that sort of thing) is way better than some stuff in a bag, like we get in the UK, you get actual camomile flowers and just put them in your teapot along with hot water! How cool is that! You can see them all through the clear tea jar, and appearances definitely do count when your tea looks this good.

Medlar berry tea

Camomile tea

Clover tea

Colourful looking tea - no idea what it is!

One of my friends went to Xinjiekou and found a strange rolled up ball (about 2cm wide) to put in tea. It's a flower with leaves also and it puts out a "root" when you add water, then unfurls into this beautiful white flower, complete with stalk, after a few minutes. It's good for five or six refills, and the tea tastes excellent too.