Hangzhou's free tea a cool idea for summer

Wu Huixin
Visitors to the West Lake scenic area are being offered a refreshing drink of tea to keep them cool in the scorching heat in one of China's 'furnace cities."
Wu Huixin
Hangzhou's free tea a cool idea for summer
Ti Gong

Tea art performers wearing traditional Chinese costume wait to provide free cool tea including green tea, black tea, lemon tea, dried flower tea and lotus leaves tea to visitors at the West Lake scenic area during the summer heat. 

There is nothing more refreshing than a cup of cool tea on a hot day in Hangzhou, known throughout China as a “furnace city.” For around nine years, tea has been offered to pedestrians for free at this time of the year.

From July 22, visitors to the West Lake scenic area can grab a cup of free tea at six stalls run by residents and the local government.

Organizers provide disposable paper cups, but it’s recommended that people bring their own bottles to save resources.

Servers at the stalls come from neighboring residential communities. They use their own recipes — green tea, black tea, lemon tea and the local specialties including dried flower tea and lotus leaves tea.

Lotuses are used in traditional Chinese medicine to clear internal heat and stimulate fluids.

TCM practitioners believe that the body’s inner heat becomes excessive and has to be removed during summer. Lotus leaves are considered the simplest ingredient to cool down the inner yang (hot energy).

Hangzhou's free tea a cool idea for summer
Ti Gong

Volunteers fill visitors’ bottles with cool tea at the West Lake scenic area in hot summer days. They will provide the service through early October, serving people during the hottest months and the weeklong National Day holiday.

Hangzhou's free tea a cool idea for summer
Ti Gong

The stall at the gate of Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden is the only one brewing lotus leaves tea. The garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in summer as it is ablaze with pink flowers. Nestled northwest of West Lake, it has 10 lotus ponds of various sizes and shapes, featuring dozens of species.

The tea stalls benefit tens of thousands of people a year in the scorching heat summer. They will run through early October, serving people during the hottest months and the weeklong National Day holiday.

This year, organizers are also offering free water for visitors.

Chinese tea ceremonies are performed in an effort to promote Hangzhou’s long history of tea culture to tourists. 

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