National Tea Museum is situated in the Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea plantation near West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. The building complex in 'Jiang Nan water-town' is a perfect example of ancient Chinese civilian architecture. The museum was first built in 1987 and opened to public in April 1991, occupying a total construction area of 3500 square meters (less than one acre).
National Tea Museum is the only state-level museum specialized in the theme of tea culture. It is also the largest tea museum in China with the most comprehensive collection of tea utensils and other relative exhibits on view. The museum is made up of five themed buildings: exhibition, tea drinking, tea performance, multiple functions, and international exchanges. The exhibition hall is the main body of the museum. Branching off it are areas dedicated to the history of Chinese tea, tea drinking customs, tea utensils used in past dynasties, and the knowledge surrounding tea culture, and even the complicated process of picking and roasting tea leaf.
The two locations dedicated to tea drinking and tea performance are designed to introduce the ways of drinking tea and show the diverse tea-related performances in different regions of the world. The two are also considered the denotation and supplement for tea culture. 7 Visitors here not only appreciate but also take part in the tea-drinking ceremony. Guests can choose their own particular tea, for example the Chinese Longjing tea named as the imperial tea by the Emperor Qianlong during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The multiple function rooms generally hold international seminars and exchanges on any sort of tea culture. That is to say, National Tea Museum would rather be an international-level research center on tea and tea-related culture than just a museum showing the history of tea. Each year, tea professionals and aficionados come to Hangzhou city from all over the world for the 'West Lake International Tea Festival'. Tea, as the symbol of world peace and friendship, connects people from all over the world.It occupies an area of 3,500 square meters and comprises 4 groups of buildings with displays outlining the traditions of growing tea south of the Yangtze River. Here you can learn about the history of tea, the best varieties and the etiquette of tea drinking in China.
The four separated buildings are respectively of exhibition, tea sipping and tasting, tea service ceremony, and multi-function. The exhibition building is again divided into 6 exhibition zones, including history of tea-growing, the varieties and distribution of tea in China, events related to tea, various tea utensils used in the old dynasties and tea-drinking habits in different parts of China with tea-related culture. Visitors can also learn about the scientific and technological aspects of tea growing and processing.
No.2 building has been a fine locale for a number of cultural activities on tea, including a series of international seminars on tea culture and exchange.
No. 3 and 4 buildings serve as tea drinking and performance sections, which not only introduce you the way to drink tea in detail, but also display various drinking rituals seen in different provinces and foreign countries.
National Tea Museum plays an important role on the tea stage and offers the chance and space for international research and exchange about tea and tea culture. So far, the museum has been a hot tourist spot and an educational base that attracts millions of people from both home and abroad. Undoubtedly, National Tea Museum will help begin a new era in tea development.
Dragon Well Tea
Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea is most famous for its unique fragrance and flavor; flat, slender strips of tea leaves in bright green liquid. Furthermore, Longjing tea aids one's health in many ways regardless of your age. It is used to deter food poisoning, refresh the body, stop cavities, fight viruses, control high blood pressure, lower the blood sugar level, and to prevent cancer. Hence, Longjing tea is regarded as the elixir for health and is widely sold and accepted all over the world.
The name Longjing is from a small village on the Fenghuang Hill, in Hangzhou Zhengjiang Province. It is said that residents in ancient times believed that a dragon dwelled there and controlled the rainfall. As a result, people went there from all the surrounding areas whenever there was a drought to pray for rainfall, from as early as the Three Kingdoms Period (221-280).
Longjing tea is grown in the Longjing mountain area of Hangzhou, southwest of the West Lake. The fertile land is both rich in phosphorus and sub-acidic sand. This region prevents the cold current from the north and holds back the warm current from the south, thus the growing area of Longjing tea can be coated by cloud and mist for long periods of time. With such favorable growing conditions, needless to say, Longjing tea is considered the best tea in China.
The tea has a long history; more than 1000 years. Its earliest record may be found in the book named chajing, the first book on tea in the world, written by the Chinese expert of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Lu Yu. Longjing tea was not given its name until the Southern Song Dynasty. Hangzhou as the capital of the country carried out further development in tea production. Knowledge of the tea began to spread and became known all over the country by the times of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties.
Especially in the Qing Dynasty, the fame of Longjing tea became widespread throughout the country. One of the most remarkable emperors of the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong, paid four visits to the growing area of Longjing tea, not only to enjoy sipping tea, and to write and sing poems to praise the tea, but also to watch the process of picking and roasting it with serious intent. He was so interested in Longjing tea that he named the eighteen tea trees in front of the Hugong Temple "royal tea". From that time forward, the tea became increasingly popular for everyone.
By the early 20th century, Longjing tea was witnessing its highest popularity in history. The Chinese government has made a great effort to promote it and introduce advanced technology in planting, picking and roasting of the tea since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Subsequently, a high quality standards system for tea grading was set up. All these innovations contributed to the standardization of the tea production.
According to local custom, the right time for picking the tea leaves is very short. The period between Qing Ming and Grain Rain (from April 5 to 21) each year is generally considered the prime time to get the highest quality Longjing tea. The brewing method we highly recommended is to put a pinch of dry, roasted tea leaves into a porcelain or transparent glass cup and pour hot water at about 85C into the cup. Sip and enjoy!
In conclusion, Longjng tea is famous both because of its good quality, as well as its historical interest and the cultural connotation it has endured. Chinese Longjing tea has not only the value of tea when it is consumed, but it is also the symbol of cultural values of China.
8:30-16:30 (Oct. 8 - the next Apr. 30); 9:00-17:00 (May 1 - Oct. 7) Close on Monday
Take bus 27 or Y3 (Tourism Bus Line 3) and get off at Shuangfeng Station.