In Shanghai -- or China as a whole for that matter -- tea is more than just a beverage. It has long held an important place in China’s history and culture, as you’ll discover with a visit to the Tianshan Tea City, a complex devoted entirely to tea. The market’s 150 or so stalls sell a wide variety of teas, but green, oolong, red and pu’er teas dominate the scene.
If you want to learn about China’s tea heritage, duck into a shop or two and sit down for a chat with the owner. You’ll find a few who speak English, and they’ll be happy to let you sample several varieties while educating you on the nuances of their products.
After you’ve tasted a few, browse some of the shops specializing in traditional Chinese tea sets, which make excellent souvenirs or gifts for friends and family back home. When shopping, keep in mind that tea in China varies widely in price, so ask before you add something to your shopping basket.