Where to Buy Tea in Shanghai

Sometimes friends ask me about where to buy something in Shanghai, like tea, food, silk, computer, mobile, or anything, you name it.

The challenge is, there are so many places to buy something, but when you ask me to figure out a single place, it is often hard to do that.

Just like this afternoon, when I am asked about “Where to buy tea?” near Xintiandi, my brain is completely empty. You know what, the only place I have immediately in my mind is either the shops in Carrefour, or in Hymall. Both are very far away.

So finally, we found there is a shop in Xintiandi to have tea, also, in Pacific Department Store, there are many – yes, many – tea shops in B2, and along Huaihai Road, there are also many. Well. You see, sometimes there are just too many places that you can not easily figure out.

Well. Someone Calls me a Shanghai Hater

I receive email in my mail box with comment about my blog Avoid Hong Qiao Airport on Friday Night

Wow you are like a tourist….Everyone knows what you do is walk outside of Airport turn right, go down two or three blocks to main st. and you will find a Green Taxi all the time in less then three minutes…I land at this airport 50 or 60 times a year…It is very simple……also you can take a bus to downtown Shanghai for almost nothing………I think it is a shame that you dislike Shanghai so much and you give people such Bias information about Shanghai….I am an American who has traveled extensively in China for almost 30 years. I have spend 4 to 5 months a year in China. I have a home in Shanghai and a home in New York……..

and then another one:

WARNING THE ADVICE ON THIS BLOG ABOUT SHANGHAI IS NOT CORRECT

THE PERSON WHO WRITES THIS BLOG IS A SHANGHAI HATER…KEEP THAT IN MIND……..

Hehe. This is just some sample emails I get after I publish Shanghai information daily. It is understandable. I was called “A Shanghai Hater”, like in this comments, or “Government agency”, or “Writer hired by CCP” or “Person who don’t have any respect to human being”, or …. (just name a few in my recent email). Well. I am not concerned about it.

I have the great opportunity to DIRECTLY communicate with every single person, and I see how difference people’s point of view is, and exactly how the “Elephant and Blind Men” theory works. From the single entry, I believe it is pretty fare to say I am a “Shanghai Hater”. :-) No one – I believe, in this world – has every read everything single post I wrote (I think so because sometimes I even didn’t read twice about what I post), and it is very easy to get an incomplete image.

What many people and cases have taught me is, always, always separate what people talk about your NAME with the real person. Recently, there are some rumors about me again on the Internet. Don’t worry. I read all the articles (some on headlines) with great interest and says: “Hmmm. This guy named Wang seems to be an interesting. Anyone know him?”…

22 Comments

  1. I know on Fuzhou Lu, there are some retailers for tea companies from zhejiang and other provinces. They typically have fresh tea leaves (about the only thing you should really drink anyhow, less than a year old for green tea) and fair prices. I would definitely avoid any places in tourist traps like Yu Yuan or Xin Tian Di. Just my two cents.

  2. I have just bought some good tea for some guy from the Egyptian Consulate General in Shanghai. Since I am living in Hangzhou, I bought the Dragon Well green tea at the Dragon Well Village. It’s this year’s new tea, picked before the Bright and Clear Day. You know what kind of festival it is, don’t you? If you don’t, please refer to http://www.xujianfeng.com/index.php?paged=2

    If you do want the best green tea and can afford a price of 600 yuan for one kilo, you can contact me. Trust me, I work for the Foreign Affairs Office of Hangzhou City Government, and I would have no heart to gain any commission off your buy. You pay for the tea and the express delivery, and I can ship it to you in no time. Anyway, you can rest assured you will get the authentic Dragon Well tea from Hangzhou. You know, too much fake dragon well tea in the market.

    Still sounds like a money-hungry dealer? Okay, you can just ignore my babble here.

  3. Jian Shuo, How could it be? You are a Shanghai Hater???

    I am now working in Shanghai and I understand the traffic situation here. I think some people must have misunderstood your good intention. Thanks to your blogs, the information is very useful. I am adapting well and feeling at home here.

    Ikea, about the tea, may I know which part of Fuzhou Lu? I am staying nearby. Thanks.

