Wuyishan Autumn Tea Tour & Tea Judging Intensive 2019

The Details for the 2019 Wuyishan Autumn Tea Tour

Take your tea experience to the next level with a week of immersive tasting in the birthplace of the world’s greatest wulong, black, and white teas. Seven Cups is honored to bring a group of travelers to Wuyishan as guests of the region’s most respected tea makers. This tea tour’s dates are specifically chosen so that you will participate in the public judging of Wuyishan’s preeminent tea competition. Tour days are full of focused tea tasting, warm local hospitality, and retreats into the breath-taking countryside of northern Fujian province.

Tour dates: November 12 – November 20, 2019
Duration: 9 days in China
Tour cost: $3,850
Single room supplement: Rooms will be shared. Single rooms will require an additional cost of $500.
Minimum deposit: $2,000 (refundable until September 30th, 2019 minus credit card processing fees.)
Tour cost includes: All local travel, all meals, all hotels, and all entry fees to events/parks/museums from November 12 to November 20
Tour cost does not include: Airfare to Shanghai, visas, immunizations, and tips are not included. We’re happy to advise you in booking your flights to China and procuring your visa.

Physical demands: Travel in rural areas is physically demanding. Guests should be prepared for hiking and occasional rough terrain. If you are unable to hike due to joint, blood pressure, or balance issues, or a fear of insects, please be aware that this may limit your experience on the tour.

To reserve your space on this tour, please contact us.

The tasting table at wuyishan's tea competition

Day-By-Day Itinerary for 2019 Autumn Tea Tour  

Day 1 (Tuesday, November 12) Arrive in Shanghai
To be on time for the beginning of this tour, schedule your arrival in Shanghai on or before November 12th, 2019. Your stay in Shanghai on November 12th will be covered in the cost of the tour as we join together for tomorrow’s trip to Wuyishan. Your tour leaders will be waiting to join up with you in Shanghai and host you for a welcome dinner and tea.

Day 2 (November 13): High Speed Rail Travel to Wuyishan & Welcome Tea
After an early breakfast in Shanghai, we will travel overland to Wuyishan by China’s modern high-speed rail system. After arriving and getting settled in to your hotel in Wuyishan city, we will join decorated tea maker Mr. Wu Jianming at his business. Mr. Wu will also prepare us as tea evaluators by teaching a personalized class on professional wulong tea and black tea evaluation. Mr. Wu is a tea maker whose ancestral home is Wuyishan’s Tong Mu village, where black tea was first invented. You will have the chance to try many of the traditional black teas that Tong Mu village is famous for. Afterwards, we will have time to tour Wuyishan’s pedestrian-friendly downtown.

Day 3 (November 14): Competition Begins & Da Hong Pao Park
This day marks the start of Wuyishan’s four-day annual wulong and black tea competition where you will be a guest of our old friend, Mr. Liu Guo Ying, a famous rock wulong tea master and principal judge and organizer of the competition. Be ready to taste a lot of tea over the next few days! You, along with your fellow travelers, will participate as public judges in the competition, tasting multiple flights of teas throughout the morning. The teas we will be tasting are all carefully made by aspirant tea makers, each hoping that their tea will be recognized as the best in the region.

After a busy morning of tasting, we will have lunch and then set out for a walk in the scenic Wuyishan preserve to see the famous grove that is home to the “mother bushes” of Da Hong Pao. On the way, we will hike past Tian Xin temple, the legendary birthplace of wulong tea.

Day 4 (November 15): Competition Continues & Lao Cong Shui Xian Tea Farm Tour
The tea tasting for the competition will continue this day. Each day you will judge new categories of tea. Expect to conduct focused tastings of specific varieties like Shui Xian and Rou Gui, as well as Da Hong Pao and other famous types. Each category has a large number of entrants that need to be evaluated. Participating in this competition is an excellent way to hone your tasting skills and familiarize yourself with the nuances of Wuyishan’s many tea varieties and the multitude of ways they can be processed.

