On my recent trip to China, I visited many different tea houses. Most were small, local establishments that weren’t particularly unique or special. Not unlike a neighborhood bar around the U.S., each one was only slightly different. Some were a little shabbier, some a little hipper; a few were busy and others appeared to be deserted. I was surprised to see that, unlike the extremely low cost of food at local restaurants, the price of tea at a tea house, or restaurant for that matter, was almost comparable to prices here at home. The tea was often served in a tall glass where the leaves were allowed to swirl around until they finally sank to the bottom of the glass. Glasses were refilled periodically with hot water. There was, however, an exception that I’d love to share with you.

En route to visit a tea garden, we stopped in Long Jing and were enchanted by the old world village we found. It reminded me of Tuscany, winding its way around a mountain. Instead of olive groves or vineyards, I was surrounded by tea gardens. In this home of the famous Dragon Well tea (Long Jing means Dragon Well), we climbed to the very top of the town and found the quintessential tea house.

I must say it actually exceeded my fantasy of what a tea house in China would be like. I doubt I’ll ever find another tea house that is as beautiful. The manicured tea gardens actually surround the tea house which is nestled in the vibrant hills. I’m sure this is where tea heaven is located.