  4. Recommend you two tea-mall

    Tianshan Tea Mall

    Add: No.520 West Zhongshan Road, Changning District

    Shanghai International Tea city

    No.1536 Gonghexin Road Zhabei district

  5. Thanks, tea-talk.

  6. If you want to buy some Pu’er tea,i can recommend a very good place to buy.

    the address:No.618 Shangcheng Rd ,Pudong,Shanghai(near West Laoshan Rd)

    The boss ia Yunnan native and it sells Pu’er tea only.You can also buy some cup and teapot there.

    i am convinced that you will like it.

  7. If you cut and pasted that rant about you being a ‘Shanghai hater’, I doubt that it was written by a native English speaker. The errors are more typical of someone who is using English as a second language.

  8. I agree with Pat, the English was a bit off. I believe you…I didn’t have to fly out of H.Q. but had a roommate who did. Thanks for the tea-buying info. My question is, can you drink bagged greeen tea after 3 years? I had bought some to give away and still have it here in the US, unopened.

    Have fun during the May break!

  9. I am a chinese, living in Shanghai,and my english is a bit off…

    There is a tea mall at DaTong RD near Shanghai Railway Station.

    You can get a very very low price there.

    I don’t how to decribe it,em… if you go there , don’t go alone,or they will sell someting not fresh or sell goods at a high price.so take your trust chinese workmates ,friends…

    Can my words be understood?

  10. First off, Zhengwen, I understand you perfectly although your English has plenty room to improve; however I give you credit for willing to give it a try. With time, you should improve.

    Speaking of where to buy tea, obviously there are many places you can go to, such as tea shops, supermarkets etc. I liked going to Tien-Fu Tea Shops, which have chain stores throughout Shanghai and perhaps in other cities as well. You can sample the teas you’re interested in. The saleslady there will brew tea she scoops out fromthe big containers. You can smell if they are fresh. If you live in Shanghai, buy just 200 grams of it first and try them at home. If you like it, then go back and buy more. I wouldn’t buy too much though cause you can always go back and buy more. They will vaccum pack it for you.

    A word of caution: Avoid buying tea from tourist areas. They know you are just toursts and will probably never go back. Once I bought 500 grams of Longjin (green tea) only to find that the tea contained a lot of particles floating ot the top. I wonder if the shop owners add something to increase the weight. Also try not to buy teas from places the tour guides take you too. Many tour guides take tourists to tea farms and take a 30+% kickbacks. They let you sit down and watch a tea ceremony and sample the teas. The teas you sampled are all fresh with good smell, but when you buy them in cans, some are stale. Plus, the prices are so high they are for tourists, who don’t know better. Years ago before I moved to Shanghai, I went on a tour to Hangzhou where many tea farms exist. The demonstrators did such good jobs selling, people in our group bought tons of tea. When they arrived in Shanghai and visited some tea shops, they realize they paid TOO much in Hangzhou. When in Hangzhou, you will find many peddlers swarming to tourist buses selling teas and scarves. I was told some cans contains good tea leaves on the top only, and underneath is poor quality teas. By the way, some peddlers sell silk scarves very cheap when you board the buses. If you do want to buy, then you better take out the scarves from the plastic bags befoe you pay. I know people on our bus bought a few dozens and then found out the scarves are only half the size they ought to be. Of course, I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my seat.

    tw

  11. Any more recommendations about buying tea in Shanghai?

    I recently wandered past a tea shop located in Xintiandi. Everything there was beautifully presented and at least had at least an appearance of high quality, but I resisted buying because the prices seemed exorbitant.

    What about smaller teashops run by individual merchants? recently I remember coming across one on a side street not far from Nanjing Lu. Once again I resisted buying because I did not know what prices should be. Are teas in these shops usually marked up a certain percentage and need to be bargained down?

    If someone has a link to a site out there which lists the proper values for different types of tea generally available here, that would be great!

    I would also like to know a place where you can get good quality tea-ware at fair prices, like the clay teapot sets, etc. Can anybody give some suggestions?

    thanks

  12. Good Day,

    My name is lawrence peter.i deal in tea and suger,i have a very big store in my country.i sale in wholesale,and am trying to be a good international businessman,i love to do some business with you,i want to buy some tea and some suger in buck,like 50Kg each.please get back to me asap if you have them in store,and full detail if the cost.you can contact me…lawrence_peter02@yahoo.com

  13. Isabelle Bouchard

    August 30, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Hi,

    I visited Shanghai today. I chatted for few minutes with 5 students in people place. They invited me to join them to a Tea Ceremony. I accepted. I felt so good to spend time with young students, I enjoyed talking with them about China, their school and Canada. When the bill came at the end, I felt very stupid. It cost me 600 rnb, almost 100$ canadian for tasting 5 very small cups of tea and to buy 100gr of green tea. Now, believe me, I won’t talk to anyone else in here. The people here are not honest.

