Since China is considered as the birthplace of tea, the tea culture is much alive there, and in Hangzhou city, the love for tea lives on, thanks to the China Tea Museum, also called the National Tea Museum. The museum is China’s homage to the famous beverage, which plays a key role in the traditional cuisine of the Orient.
The China Tea Museum opened in Hangzhou, Zhejiang back in 1991. The 22,000-square-meter museum is currently one of the most interesting places in Hangzhou as it provides tourists with a unique place to go to so they can learn more about authentic Chinese tea. Nowhere else in China is there another museum wholly dedicated to tea, so it really is a must-see.
Things to do
The trip to the museum starts even before you get to the exhibits. Along the road leading to the museum, you will see one hundred Chinese characters that relate to tea; these help make the trip more interesting.
Once you get there, however, it’s easy to see that the China Tea Museum is unusual in more ways than one; aside from the fact that it is the only tea museum in China, it is also remarked upon due to its unique appearance. Instead of walls, the museum is enclosed by tea plants. These unique buildings are then grouped into four. Together they tell the true story behind Chinese tea. Visitors are encouraged to check out all of the buildings to get the whole picture of how tea began and how it grew. At the end of the trip, visitors can expect to be familiar with the true history of tea and all important details about tea harvest, tea brewing, and even the materials and utensils that are used to prepare tea.
The main exhibition building is the centerpiece of the museum. The exhibition building is divided into six different halls, namely:
• Hall of Tea History
• Kaleidoscope Hall
• Hall of Tea Properties
• Tea-Friendship Hall
• Tea Sets Hall
• Tea Customs Hall
As can be observed, the different halls focus on different aspects of Chinese tea culture. According to many visitors, the most interesting is the Tea Customs Hall, as it gives visitors a glimpse of how tea has affected the lives of China’s minority groups. Another noteworthy exhibit is the one offered in the Kaleidoscope Hall; as the name implies, the hall offers a mixture of over three hundred different kinds of teas, including the six basic types of Chinese tea as well as the many reprocessed types.
To learn more about the story of tea, visitors are advised to take one of the digital earphones being provided to guests upon arrival. Sometimes, tea art performances are also held at the museum.
Aside from being a museum, the China Tea Museum is also a research institution where tea lovers, tea aficionados, and tea entrepreneurs can go to attend conferences on tea culture. The work offered by researchers in the museum has gained acclaim from the government and from society itself.
But of course, aside from the exhibits, guests will also delight in the rich and lush tea-fields that surround the museum on all sides.
Finally, before you leave, drink some of the teas offered for taste at the museum. It will certainly be the highlight of your trip to the museum. The free tasting is offered in a separate reception area. There, the master tea brewers can give you a demonstration of how Chinese tea is prepared, and they can offer you some of the tea they prepare for taste.