Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Chinese “Tea Maven”

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 10, 2011

Chinese tea Maven

When you come to China, and you should, you will invariably be exposed to one of the most ubiquitous sights of the great center country. No I am not talking about fake DVD’s, nor hair salons, both real and ‘the other wink wink’ ones. What I am describing is the ever present Chinese Tea Maven- or peddler of China’s most expensive tea.

A “Tea Maven” is a woman who not 96 hours removed from hosing Gansu mud from her sandaled feet, or ‘hooves’ as they are called in those parts, is now endowed with a voluminous amount of knowledge about all things TEA. This fair maiden who not a quarter of a fort night ago was trundling behind the family oxen named ‘fu’ or luck, as ironic as that term would be, considering that the family wellspring of anything that even remotely resembling luck had gone dry over 9 generations ago and has now left their progeny with nothing more than a 30×30 suggestion of ‘land’ which, due to Chinese drought has become nothing more than a parched hunk of dust- and polluted at that. Not withstanding these challenges, her plucky captors/parents have done their best to bring up the little “Tea Maven” as best they could.

Running low on rice, it was decided that little Ms. Maven need to head out and make her way as it were. Thus, one fine morning she was told to pack her most prized possessions and being obedient, she did so. After this, her noble parents set a 100 rmb note on the tattered fake Prololo which accounted therefore, and told her in no uncertain terms to “get the hell out of our mud cave and don’t come back unless you have rmb, or dollars or euros in your ungrateful little paws!”

Thus, the little aspiring “Tea Maven” pointed her now decaying bicuspids towards the local train station and marched off looking for a better life. In a twisted bit of fate, the little “Maven” landed in Beijing, the temporary place of incarceration of your present author.

“Ms. Maven” moving with the quickness that only the destitute and starving can comprehend, soon found herself in front of Mr. Typical Chinese boss, who upon a quick grope/handshake told her to sit down as it was part of their process to undergo a lengthy and thorough interview.

Gathering her fangbian mien and extra pair of long johns to her side, the aspiring “Maven” cast her most professional ‘shuo hua- talk’ at the man.

typical chinaman boss-“You want job?”

future “Tea Maven”- “Want”

typical chinaman boss- hovering menacingly above her while ogling her body parts. “Ok you drive hard bargain, you have job.”

future “Tea Maven”- “thank you my liege”

typical chinaman boss- grunts as he clips his toenails on the small desk before them, then casts a salacious glance upon her

future tea maven-“Oh . does job require customer to touch my here and here?” she cringes, while pointing at assorted places on her body.

typical chinaman boss-thinking.”Hm , no customer not touch body part there. but boss does ok?”

Thus after this arduous part of the Chinese hiring process behind them it was time for training on the company way and all things tea. Half a dozen minutes later the Typical Chinese boss groaned as he released a volcanic burst and then hefted his sweating girth from atop the now confused “Maven” beneath him. Yanking a hand towel from the nightstand he cast ferocious eyes upon her and with a swift kick at her semi-clothed body told her to get to work, training was over.

This woman now sits before me perched upon a torturous stool the size of a postage stamp and a look of smugness tugs at her lips. She is telling me that the ‘ooulong tea’ is good for people like me. “Fat?” I ask,
“Not fat but strong,” the “Maven” responds.

The only difference I can tell between the oolong and the hong tea is the color, but in her extensive training “Ms. Maven” knows better. She explains that it is beyond my ability to comprehend as I am a barbaric foreigner and my Chinese sucks, but I must trust her. Then with the quickness of a viper she wrenches the red notes from my hand and places them in a secure vault. Once this has passed, she pushes forth something about the size of a dime bag and smiles politely telling me to enjoy the oolong tea.

I look at her, then the tea and the only thing i can think is that there is a new Burger King at that one snooty mall by SOHO and I could really go for a BK broiler.

Chinese living

2 Responses to “Chinese “Tea Maven””

  1. USA said


  2. […] houses in china, i am convinced, are giving less training than the venerable tea maven blogged about here. The maven at least gets a good humpin’ before stuck in front of live customers, but the […]

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