A Tea Tour of Switzerland

Photography by Jane Pettigrew

Spiegelgasse 26 • CH-8001 Zurich 04496
+41 44 555 91 61 • shuitang.ch

Step into Shui Tang and discover a magical world of exquisite tea treasures. The delicately fashioned store is full of charm and enticement. Reminiscent of a small museum, tea wares of utmost beauty are displayed not just to attract buyers but to show off the skill of the maker and the breathtaking loveliness of the form and substance of each piece. Tiny Yixing teapots, delicate porcelain beakers, and sshuitangtacks of bamboo-wrapped Puerh cakes sit on window shelves against the backdrop of the garden beyond. Generous silver caddies are ranged along one wall, and an open panel of light-as-air shelving displays little wooden gongfu brewing trays, celadon bowls, bamboo whisks, and a carefully chosen selection of teapots and bowls in colors so captivatingly beautiful—rich inky black, coppery brown, russet earthy red, soft jade, and traditional Chinese blue on white—that they hold the gaze for several minutes. Instead of a counter, the shop has a simple Chinese wooden table where Meng-Lin Chou, Shui Tang’s owner, sits with visitors to brew, explain, and taste the teas. Pull up a small wooden stool, and join the group to learn that the little 8-year-old girl, seated here with her parents and listening intently to Meng-Lin, is tasting a Puerh cake that was made in the same year she was born. Others gather around to learn and enjoy. Soon they become friends, chattering quietly about the Puerh and about the teas they tasted the last time they were here. Meng-Lin is a gifted teacher and offers special events and seminars to help her customers understand the teas she sells.


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