Immersion: China~Black


 

*** May, 2018 ***

The optional Kunming pre-tour extension begins with our flight from Beijing to the capital city of Southwest Yunnan Province - birth place of tea. Upon arrival we will be met by our guides and representatives of the tea industry. After an informative meeting and lecture program on Yunnan black tea (Dian Hong) we will enjoy a festive dinner banquet while watching a pageant show of ethnic culture.

The next morning we'll drive to the amazing natural wonder, the Stone Forest. On the way back to Kunming we'll enjoy a special lunch featuring Yunnan style roasted tea duck and then wander through a massive tea market. Relax in a local tea house in the evening and then drive to the Golden Bell temple the next morning. More local sightseeing is in store before flying deep into tea country the next morning.

The base tour centers in Lincang, known as the "Home of Yunnan Black Tea" and it will be our home for the next few days. Upon arrival we will transfer to the tea research center for a program focused on the scientific aspects of tea production including new trends and practices. We will transfer to our tea garden home and enjoy a Manager's welcome banquet before retiring. The next morning we'll take our first walk through the tea garden and factory getting familiar with the surroundings and meeting our mentors. Following lunch will be a lecture on black tea production including a review of historic and modern methods. Then we put our palates to work with our first tea tasting session focusing on an introduction to tea grading.

The next two days will include tea picking in the morning followed by production skill building in specific sections of the factory. Afternoons, we will explore workshop topics on tea bush varietals, propagation and sorting, grading and packing. Then it's back to the tasting room for more tasting sessions on flush seasons and recognizing manufacturing shortcomings.

To better understand tea's place in history, we'll take a two day  field trip to visit the ancient 3700+ year old tea tree and 400 year old tea gardens in Fenqing County, another black tea production center. We'll tour a tea garden and have a tasting session to become acquainted with the local products.  The following morning we'll be back to work in the tea garden and factory learning the special production methods of these teas. Another tea tasting session will include tea that we have made. Learn how tea is sold with a visit to the local market. We have one last dinner and night in Fengqing before driving to the village of Lushi in the morning.

Teas from Southern Yunnan were transported for centuries via caravan over the often precarious Tea/Horse Road. We'll have a special treat to walk a little on a part of this historic route before having lunch in one of the last remaining old-style inns that used to service the tea bearing travelers. This will also be the site of our final exam. Everyone passing with flying colors, we will head back to Lincang in time to catch our plane back to Kunming and the modern world.
Much more excitement is in store on the optional Beijing post-tour extension. And, after arriving from Kunming we'll take in some sights of the city and cap the evening Beijing style with a visit to a famous tea house. After breakfast we'll head to the Great Wall, the icon of China. Climb to your heart's content along the magnificent structure. After lunch we'll visit the ornate halls and corridors of the Imperial Summer Palace, retreat of the royal family. Visit a cloisonné factory and showroom and then it's back to the city for dinner and a well earned rest.

Our final day is filled with more fun and Chinese culture. Our first stop is the sprawling Temple of Heaven. See the local people practicing their morning exercises (maybe join in) and tour the historic buildings where the Emperor would come to commune with heaven. Before lunch we'll slip in a quick visit to the old antique shopping street Liu Li Chang and then to one more tea market to pick up any final essentials. The afternoon includes visiting Tian An Men square and the grand finale - the Forbidden City, the seat of Imperial power for 800 years. At our farewell banquet we'll relive our journey and reminisce over favorite memories and special moments that will stay with us forever.

The exceptional 7 day base tour program and 3 day optional pre- and post-tour extensions are filled with exciting, educational and authentic  experiences, sure to delight both professionals and devoted tea drinkers, providing memories that will last a lifetime. Due to the unique nature, space is limited, so please make your reservations early.