For a few months now, we’ve noticed WeChat posts about a gorgeous teahouse on Beishan Road, where customers partake in tea ceremonies and leisurely pastimes such as playing the guqin, flower arranging and Chinese painting. We finally went for a visit ourselves, to Qingzhu Teahouse, located right on Beishan Road facing Bai Causeway.
We entered the teahouse and at once felt a sense of calm and tranquility. The beautiful rooms and gardens have a Chinese Zen esthetic and the servers walk around in simple traditional Chinese dresses. Even the owner is wearing loose fitting cotton robes and prayer beads, looking like a Buddhist monk who just wandered off the pages of a Chinese wuxia novel, and he would love to engage you in a philosophical and religious discussion if given the chance.
The procedure for the tea experience is simple, you pick a tea from the different categories – green, black, pu’ers, white, etc. – and then the servers will do the rest. The tea is steeped in a lidded bowl for a few minutes, then the tea liquid is poured into a little pitcher called a chahai (茶海) to be enjoyed slowly in little tea cups. Whenever your tea cup is empty, the server will pour you more tea until the chahai is empty. Then the steeping process begins again to make more tea, up to three to five times more.
The price is the same regardless which tea you pick. At 200RMB per person, it is on the expensive side, but you get a million-dollar view that you can spend hours enjoying. Sit at a table on the second floor right next to the window and watch the street action on Beishan Road below. Or sit at the far side of the room where the noises and movements are muted, and you can peacefully admire a panoramic view of West Lake as pretty as a Chinese scroll painting.
Cut fruits are served with tea and you can also choose to have some multi-course vegetarian meals for 358RMB or 388RMB per person.
Parking is surprisingly easy. On Beishan Road, a little west of Qingzhu, you will see a sign for parking. Follow the sign and you will come into an underground parking lot which used to be a bunker during WWII. There is a tunnel that leads directly to the teahouse.