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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ching Ching Teahouse

So today I paid a visit to a local teashop in the DC area, located a little off of Wisconsin and M, called Ching Ching Teahouse. They're apparently been in business for over 10 years when I talked to the man anger, and they come from Hong Kong.
The store from the outside
In addition to being a teahouse they are also a teastore, carrying an impressive array of goods. They carried yixing teapots, testubin, tokoname, gaiwan, teacups, porcelain teapots, and tea tins. Oh yes, and there was tea. It was a modest selections of various green, oolong, black, tisanes, and flavored teas. It's not as impressive as teashops I've seen in Taiwan, but it beats the supermarket shelf of bagged lipton. I ended up buying a few tea bins, a gaiwan, and a yixing teapot.
The staff seemed pretty knowledgeable about their wares, and since they've been around for a while I expected them to. I was most pleased, however, by the actual teahouse. Instead of serving the tea for you, they provide you with a teapot with the leaves inside, and you do the work yourself! They use a gaiwan for their green teas, and yixing teapots for their oolong and pu'ers. I'm not sure what they use for the rest, because I couldn't see.

Gentleman in the background was drinking a pu'er. Even though we didn't talk I felt a silent camaraderie with him as a fellow tea drinker. Well, the kettle was interesting, because it was a black clay kettle that was kept at a constant boil with a little fire going on inside. Even though this keeps the water piping hot, I'm a little worried by how this might affect the actual brewing process for green teas, which might be bitter after such high temperatures. Nevertheless, I was proud to say "yes" when the waitress asked if I knew how to brew tea this way.

I had a Oriental Beauty, and I was too busy looking around this place and having some mooncake to write tasting notes for it. I was very surprised by the tea's "sweet aroma." I will have to buy some Oriental Beauty later.
The mooncake was delicious, albeit small and expensive (five dollars!)

This is a photo of the teawares they have to offer. The prices seemed to range from relatively cheap to pretty expensive. The cheapest thing I saw was a $20 yixing teapot, and the most expensive was a $200 yixing teapot. I was fascinated by their dazzling array of matcha bowls, which almost inspired me to take up drinking matcha. I will do so, but at a later time when I have the space to collect teaware. They also had a nice selection of various English textbooks on tea, and an odd collection of cute chopsticks for some reason. I was in love with this shop, but one thing did make me cringe though, which as the presence of a mesh tea ball for brewing. Gag me with a spoon!


My new friend

So here is the damage done to my wallet. Included is my fixed yixing teapot on the very left, which I repaired using epoxy from Home Depot. I haven't used it yet but it's holding up well. I bought the other teapot on a whim, so I don't know what I'm going to use it with yet (suggestions people!). But nevertheless, I can't use it because I don't have the equipment to season it properly. So for now it's a ornamental piece.

5 comments:

Salsero said...

Looks like a great outing. You're lucky to have a real teashop nearby. Congratulations on your new acquisitions.

tieguanyin said...

Hey Maitre_Tea,

I was at Ching Ching Cha this past Saturday also (late afternoon)! We may have crossed paths? I also partook in some tea (10 Year Puerh) and a mooncake. This is definitely an interesting spot. Occasionally they have sales on their teaware (dangerous for the wallet!!!). You have a great blog going! Keep up the good work!

Alex

Maitre_Tea said...

Wow, what a coincidence. I thought you were the gentleman that sat at the table across from me, because he also had pu'er too, but also I remembered that he had dumplings instead of mooncake. Maybe we could meet up sometime and indulge in their expensive teaware sometime in the future?

tealove said...

Im glad you got a chance to try Ching Ching Cha. Ive been going there for the last 9 years. Its the best tea house in Washington DC. Ching is the owner and she knows a lot. If you get a chance to go back - try her 7 Treasures Tea. You cant buy it. She only serves it in house. You will love it. It gets sweeter with each infusion. My favorite!

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