Where to Buy Tea Leaves and Tea Sets
Shanghai presents the tea lover with an embarras de richesses. Good tea leaves can be found just about anywhere.
**Supermarkets** like **[Carrefour](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/supermarkets/has/carrefour-supermarket6/)** and **Hymall**, and **food markets** like **[Shanghai No. 1 Food Store](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/supermarkets/has/shanghai-first-food-store/)** on Nanjing Dong Lu are accessible to the layman. The downside is that the person manning the tea counter may not be of much help.
Warm and informed staff serve up a variety of decent teas and sweets to accompany at the **ubiquitous Taiwanese specialty chain** [**Ten Fu's Tea**](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/shanghai_markets/has/ten-fus-tea/). Locals are attracted by the shops’ guarantee of quality at reasonable prices. You can sample before buying.
Worth a visit, [**Cheng Yuxin Tea Store**](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/supermarkets/has/cheng-yuxin-tea-store/) was established over 160 years ago and is the **oldest tea shop in Shanghai.** For a splurge, treat yourself to teas picked from the wild beyond the reach of insecticides.
Tea markets are ideal places to spend a day smelling and sipping tea and learning from vendors, many of whom are also tea fanatics. Giant, drafty **[Tianshan Tea City](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/shanghai_markets/has/tianshan-tea-city/)** has 150 crowded stalls hawking thousands of varieties of leaves. Of these, regional varieties of *longjing* are most popular. But beware the *laowai* pricing, and bargain hard. As a rule of thumb, mid-range teas run about ￥60 to 180 per 500g.
Tianshan was founded as a wholesale market but now mostly serves tea drinkers directly. Several other **wholesale tea markets** -- [**Daning International Tea City**](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/shanghai_markets/has/daning-international-tea-city/) (formerly known as Datong Road Tea Market) and **[Jiuxing Tea Wholesale Market](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/shanghai_markets/has/jiuxing-tea-leaf-wholesale-market/)** in Puxi, and [**Hengda Tea Wholesale Market**](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/supermarkets/has/hengda-tea-wholesale-market/) in Pudong -- target area resellers, and can sometimes offer a better deal for individuals.
All of these tea markets also sell high quality tea wares that would make impressive gifts.
#Tea Sets to Get You Started
Tea newbies would be wise to invest in a
glass set. The transparent exterior allows the
drinker to watch the leaves as they transform
during the steeping process. For flower teas,
especially "blossom teas" that unfurl to reveal
whole flowers, glass is ideal. Another benefit is
that glass is unlikely to contain lead and other
metals sometimes found in local ceramic
glazes. For an inexpensive glass teapot, try
local markets like Tianshan, Daning or others mentioned above
###Porcelain / Ceramic
A porcelain teapot is the classic way to drink
Chinese tea. For aromatic teas, this should
be your weapon of choice. Because porcelain
doesn't absorb the flavors and scents of the
tea, it can be used to brew any variety of tea.
Greens, whites, flower teas and some *oolongs*
work well in porcelain. You can find sets
in local tea markets, but be careful of
fakes. Or head to [SPIN](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/homeware/has/spin-ceramics-art-workshop/) and check out lovely, simple sets by international ceramic artists.
A true tea lover's most prized possession is
the *zisha yixing* teapot. Made of a porous,
unglazed clay, this teapot absorbs the tea's
aromas and minerals with each brewing.
To avoid confusing its flavors, a *zisha* pot
should only be used with the type of leaf first
steeped in it. Perfect for aged *pu'er*, a "seasoned"
*zisha* teapot makes for an unparalleled
tea experience. Get yours at the Taiwanese specialty chain Ten Fu's Tea, as mentioned above.
*By Jean Yung*
###[All About Chinese Tea](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/articles/blogs-shanghai/cw-radar/tea-time-all-about-chinese-tea-in-shanghai/)
###[Shanghai's Best Tea Houses](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/articles/blogs-shanghai/cw-radar/best-shanghai-teahouses-to-drink-chinese-tea/)
Shanghai, City weekend
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