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Tea festival celebrates the beverage and the culture

AH, tea. Poets rhapsodize, business people capitalize, and most of us just enjoy a nice cuppa Camellia sinensis.

Tea, a many-splendored beverage, will be celebrated in all its aspects in the 16th Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival beginning next Wednesday in Zhabei District. It will run for nine days.

"Tea, a Taste of Healthy Living" is the theme, quite fitting for the World Expo 2010 Shanghai's theme - "Better City, Better Life."

If you can brew and drink it, you'll find it here. Black, white, green and red. Flower teas, fruit teas, herbal teas and infusions as well as traditional teas made from the leaves of the East Asian shrub.

The tea industry, a tea business fair and tea tourism will be featured. There will be lectures, tea tastings, tea brewing contests and tea ceremony competitions.

If it's tea calligraphy you're after, tea house culture, tea ceremony implements, traditional music to savor tea by, then you'll find it here.

Tea, of course, is far more than the world's second most popular beverage, after water.

Its enthusiasts call it an event, a respite from the urban rat race, a moment for reflection, an opportunity to be with friends.

Connoisseurs hold a small transparent glass of green tea to the light, considering the delicate leaves, their movement and the color, inhaling the aroma and allowing themselves to be carried away. Then, of course, there's the taste, the aftertaste.

Tea is a tonic, a traditional medicinal therapy - good for digestion, heart health, immunity and complexion. It's a source of inspiration for poetry and painting.

The gala opening ceremony will be held on Wednesday evening in the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, while the closing will be held in Lu'an Tea Center in Anhui Province on April 23.

Anhui tea varieties, customs and cultures will be on show as host city Shanghai demonstrates that it conveys China's abundant tea culture to the world.

Lu'an Guapian (melon slice) green tea is considered one of the top 10 teas in China. It originated in the Dahei Mountains of western Anhui in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was a tribute tea for the emperor.

The Shanghai Tea Industry Fair will be held from April 16 to 19 at the Shanghai International Agricultural Exhibition Center. More than 100 enterprises from 10 provinces and cities will exhibit their teas and related products in 300 displays.

The fair is organized by the China Tea Marketing Association, the organizing committee of Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival, the Shanghai Agricultural Commission and the Zhabei District government.

It will feature promotions for new products, tea contests and tea art performances.

To encourage tea consumption, a trade fair will be held from April 22 to May 3 at the Zhabei Stadium.

For the first time, the festival will feature tea tourism activities centered around famous tea-growing and tea culture locales. Two routes, one in Shanghai and one from Shanghai to Anhui, will be inaugurated.

On April 22, a special holiday train route will be launched between Shanghai and Lu'an in Anhui. It is sponsored by the Shanghai Tourism Administrative Commission and the Shanghai Railway Travel Agency.

Inside Shanghai, a group tourism route will be launched - from Daning International Tea City to Songyuan Garden Teahouse to Shanghai Circus World.

Besides tea business and tourism, a series of lectures on tea and healthy living will be held from next Wednesday to April 19 in communities in Zhabei and Changning districts.

A forum "Tea and Urban Life" will be held at Daning next Wednesday.

Tea contests will involve tea brewing, best varieties and performing tea ceremonies. "The Tea King of the Yangtze River Delta" will be named and the Shanghai International Children's Tea Invitational Contest will be held.

Enthusiasts can visit the Songyuan Garden Teahouse to enjoy traditional performances during the festival.

On April 18, a tea exhibition will open at Zhabei Museum of History, featuring historic photos, items of tea culture, calligraphy, paintings and souvenirs.

By the end of last year, 600,000 Netizens had voted the tea festival one of the most popular celebrations during China's 30 years of reform and opening up.

Taking tea, a companionable aspect of urban living, will be featured in the World Expo 2010, "Better City, Better Life."

Songyuan Garden Teahouse

Address: 1667 Gonghexin Rd

Shanghai International Agricultural Exhibition Center

Address: 2268 Hongqiao Rd

Zhabei Museum of History

Address: 118 Zhejiang Rd N.

For more information, visit


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