2012 Tao Tea Leaf China Spring Tea Tour
In April 2011, Tao, founder of Tao Tea Leaf, taken a small group (3 people) with him to China for a wonderful tea tour. The participants involved were: Tao Wu, founder of Tao Tea Leaf and leader of the tea tour; Bill Kamula, chef instructor at George Brown College responsible for teaching the Tea Sommelier course; Matthew Wocks, a Toronto based photographer (http://flimnit.com); and Tim Johns, chief software designer at Icewire Technologies. Read more about Our 2011 China Tea Tour
In April 2012, Tao is planning to bring another small group (at most 5 people) with him to China for a wonderful tea tour. During the tour, the group will meet tea masters and visit tea gardens of Pu-er tea, Black tea, Oolong tea, White tea, and Green tea; also we will meet Yixing Tea Pot master, the master will show us how to appreciate and use this type of teapot, will make a pot in front of you and you will have a chance make a Yixing clay cup by yourself.
Base on 2011 Tea Tour, The food will be great and the scenery will be breathtaking, resembling something out of National Geographic.
The tour will begin when all guests meet in Shanghai on April 14th and end on April 30th. To register for the tour, please contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 647-728-3858 before February 28,2012.
Tour date: April 14 (Beijing Time)– April 30, 2012 (exact dates subject to change)
Duration: 17 days in China
Tour cost: $ 3600 CAD
Single room supplement: $600
Minimum deposit: $1,500 (refundable until February 28, 2011)
Tour cost includes: All local travel, all meals, all hotels, and all entry fees to events/museums from April 14 to April 30.
After meeting in Shanghai, all costs are covered by tour cost.
Tour cost does not include: Airfare to and from Shanghai, local shopping, visas, immunizations, or tips
*Details are subject to change.
Day 1 (April 14):
To be on time for the beginning of this tour, you must arrive in Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport (airport code PVG) no later than Thursday, April 14, 2012(Beijing Time). After having dinner together, we will take a night walk on Nanjing Road, one of the world’s busiest shopping streets, to The Bund (Wai Tan), from which we can enjoy the best view of the amazing night skyline of Shanghai.
Day 2-3 (April 15-16):
In the morning of April 15th, we will travel to Yixing in Jiangsu province.This county-level city is famous for its exclusive Yixing clay (also called Zisha - Purple Sand) used for making Yixing clay teapot. We will start by visiting the Yixing teapot museum the Dragon Kiln from Qing Dynasty and the old village, also we will have a chance to see how they make the stone to Yixing clay. Then, we will meet the teapot master and the master will show us how to appreciate and use this type of teapot, will make a pot in front of you and you will have a chance make a Yixing clay cup by yourself. In this city, we will taste the local black tea Yi Hong.
In the evening of April 16, we will travel by car to Dong Shan (East Mountain) in Jiangsu province.
Day 4 (April 17):
The green tea Bi Luo Chun from Dong Shan is considered the best. We will hiking the Bi Luo Chun tea mountain and watch the tea being processed. We will also get to explore the South Tea Culture Museum and the old village. On this day, we will taste the Bi Luo Chun with a local tea master.
In the evening of April 17, we will travel back to Shanghai.
Day 5 (April 18):
We will then fly to the city of Xishuanbanna (Jinghong Airpot) in Yunnan province where we will stay overnight.
Our pu-er tea tour will start from here:
Pu-er tea is produced in almost every county and prefecture in Yunnan province, but the most famous pu-er areas are known as the Six Famous Tea Mountains. These tea mountains are located in Xishuangbanna and are renowned for their climates and environments, which not only provide excellent growing conditions for pu-er tea, but also produce unique taste profiles in the produced pu-er tea. This is why we will start here.
On our Pu-er tea trip, the local tea master will guide us to some tea village families and modern tea manufacturers, where we will observe the development of Pu-er tea, and learn about the difference between traditional and modern tea processing techniques. We will see more detail and more local culture while we will visit local ethnic minority villages to view their unique housing and building styles, and taste their food.
Day 6 (April 19):
We will bring some food with us for our lunch on the trip.
In the morning, we will drive about 3.5 hours to BanZhang Mountain to visit Xin (“new”) Banzhang and Lao (“old”) Banzhang villages. Banzhang is a Hani ethnicity village in the Bulang Mountains. In the Chinese tea market, Lao Ban Zhang is famously referred to as the King of Raw Pu-er tea because it is known for producing powerful and complex teas that are bitter with a sweet aftertaste. We will taste the difference between New and Old.
Day 7 (April 20):
We will visit the Yunan Puer Research Garden, in this garden; we will see many different varieties of Pu-er tea plants and the Pu-er tea culture. After this we will drive to Puer city which is China’s tea town, where we will learn about the processing of Dian Hong (Yunnan black tea) with a tea master.
