Tea Origins Tour: Southwest China in 14 Days

The Details for the 2018 Tea Tour

Tour date: April 2nd – April 15th, 2018
Duration: 14 days in China
Tour cost: $ 4950
Single room supplement: Rooms will be shared. Single rooms will require an additional cost of $600.
Minimum deposit: $2,000 (refundable until February 1 st, 2018 minus credit card processing fees.)
Tour cost includes: All local travel, all meals, all hotels, and all entry fees to events/museums from April 2nd to April 15th
Tour cost does not include: Airfare to Kunming Changshui International Airport and from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, visas, immunizations, traveler’s medical insurance, 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 in high elevation (6000 ft) and occasional rough terrain. The longest hike on the tour is three to four hours total with steep elevation change in some areas. 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.

Day-By-Day Itinerary for 2018 Tea Origins Tour  

Day 1 (April 2nd) Pickup in Kunming
After uniting our group of travelers in Kunming around noon, we will all walk the old streets of Kunming to a local teahouse where we will spend some time learning about the history of puer tea and sampling different puer teas to prepare us for our trip into tea country. We will also take the time to get to know each other over a dinner of Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles, Kunming’s most famous dish.

Day 2 (April 3rd): Trade Roads of Old Puer City (Ning Er) 
We will leave Kunming for the city of Ning Er (formerly named Pu’er). Ning Er was center of the Yunnan’s tea trade for centuries, and is where the name for the tea category “Puer Tea” was originally derived from. Today our time is focused on seeing historical sites and learning about the history of the tea trade here. We will see the old tea market square, the city’s Qing Dynasty-era customs house, and old horse relay stations on a length of the ancient trade roads that carried tea in and out of the markets in old Puer city.

yunnan-mountain-villageadjDay 3 (April 4th): Old Puer City to the Famed Jing Gu County
On day 3 we will depart from Ning Er to Jing Gu County where we will visit Jing Gu tea factory, one of the oldest standing factories from the days of China’s planned economy. Here, we will have the opportunity to observe how puer tea gets made and taste a variety of aged sheng and shu puer.

Day 4 (April 5th): Traveling Around Jing Gu County 

On the fourth day, you will travel around Jing Gu County, visit tea farms, the local temple and market, enjoy the local culture, food, and, of course, taste more sheng and shu puer tea. Local tea makers will guide our tastings and answer our questions about puer tea production, tea aging practices, and teach us about the region’s tea plants. Jing Gu county is known for its rich biodiversity and is the location where a fossilized tea leaf was found that was estimated to be about 35 millions years old and the ancestor of the modern tea plant.

Day 5 (April 6th): Visiting Jing Hong and the Dai minority group

You will travel to Jing Hong where we will explore the Dai minority’s culture, architecture, arts, and spend time Eat with the localsenjoying locally produced tea with the people who reside there. Jing Hong sits its near the Mekong river, in a rainforest, where the weather is warm throughout the year and well suited for growing tea. Jing Hong is the seat of Xishuangbanna autonomous region which is home to many different mountains and microclimates that are now-famous origins of superior quality puer tea.

Day 6 (April 7th): Visit You Le Shan, one of the “Six Famous Mountains”
On Day 6, you will travel to You Le Shan, also known as You Le Mountain. You Le Mountain is known as one of the “Six Famous Mountains” that once supplied tea as tribute to China’s imperial court. You will be traveling into an isolated area that only recently developed modern roads; even paper money only came into use here in the 1960s. On You Le Mountain you will tour tea gardens growing under the canopy of an old forest, have lunch with the local tea producers, and see how they process tea. We will conclude our day with dinner in Jing Hong.

Day 7 (April 8th): Back to Kunming from Jing Hong

The tour will make its way back out of Yunnan’s deep south and on towards Kunming to prepare for the next leg of the journey. On your way, you will stop in different villages to taste from a variety of cultures and food, and enjoy tea with the local people.

Day 8 (April 9th): Travel to Guizhou Province, Anshun City

On Day 8, we travel out of Yunnan to Guizhou province, which continues to be one of the most rural provinces in China. Our destination, the geographically isolated city of Anshun, is well known for its rich culture and number of ethnic minority groups.

Day 9 (April 10th): Travel to Zunyi
In the morning we will explore the stone architecture of the old city of Anshun, experience tea in the custom of its local people, and enjoy the distinct cuisine of Guizhou for lunch. After lunch, we will depart for Zunyi, a historic center point for China’s communist revolution as well as Guizhou’s tea market. Zunyi will be our staging point for exploring Guizhou’s tea fields.

Day 10 (April 11th): Day-trip to Meitan
From Zunyi, we will travel to Meitan to visit a green tea factory where we will observe how Guizhou green tea is produced. Senior tea makers will host us at the factory and answer our questions as we will sample and study different local tea bush varieties. Special attention will be paid to the grades of green tea produced there and learning how to professionally distinguish them.

dalitempleDay 11 (April 12th):  Leave Zunyi for Chongqing
On Day 11, you will travel Chongqing, the hometown of Seven Cup’s very own Zhuping. In Chongqing, you will visit the city’s most famous tea house. This tea house is well known for educating and certifying tea service professionals by designation of the national office of the Chinese Tea Culture Institute. As guests, you will enjoy beautiful tea service with meticulous attention to detail and witness first-hand the way that traditional Chinese tea and tea culture have been integrated into modern standards of service. We will conclude the night enjoying dinner beside the Yangtze River.

Day 12 (April 13th): Yongchuan
We will drive out from the urban area of Chongqing and into Yongchuan county, home to a nationally renowned tea botanical research center. The research center here has collected over 1000 samples of Cammelia Sinensis var. Sinensis, also known as the small-leaf tea bush, which most of China’s tea is grown from. Plant scientists will be our guide as we tour the botanical research garden to see living examples of young and old tea bushes. We will drink fresh green tea just harvested from these different varieties

Day 13 (April 14th): Chongqing city

On this day, we will travel around Chongqing city and visit the massive Three Gorges Museum where many antique artifacts are housed to protect them from the shifting river path that resulted from the Three Gorges Dam project. We will then go to visit a warehouse dedicated to professional puer tea storage and aging. From there, we will go on to visit Chongqing’s sizable tea and tea ware wholesale market, where can you have the opportunity to buy any tea ware you might need to brew all the tea you have accumulated in your travel throughout southwest China.

Day 14 (April 15th): Back Home

You can schedule your departure for this day, or spend more time in Chongqing if you choose.