Annual tea festival begins at Yuyuan's historic pavilion

Yang Jian
Shanghai's annual tea festival began at Yuyuan Garden Malls to promote traditional tea cultures and the city's oldest teahouse, built over 150 years ago.
Yang Jian
Annual tea festival begins at Yuyuan's historic pavilion
Yang Jian / SHINE

Tea and snacks are served at the Mid-Lake Pavilion at the Yuyuan Garden Malls.

The 27th International Tea Culture Festival kicked off on the Zigzag Bridge at the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse, also known as Shanghai In Tea, at Yuyuan Garden Mall on Tuesday.

The teahouse, which is also the most traditional one in Shanghai, has hosted many important dignitaries from other countries, such as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and presidents and politicians from more than 20 countries.

Visitors can try out teas freshly made by tea masters, watch tea-related performances, experience the baking process of tea, and learn to recognize various teas and specialized wares.

The festival runs through April 28.

According to Yuyuan Inc, the owner of the malls' commercial properties, "the event aims to help people from both home and abroad better understand traditional tea culture and contribute to its heritage."

The teahouse will collaborate with French alcoholic beverage producer Pernod Ricard to explore how tea and alcohol cultures can be blended at the pavilion.

Annual tea festival begins at Yuyuan's historic pavilion
Ti Gong

Cocktail-making skills are part of the traditional tea ceremony activities.

Zou Yueping, the teahouse's senior tea art master and deputy manager, said, "The subtlety and restraint of tea and the passion of wine are two different ways to enjoy life and understand the world."

Zou, 51, has been at the pavilion for the past 28 years. In 1999, she served former German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroder at the pavilion.

"This combination of tea and alcohol can encourage more young customers to learn about and fall in love with traditional tea culture," Zhou told Shanghai Daily.

During the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), the pavilion was converted into the city's first teahouse in 1855. It grew in popularity as a meeting place for local scholars and calligraphers.

The teahouse is a two-story wooden pavilion covering 200 square meters, typical of the architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is decorated with complex carvings on pillars and divine animal statues on the roof.

It still has its original decoration styles, such as a wooden folding screen and a horizontally inscribed board.

The teahouse pavilion rose to prominence when it hosted Queen Elizabeth II in 1986. She sat at a rosewood round table near the east window, admiring the beautiful scenery.

The British queen also sipped Longjing tea while listening to traditional string and pipe music from China's Jiangnan region (the area south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River).

Annual tea festival begins at Yuyuan's historic pavilion

Visitors in hanfu costumes pose in front of the pavilion on the Zigzag Bridge.

If you go:

Venue: Yuyuan Garden Malls

Address: 265 Fangbang Road M.

Dates: Through April 28

Admission: free

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