Tea is a beverage that is often associated with a diverse range of characteristics such as variety, color and aroma. However, in recent times, the tea culture has gained significant attention in China, particularly as a social pastime. It has become a popular way for people to gather and spend time together, just like their ancestors did centuries ago. One such example is the Weiluzhucha ceremony, where people gather around a stove to boil tea and have a friendly chat.
Ziyoudiluying is a cafe situated in downtown Beijing that has gained a reputation for its tea culture. Here, pu’er tea, a type of fermented tea that is renowned for its exquisite fragrance, is prepared on a stove using vermilion clay teapots. The tea is served with a range of delectable snacks like persimmon, jujubes and peanuts that are scattered around the pots, adding to the overall ambiance of the cafe.
Brewing tea is a process that demands patience, and this is what makes it such a unique experience. Friends can gather around the fire, chat, drink tea and appreciate the tranquility. Such an ambiance provides a momentary respite to escape the clamor of daily life and embrace a sense of calm. According to Tong Shanshan, the 31-year-old owner of the cafe, “Tea is not just a beverage, but it’s an experience that allows people to connect with each other and take a break from their busy lives.”
The cafe has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. It offers a unique blend of history and modernity, which is reflected in its decor, ambiance and menu. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of hutongs, the Drum Tower and Shichahai Lake from the bar’s terrace and capture memorable selfies.
For Tong, the cafe is not just a business but a way to connect with people and promote the tea culture. She believes that the tea culture has a rich history in China, and it’s essential to preserve and promote it. She hopes that the cafe will inspire others to appreciate the art of tea-making and encourage more people to embrace this unique cultural experience.
Tea culture has become a significant phenomenon in China, and cafes like Ziyoudiluying have played a crucial role in promoting and preserving it. The Weiluzhucha ceremony and the unique ambiance of the cafe offer a momentary respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life, allowing people to appreciate a sense of calm and connect with each other. The blend of history and modernity makes the cafe an ideal destination for both locals and tourists who want to experience the rich culture of China.
The stove-boiled tea service at Ziyoudiluying bar in Beijing has seen over 500 orders since its launch in January. A basic tea set for two to four people costs 268 yuan (about 39 U.S. dollars). “Weiluzhucha has become a socializing activity, and the low-fat and healthy features of the product encourage more young people to embrace tea culture,” said Tong Shanshan, the owner of the cafe.
As the temperature drops in winter, stove-boiled tea has become a new consumption trend and social media fad, with more than 750,000 notes about the topic on Xiaohongshu, China’s lifestyle-focused social media platform, and nearly 5 billion video views on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. The immersive experience and social interactions when boiling tea have also been popular with tourists, like Zhang Xuange from Shenyang, who said the trend brings scenes of period TV dramas into their lives.
The increasing popularity of stove-boiled tea reflects a broader trend in China’s beverage market. Over the past decade, the expanding middle class and doubling of per capita disposable income have led to a boom in “new tea beverages,” which combine brewed tea with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients. Stove-boiled tea is part of this trend, with its health benefits and social appeal attracting a younger generation to embrace tea culture.
The total consumption in Beijing is expected to increase by about 5.5 percent in 2023, and the municipal commerce bureau will make efforts to improve the quality of consumption and build a dynamic consumption circle scientifically, according to Ding Yong, the bureau’s head. With the increasing popularity of stove-boiled tea, cafes and bars that offer this service are expected to continue to thrive and contribute to the city’s dynamic consumption scene.
Stove-boiled tea is not only a trend in Beijing but also throughout China. Many tea lovers appreciate the unique taste and aroma of stove-boiled tea, which is prepared using vermilion clay teapots and offers a range of delectable snacks such as persimmon, jujubes, and peanuts, adding to the overall ambiance. The process of brewing tea demands patience, and friends can gather around the fire, chat, drink tea, and appreciate the tranquility.
The popularity of stove-boiled tea not only offers a new consumption trend but also helps to revive traditional Chinese style. The tea culture has gained significant attention in recent times, especially as a social pastime. Weiluzhucha is a reminder of the ritual that our ancestors indulged in a long time ago. The ambiance of stove-boiled tea provides a momentary respite to escape the clamor of daily life and embrace a sense of calm.
The stove-boiled tea service at Ziyoudiluying bar is not only a new consumption trend but also a reflection of China’s booming beverage market. The health benefits and social appeal of stove-boiled tea have attracted a younger generation to embrace tea culture, and cafes and bars that offer this service are expected to continue to thrive. The popularity of stove-boiled tea not only offers a new consumption trend but also helps to revive traditional Chinese style and provides a momentary respite to escape the clamor of daily life and embrace a sense of calm.
Chinese tea has a rich history and has traversed borders and time, thanks to the ancient Silk Road and the Tea Horse Road. Today, the commodity continues to demonstrate its vitality in the modern world, while also receiving recognition from the global community. Its market size is estimated to reach about 375 billion yuan in 2025, with 26.2 percent of consumers in 2022 showing their intentions to consume more such types of tea, according to a survey by the research firm iiMedia Research.
In 2022, traditional Chinese tea-making techniques were included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This recognition has further solidified the importance of Chinese tea as a cultural heritage that deserves preservation and promotion.
One place where the popularity of Chinese tea is evident is at the Wuyutai Tea Shop on Qianmen Street, a major commercial hub in Beijing. Customers can be seen lining up to buy specialty “tea ice cream” made with exquisite jasmine tea, which has become one of the most popular products offered by the renowned brand. The company, established in Beijing in 1887, has now expanded to over 500 outlets across China and is undergoing a transformation to cater to the preferences of young people.
“We have long noted the market changes and developed tea ice cream in 2008. It is popular among customers, and more than 30 branches sell the product,” said Zhao Shuxin, chairman of the board of Wuyutai Tea. The success of Wuyutai Tea Shop is a testament to the adaptability of traditional Chinese tea culture to modern tastes.
According to Tang Xin, who heads the research institute of municipal affairs under the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, the stove-boiled tea activity and the emergence of the market of new tea beverages, integrating traditional culture and modernity, have become a new consumption growth point embraced by Chinese consumers. The stove-boiled tea activity has become a socializing activity, and the low-fat and healthy features of the product encourage more young people to embrace tea culture.
As a result, Tang predicts that more new forms of Chinese-style consumption will spring up in the future. This trend towards traditional Chinese tea culture is likely to continue, as it offers a unique sensory experience and has health benefits. Moreover, the global recognition of Chinese tea culture has created opportunities for Chinese tea companies to expand their markets internationally.
Overall, Chinese tea has a bright future as a cultural heritage and a profitable industry. As Chinese companies continue to innovate and adapt to changing market demands, more consumers will have the opportunity to experience the richness and diversity of traditional Chinese tea culture.