Teahouse offers flavour and ancient aura
By Shao Xiaoyi
Hangzhou has been renowned for tea for more than 1,000 years, and
tea drinkers have always had the happy dilemma of choosing from
among many delicious beverages. Just as important as the type of
tea, however, is where you drink it. In Hangzhou, one of the best
is He Teahouse.
Run by antique collectors, He Teahouse looks more like a museum
than anything else. Mysterious and classic decorations from the
owners' collection make this a delightful choice from among the
city's hundreds of teahouses.
Opened in 1999, He Teahouse has three shops around the city. The
same quality teas are served in each shop, and while the decor varies
somewhat, patrons can still enjoy interesting Chinese antiques in
A quiet lane enclosed by urban infrastructure leads to the He Teahouse
in Huimin Lu.
A mahogany chair from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and a plate once
used by the Emperor Guangxu of the same era are displayed in the
show window, giving a hint of what can be seen inside. The museum-quality
pieces from ancient China allow tea lovers to linger in the world
of the past.
Artistically arranged antique furniture, sculptures, images of Buddha,
jewellery and tea cups harmonize with the atmosphere of tea culture.
Open seating is available on the first floor, but for a cozier and
more intimate atmosphere, private rooms with amber colour lighting
are available on the second floor.
The delicate tea aromas, the pleasure of drinking the tea, the light
music all combine to lure tea lovers to this marvellous teahouse.
Fifty varieties of fine tea, including Hangzhou's own Longjing green
tea (Dragon Well Tea), scented teas, jasmine and black teas are
Snacks of boiled dumplings, steamed stuffed buns, wontons, eight
treasure porridge, noodles and desserts are available.
Tea and snacks cost around 50 yuan (US$6) per person from 9 am to
6 pm or 6 pm to 2 am.
The art of tea drinking is demonstrated frequently. The water used
to make tea is from Hupao Spring in Hangzhou, one of China's best-known
three springs, to ensure the tea's high-quality taste.
Pang Ying, the manager of the He Teahouse, believes the Chinese-style
teahouse is the perfect place for people to relax with friends,
talk business or hold a party for family members.
Foreigners come to the teahouse to drink Chinese tea and learn more
about tea culture, said Pang, who is an ardent admirer of the culture
and ancient objects.
Pang said He Teahouse came into being mainly because her friend
and eventual business partner had a collection of antiques that
was too big to put in a private house. Opening a teahouse solved
the space problem and offered the added advantage of letting more
people enjoy the ancient art objects.
Pang has travelled around the country to collect antiques while
trying different types of tea to add to the menu.
"I hope more Chinese people will pay attention to their own
tea culture. Many young people think tea is a drink for older people
and that the taste is bitter," said Pang.
"Actually, China has hundreds of types of teas which can suit
There are about 1,000 teahouses in Hangzhou. According to a recent
survey, more than 48 per cent of Hangzhou citizens drink tea regularly
while only 9 per cent do not drink tea daily.
77 Huimin Lu, Hangzhou
40-42, Qiushi Lu
Shi Wudong Park
Average cost: 50-68 yuan