Day 8 (April 21):
We will drive to Ninger. This county gets its name from pu-er tea due to its historical role in the tea trade in Ancient China. In Ninger, we will visit some famous tea manufacturers, learn about the modern processing techniques of pu-er tea, such as fermenting the Shu Cha, and taste many different teas.
Day 9 (April 22):
In the morning, we will watch the special process of "Cha Gao". This process refers to gradually removing the water from brewed pu-er tea (decoction) until it forms into a kind of tea jelly. It is pure pu-er tea essence that can be brewed on the go using either hot or cold water. Then will go the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Along this road, you will experience the process of ancient Chinese caravan. In the afternoon, we will drive to Kunming.
Day 10 (April 23):
From Yunnan, we will fly to Fujian province where we will stay in the Wuyi Mountains. Our oolong, black and white tea tour will start from here.
The Wuyi Mountains are a mountain range located the north of Fujian province.Mount Wuyi was listed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites, both natural and cultural. Numerous types of tea are produced around Mount Wuyi; it is the origin of the real Da Hong Pao tea and Lapsang souchong.
Day 11 (April 24):
In the morning, we will ride a bamboo boat on the River of Nine Bends where we will view the lovely scenery of the Wuyi Mountains. Then, we will hike up Mount Wuyi where we will see three of the original Da Hong Pao tea bushes. The Wuyi Mountains are renowned for their high diversity of fauna, which includes many rare and unusual species. About halfway up the mountain, we will have tea in a traditional tea house.
Day 12 (April 25):
We will drive up to Tong Mu Village which is located in the Wuyi Mountain National Natural Reserve and is the home of Lasang Souchong. We will meet the local most famous tea master and visit the old tea manufacturer which is over 100 years old, built by wood. We will learn about the whole process of producing smoked Lapsang Souchong. We will taste and learn about the most famous and expensive tea “Jinjunmei”.
Day 13 (April 26):
We will visit two famous oolong tea manufactures, meet the famous tea masters, visit some tea gardens, and learn about the old and modern processing of Wuyi Oolong tea. We will see different bushes, different roasting techniques and experience the difference in taste for different grades oolong tea.
Day 14 (April 27):
We will drive up to Zhenghe, the home of white tea, jasmine tea, and the famous black tea Zhenghe Gongfu. We will visit the small old village, see some wild ancient white tea plants,we will meet some tea masters and visit the tea garden to learn how they process white, black, and jasmine tea. Of course, we will taste the fresh spring teas.
Day 15 (April 28):
In the morning, we will visit the famous bamboo tea tray and accessories factory. We will see many different styles of tea related bamboo products. Afterwards, we will drive from Zhenghe to Mount Wuyi. We will then go to the local tea shop to have some tea and shop in Wuyii’s famous San Gu Market.
Day 16 (April 29):
In the morning, we will visit the very unique snake garden. In the afternoon, we will fly from the Wuyi mountain to Shanghai. Later, we will take a night walk on Nanjing Road.
Day 17 (April 30):
We will fly from Shanghai back home.
To register for the tour, please contact us by email or telephone. After signing up for the tour, the first things you should do are: get your Chinese visa, make sure you have adequate health insurance and travel insurance for travelling in China, and discuss immunization options with your doctor. Touring the Chinese countryside is physically demanding. On this tour, be prepared to walk, hike, and travel by bus and bamboo boat
After register, you will receive a full list for your preparations.
What to expect
"If you love or even have a passing interest in tea, you owe it to yourself to take the Tao Tea Leaf tour. I took the tour in 2011 and had such an amazing time. Having Tao as our tour guide really did “make” the whole experience. Tao speaks Chinese, which proved invaluable, but he also speaks the language of tea. We had access that I would not think possible, from picking our own tea in Jin Ping village to sampling some of the finest Pu-erh tea in old Banzhang villiage.
One of my favorite memories from the trip was the amazing food. Every province and town had a different cuisine and we tried everything. Tao made sure that no two meals were alike and he even got me a birthday cake on my birthday..
One of my favorite places on the tour was Xishing, where clay teapots are made. Not only did a teapot master build a teapot before our very eyes, he even guided us into forming and shaping our own clay cups.
I have nothing but positive things to say about the tour and would take it again in a heartbeat. I can’t imagine going back to China without Tao as my guide, he truly is the master of tea." — Matthew Wocks, Flimnit.com
“The 2011 Tea Tour was a wonderful and life changing experience. I never knew such simplistic beauty existed behind the beverage that is tea. I now drink tea every day and with each sip I am reminded of the heartfelt effort that went into its production.” — Tim Johns, Icewire Technologies