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Monday, May 2, 2011
Hangzhou's Dragon Well Tea Plantation
On virtually every single China tour that includes Hangzhou is a stop at the Hangzhou Dragon Well Tea Plantation. Unfortunately, it is a site designed strictly for the selling of fake Dragon Well Tea and souvenirs. I also work in Chinese tourism and I have been there several times on inspection tours. The site is located in the middle of tea fields, but is not connected with them. Although there are some very nice photo opportunities there, that is about all there is. Visitors are dropped off at the entrance and are met by a guide who describes how the tea is picked. They are then shown how the tea is fried before being taken into one of the many tea rooms where they are given tea to drink. After given a sales pitch, the people are lead through a souvenir shop which is the only way to exit the site, and then leave. I found that the tea that is given as a sample is not the same tea you purchase, although you are told it is the same. The tea you are given is much poorer quality. There are a couple of very nice Dragon Well Tea sites in Hangzhou, that should not be missed, like the China National Tea Museum, the 18 Imperial Tea Trees, and the Dragon Well, but this one certainly can be.