After lunch, we will travel to a farm that is home to some of the oldest Shui Xian variety plants in Wuyishan. The family that tends to these plants are excellent tea makers themselves and generous hosts. After taking time to learn about tea agriculture and tea processing from them, we will all have a country style dinner together made from fresh wild vegetables.

Day 5 (November 16): Judging Concludes & Nine Bends River Tour
Day 5 will start with the final morning of judging at Wuyishan’s tea competition. Stay strong and keep tasting! Your scores will be tabulated and will be included in the final judging for which tea will win silver, gold, and the coveted zhuang yuan or “top rank” in tomorrow’s award ceremony.

After lunch, we will relax by taking a serene boat tour of the Nine Bends river. No motor boats are allowed in this protected area, so you will be riding in a quiet bamboo skiff propelled along by a boatman’s oars. This is the best way to immerse yourself in the mist-veiled scenery of Wuyishan.

hiking through tea farms in wuyishan

Day 6 (November 17): Competition Closing Ceremonies & Wuyishan Tea Expo
After three days of judging, we will find out which tea makers take home the prizes this year at the closing ceremonies of the tea competition.

As the competition wraps up, a trade show will be just starting – Wuyishan’s tea expo, attended by tea makers from all over China, will be in full swing. You will have time to freely tour the massive exhibit hall and sample the vibrancy and dynamism of China’s broader tea industry.

Day 7 (November 18): White Tea & Lapsang Souchong Tasting & Heping Village
We will take a day trip from Wuyishan to the old village of Heping – a living example of a traditional southern Chinese countryside village. Heping is unique in that it is not a reconstruction or tourist site of any kind, but is a genuinely old town that is still maintained and lived in by its residents. In addition to its well-preserved countryside charm and antiques, the area nearby practices exemplary organic agriculture. We will meet up with a master white and black tea maker who has making tea for over 45 years. We will tour his tea fields and factory, learning how to taste and evaluate both styles. You will get to taste different examples of aged white tea to learn how the aging of white tea affects its flavor. We will also learn about the process that creates the richly smoked Lapsang Souchong black tea made here.

Day 8 (November 19): Organic Tea Garden, Dragon Kiln & Jin Jun Mei
On this last day of scheduled activities, we will visit the tea garden and factory of one of Wuyishan’s largest organic tea producers. You will get an up-close look at organic agriculture techniques in action in the fields and then taste the incredible tea they yield. As a larger producer, they are able to grow many different varieties of the tea plant. We will taste and discuss the qualities of different Wuyishan cultivars, including some that are not commonly seen on the market.

In the afternoon, we will visit Wuyishan’s dragon kiln park and look inside the massive dragon kiln for firing ceramics. This kiln is where many Song-dynasty tea bowls were made, similar to the bowls used for matcha in Japan in present day.

We will also have the chance to visit our old friend Mr. Liang Junde, the inventor of Jin Jun Mei, currently one of the most prized and influential black teas in China. We will join Master Liang for a private tasting in his Wuyishan studio to appreciate the many teas now made by his mastery.

Day 9 (November 20): Return to Shanghai
Today the tour will travel back to Shanghai for departure back to your home. Your hotel stay in Shanghai tonight is covered in the cost of the tour so you can be ready for your trip home tomorrow.

Day 10 (November 21):Back Home
You can schedule your departure for this day or spend more time in Shanghai if you choose.

We will help you arrange a cab to the airport of your choice. Just let us know.

Please Note:

Be Prepared
Touring the Chinese countryside is physically demanding. On this tour, be prepared to walk, hike, and travel by van and bus.

The days will be long, because we want to make sure you see as much as possible. We usually start our day around 8:00am, and get back to the hotel after 8:00pm.

Be Flexible
Over the past several years we have learned that plans in China are always subject to change. Flexibility is key, especially in the countryside where few foreigners have ventured. We appreciate your flexibility, and will do everything possible to ensure that this tour exceeds your wildest expectations.

For important deadlines and tour planning guidelines, click here.