    Isabelle Bouchard

    Québec, Canada

  14. I have been to a tea market here in Shanghai, should be the only one, right behind central train station, I am browsing my name card holder trying to find it, will add it as soon as found.

  15. I hope I did not overlook this one and somebody posted it before:

    A big tea market with probably around 100 stalls is on Jiuxing building material market. A funny location somehow but it is really good and you can find a lot of bargains. And everything related to tea, from packing over tea services to furniture.

    JiuXing market is located along A20, south of Hongqiao airport. You can take either exit Caobao Lu or Gudai Lu. And although the material market stretches along the whole length between those two exits (east side of A20) everybody there can tell you how to find the tea area (it is east of the bathroom and tile section).

  16. Hi,

    Sorry I will be talking about tea again! I heard all that stories about the museum close to people square. Some people here are very crazy to make tourists buy whatever (trust me I am very far from looking like a chinese, and as a ‘chocolate skin’ I experince it too!) . Whatever.

    If you want to really learn about tea, you better take some classes or ask someone who knows! here is a bit of promotion, because I work for a chinese company that organize such training (mainly for local people!!!) otherwise! even the most simple tea house will always rip you off! And if you like tea that’s probably the best way to get to know something!

    And their is no fake announcement here; our price is between 10 and 25euros. (at least it gives you an idea)

    Enough with this !!

    But anyway i really believe what i say! The big difficulty in shanghai is that you never know when you are getting ripted off. sometimes i ask my chinese flatmate, but she always say ‘it’s a cool price’ (as she is trying to be nice too) So at the end you never know the truth! And this tends to piss me of quite a lot! that goes for every things, like buying food, taxi , rent a appartment or else!

    Anyway guys if ever you want to really learn something about tea, you can drop me a mail nannecy.dulin@hotmail.fr (and you can search me on linkedin or else! because I believe in what i say.)

    Cheers!

  17. Isabelle,

    I wish I had read your post 12 hours ago! I too had the honor of attending a “tea ceremony” today that cost me about 900 RNB. Were the two “student” you attended it with a young male and female? Quite a scam they have going on there. They were quite convincing.

  18. I am sorry that Ryan and Isabelle experienced this. I feel bad about this type of scam happening everyday in Shanghai. Hm… Sorry for that.

  19. I just bought green tea in the area right behind the Rennisance Hotel. There were many shops and one that was a tea shop. Seemed a bit pricey. I paid 200 RNB for 350 grams of a variety of green tea that I sampled. They started off at 400 RNB

    What have others paid?

  20. Well I am not a Shanghai lover myself. But I don’t hate it, I love the rest of China.

    We bought delicious Puer tea at the Guangzhou tea market at 80 Yuan per 350 gr cake of 5 year old “Yunnan Chi Tse Beeng Cha”. You should have seen our faces when we saw the exact same tea in the exact same wrapping at 1200 yuan (one thousand two hundred yuan!) in the Shanghai airport!

    By then we realised that EVERTHING in Shanghai Airport was sold at 10 times the normal price. Including the Chinese paper cuttings at 400 yuan which we bought at 40 yuan in Zhujiajiao (one hour bus ride from Shanghai) from master Cheng, winner of the 2008 Chinese Paper Cutting Championship.

    We have seen decent tea shops nearly in every city but not in Shanghai. You will get the best deal in Shanghai in any local supermarket (not in the department stores). Try out the shops in Qibao Old Town (metro station Qibao) if you can stand the crowd, but don’t expect miracles: we are tourists!

  21. If you buy some tea ,I give you an address.you will get very nice tea and good price.this place is very easy to find.

    the shop is in 4th floor,No 580 west Nanjing.

    Actually ,many friends have been to there before.but this tea house is in the top floor,so sometime it’s difficult to find it.Trust me:you don’t have to buy anything there ,you also can taste the tea.Really nice

  22. Please, am in Ghana where can I get your products to buy

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