A unique take on tea in Shanghai's French Concession: Song Fang Maison du Thé

Culture | by Aimee Groom
Posted: March 3rd, 2011 | Updated: March 31st, 2011 | Comments
Songfang maison de the, tea house, shanghai Being British, I'm always keen for a good cup of Chinese cha, but I'll readily admit that my go-to brew back home would be a strong mug of Yorkshire Tea with a dash of milk (one sugar) and not a tea pot in sight. But then again, we Brits only caught on to tea in the 17th Century. The Chinese, on the other hand, have been doing it for centuries... millenia even.Frankly, I for one have still got an awful lot to learn when it comes to telling my Oolongs from my Pu'ers, and that's where a little gem like the Song Fang Maison de Thé comes in handy. This charming tea house in the heart of Shanghai's leafy French Concession, strikes the perfect blend of tea expertise and a foreigner-friendly approach, all served up in some very attractive packaging. Sure, there are plenty of places to try and buy tea all over the city, but many can be overwhelming to the uninitiated, with language erecting yet another barrier between the curious traveler and their thirst for tea and knowledge. At Song Fang Maison de Thé, however, Parisian and longtime Sinophile Florence Samson, (or Song Fang in Mandarin) has combined her ten years in China and passion for tea with an eye for style and design (honed by her years at both Dior and Veuve Cliquot) to create an experience that celebrates tea and all its associated ceremony and accoutrements in a uniquely Franco-Chinese way. (Continued after the jump... ) songfang maison de the, tea house, Shanghai

On the ground floor, you'll find walls filled with Song Fang's signature sky-blue tins, art deco glassware and vintage-style tea sets--and, of course, a menu of high-quality teas (not only from across China, but French blends too) presented by either Florence herself or one of her English-speaking staff, who are ready and waiting to advise and recommend.

Any of Song Fang's teas can be supped on-site on one of the bright and airy upper floors of the renovated 1930s lane house that overlooks a lively, traditional lilong or Shanghai lane where everyday Shanghai life is still very much on display. And, of course, they can or taken away to enjoy at home or given as gifts.

See Song Fang Maison de Thé for full listing and directions.

Learn more about tea and tea-drinking in China

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