Fangcun Tea Market

Travel logs and questions
Post Reply
User avatar
mudandleaves
Vendor
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:50 pm
Location: Guangzhou, China/Ottawa
Contact:

Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:39 pm

This week's blog entry is about Fangcun Tea Market, the largest tea market in China:
.
.
https://www.mudandleaves.com/teatime-bl ... tea-market
.
.
IMG_1900.jpeg
IMG_1900.jpeg (293.15 KiB) Viewed 546 times
User avatar
Victoria
Admin
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Sun May 12, 2019 4:17 pm

Just read your post, good introduction to Fangcun, links nicely with @Bok’s entry. I also moved it to Travel, as it is a good reference for anyone thinking of going there.
User avatar
Bok
Posts: 1873
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:55 am
Location: Taiwan

Sun May 12, 2019 10:26 pm

Nice pictures, which is what I shamefully omitted in my own entry about this place... too overwhelmed I guess. Most of it is also not exactly pretty, tea markets in China are dusty, grey and not very picturesque places... saw some funky stuff though, like tea wrapped in what looked like animal hides.

Maybe a bit more background could be helpful, apart from the basic tourist bureau stuff?
Like I would say it is wise (if one dares to try to buy something without guidance), to stick to shops which specialise in something, rather than the generalists who sell a bit of everything. They all sell Pu-erh for economic reasons, which one needs to filter out.

Another thing I was advised by a local is to try to buy from someone who is from the region the tea is from. Which is how it is in most cases anyways it seems. Positive is that there is no cat-calling customers to go into shops.
User avatar
mudandleaves
Vendor
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:50 pm
Location: Guangzhou, China/Ottawa
Contact:

Mon May 13, 2019 9:46 am

Bok wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 10:26 pm
Nice pictures, which is what I shamefully omitted in my own entry about this place... too overwhelmed I guess. Most of it is also not exactly pretty, tea markets in China are dusty, grey and not very picturesque places... saw some funky stuff though, like tea wrapped in what looked like animal hides.

Maybe a bit more background could be helpful, apart from the basic tourist bureau stuff?
Like I would say it is wise (if one dares to try to buy something without guidance), to stick to shops which specialise in something, rather than the generalists who sell a bit of everything. They all sell Pu-erh for economic reasons, which one needs to filter out.

Another thing I was advised by a local is to try to buy from someone who is from the region the tea is from. Which is how it is in most cases anyways it seems. Positive is that there is no cat-calling customers to go into shops.
The problem is that Fangcun is large enough and diverse enough that it is hard to give a fair description without either 1) only focusing on a handful of vendors or 2) falling back on (often-misleading) generalizations.

I was going to generalize and say that many of the vendors tend to be from Fujian or Guangdong (many from Chaozhou), since almost all of the tea vendors I have met have been southerners. However, saying this, I can think of a few notable exceptions, such as the Tibetan Tea Shop in the first tea market building run by a northerner.

I was discussing this with my partner Siyan, and she had the same conclusion after half a decade working with the Tea Committee in Guangzhou: It doesn't matter whether the person is from the region or not. It's a very mature industry where many have entered from the outside and spent years learning their craft and trade. We have had excellent Taiwanese tea from a Hainan vendor, excellent puer from Cantonese vendors. You see this in the ceramics industry in China as well, where places like Yixing and Jingdezhen will attract artists from other regions who move there and learn their craft.

They don't all sell puer either. One example that springs to mind is a vendor in the smaller complex who specializes in yancha and only sells oolong and black tea from the wuyi mountain area. She is from Anxi, and first learned how to roast tieguanyin (she does it the traditional way), before going on to specialize in yancha. Her yancha is quite good, both for daily-drinking and for her very high-grade stuff.

There are some tieguanyin-only vendors that sell dreck. Many of these are or claim to be from Anxi Fujian.

It is hard to generalize. There are good and bad specialists, and there are some great shops that carry many varieties of tea (including puer).

My advice would be to be wary of any vendor who appears desperate for customers. Aside from that, try talking with the vendor to get a feeling for the kind of tea they source and how they run their business, and more importantly, trying as many samples from as many shops as possible. Unfortunately, without knowing the reputation of a shop beforehand or having an introduction, this is the only real way to find out what's good and what isn't.
User avatar
Bok
Posts: 1873
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:55 am
Location: Taiwan

Mon May 13, 2019 10:34 am

@mudandleaves good statement! Add all this to the blog entry and it’s perfect! :)

Of course you right not to generalise, in this case with such a huge tea place generalisation helps for quick orientation, yet as you say keep an open mind and try try try.
Post Reply