Tea culture comes to live at Wuyutai
Updated: 2010-12-21 09:48
By Huang Lan (chinadaily.com.cn)
Wuyutai is a name known to almost every tea lover in Beijing. First established in 1887, Wuyutai enjoys fame as one of the Time-Honored Brands of China, and is well-known for its high-quality tea products and hospitable service.
The history of the teahouse is encapsulated in its name. Wu Xiqing, its founder, came from Anhui province to open a tea store in Beijing during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Wu named the shop Yutai, which was later updated to include his family name.
Wuyutai is most famous for its secret jasmine tea recipe - a sought-after mixture of green tea and jasmine that rings the right note for tea lovers. And it is in the process of applying to make jasmine tea part of Beijing's intangible cultural heritage.
After over a century's development, Wuyutai Tea House, which was renamed Beijing Wuyutai Tea Co in 2005, has more than 190 chain stores, two tea houses and two stylish tea cuisine restaurants.
For over 120 years, Wuyutai has been holding up its traditional tea producing methods and has won high reputation and credibility among generations of tea lovers.
People in Beijing like to go to tea houses. In olden days, they used to be the center of social activity. Nowadays, tea houses are still considered an ideal venue for socializing. The preparation of tea is an important part of the Chinese tea culture. Different kinds of tea require different methods of preparation. Offering tea is considered a sign of respect, courtesy and gratitude.
Along with Wuyutai's renowned traditional tea products, the company has developed various new products to expand its market share; namely, tea-flavored moon cakes, ice cream, candy and cuisines.
At the end of 2006, Wuyutai recovered an old tea cuisine recipe that belonged to Wu Xiqing, who was also a gourmet cook and was keen on introducing tea elements to traditional Chinese cuisines.
At the Refreshments and Cuisine of Wuyutai Court (Wuyutai Nei Fu Dishes), you can not only enjoy tea beverages, but also taste tea-related cuisines. Wuyutai advocates a healthy and natural way of eating. The dishes on its menu are mouthwatering and creative.
For instance, Puer Tea with Natural Fried Chrysanthemum is cooked so delicately from fresh chrysanthemum flowers without losing the natural shape or color of the flower. And the Puer tea on the side neutralizes the flower's coolness with its warmth.
Fresh Shrimps with Biluo Tea is quite fun to eat. The teapot alongside the shrimp is an automatic dark-red enamel pot, which pours tea automatically as soon as a cup is placed on the base.
And the "brushes" on this pallet are not made for Chinese calligraphy but for your stomach. This snack is made of wheat flour mixed with cubilose, shark's fin, snow clam and papaya. The ink-like stuff on the inkstone is actually blueberry sauce. You can also choose chili sauce if you prefer.
And one appetizer is made from French goose liver and green tea pudding. There's a piece of Kuding tea leaf on each cube of pudding. The appetizer combines the bitterness of Kuding tea with the scent of green tea, as well as the creamy texture of goose liver.
Eating at the Wuyutai theme restaurant is more than just a tea banquet. While you are dinning here, you can also feel the traditional Chinese tea culture and see how it was rejuvenated under Wuyutai's business philosophy.
Video: Huang Lan
Photo: Wu Chuanjing
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