China’s Backcountry Tea Gardens
Itineraries for our 2013 Tea Tours are posted!
Click on the links below (or on the left) to see a day-by-day itinerary for each tour.
We are expecting full tours this year. To sign up for a tour, please contact us. You will need to place a $1500 deposit to hold your spot, so we can start reserving hotels and transportation for you. Your deposit is refundable until February 15, 2013 minus credit card processing fees.
The first half of this page contains general information about the tours, and the second half has some steps to follow to prepare for your trip. If you have any questions or would like to sign up for a tour, please contact us.
We have two special tours planned for 2013. Click on the links below for a detailed itinerary of each tour:
- Our Tribute Tea Tour (April 16 – April 28) focuses on green and wulong teas, with side trips to visit yellow and black teas that are harvested early in the Spring. We’ll also visit the home of Yi Xing pottery and other cultural sites.
- Our Origins Tea Tour (May 28-June 10) focuses on puer and green teas and the diverse cultures of Yunnan and Sichuan. This is truly a masters’ class in puer tea.
What to Expect
Expect to experience China through the eyes of real tea masters, with Seven Cups founders Austin or Zhuping as your personal guides. This means spending most of your time in the Chinese countryside visiting tea gardens, with excursions to cultural attractions in towns and cities. Over the years we have developed deep friendships within China allowing us access not customary of typical Chinese tours. Check out the blog posts to see videos and pictures from our previous tours.
“Kim & I got back from China this morning from what can only be described as the most memorable experience ever. Zhuping made the trip very special with her wonderful personality, her knowledge of tea, the country side and all her tea friends. No one could have done it better and I am sure she must be exhausted.” — Alexis and Kim Kaae, Simply Tea
“The Spring Tea Tour with Zhuping of Seven Cups was one of the most significant events of my life. After the second day and visiting the mother bush for Anji Bai Cha we exclaimed we could stop right there and feel our expectations were far exceeded. We would have short changed ourselves. Every day exceeded the marvels, mystery and magic of the previous day! It is said that Zhuping is a force of nature, and that she is, but she is also much more. Zhuping is a tireless, extremely generous and patient Chinese cultural resource of fascinating insights, including the art, history, healing traditions and spiritual practices of the people of her native country…We also laughed a lot every day, all day long. We ate fantastic food every meal, were hosted and toasted by tea dignitaries at almost every meal and offered return toasts.” — Andy Laub, Farmers Market Tea Company
“I found true culture woven with unbelievable hospitality on my journeys with Seven Cups. The cuisine was extraordinary, but the real flavor was the Chinese countryside. I’ll be back for more with Seven Cups.“ — Dan Taylor, L.Ac., Tucson Acupuncture
“I can’t even begin to describe how cool my voyage to China was with Seven Cups. Just incredible. From hiking through a bamboo forest, eating some of China’s finest cuisine, personally meeting tea masters and farmers. It was a chance of a lifetime and I would do it again in a heart beat!” — Jodie Lewers, J Lewers Design
“Aside from getting to drink some fabulous tea, and learn about how the finest teas are made with our wise and generous hosts, what blew me away the most was the amazing landscapes in which the tea is grown — beautiful, often remote mountains and valleys straight out of a Chinese painting, but far away from the track beaten by even the smartest tourists.” — Marcus Boon, York University
Getting Ready for Your Tour
Please follow these steps to assist you in preparing for your trip. We want you to have a great time with us, so don’t hesitate to call (520) 628-2952 if you have any questions.
Step 1: Review These Important Dates
February 15, 2013
Full payment is required by this date. This is also the deadline for cancellations — if you decide to cancel please let us know by February 15 for a full refund minus credit card processing fees. If you cancel after February 15, we cannot issue a refund.
March 1, 2013
All paperwork is due at this time. We will send you the paperwork you need when you sign up for the tour.
March 15, 2013
We reserve the right to cancel a tour and fully refund all fees.
Step 2: Make Pre-Departure Travel Arrangements
- Sign up for a tour by contacting us and paying for your tour.
- Send in your Tea Tour Waiver and copies of other documents (i.e. proof of health and travel insurance) as listed below. We will email the Tea Tour Waiver to you.
- Make sure that you have adequate health insurance and travel insurance for travel in China. If you don’t have this insurance, you can purchase it at one of the links below (see “Insurance Links”). Please send us proof of insurance along with your Tea Tour Waiver.
- Apply as soon as possible for your Chinese Visa. Contact us if you need help completing this form.
- Discuss immunization options with your doctor (see link below).
Make sure to have both medical and travel coverage. Austin recommends Travelex, but feel free to use the service that best meets your needs.
Step 3: Gather Important Documents/Information
Upon full payment, please submit copies of the Tea Tour Waiver as per instructions in the document. In addition to originals, please bring with you two copies of:
- Yellow Immunizations Book
- Passport (photo page and Chinese Visa page)
- Health insurance information, in case you need to use it in China
- Travel and/or baggage insurance information, in case you need to use it in China
Step 4: Prepare Your Luggage
Please note that you will only be allowed one suitcase. You must be able to lift and carry your own bag as we will have no porters and will be in rural areas.
Please also consider bringing the following:
- First aid: suture kit, antibiotics, personal first aid kit, prescription medicines in their original containers, sturdy shoes
- Things to do on a bus: download some of your favorite podcasts, music, books, knitting, art supplies, crafts (knitting, crochet)
- Things to share: Chinese love to see photos or post cards of where you live. You can even give these as gifts to our hosts.
Step 5: Get Ready to Have a Great Time!
Be Prepared: Touring the Chinese countryside is physically demanding. On these tours, be prepared for the following types of activities: Walking, hiking, bus travel, and even bamboo boat travel! Even though the days are long we will provide a comfortable place to sleep, usually a 4 star hotel with a great breakfast.
Be Flexible: Over the past several years, we have learned that plans in China are always subject to change. Flexibility is key, especially in the countryside where few foreigners have ventured! We appreciate your flexibility, and will do everything possible to ensure that this tour exceeds your wildest expectations. Prepare to have your socks knocked off!
- US Department of State – A Safe Trip Abroad provides travel tips that may help you avoid serious difficulties during your overseas travel.
- US Department of State also offers China-specific advice.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers information to assist travelers and their health-care providers in deciding the vaccines, medications, and other measures necessary to prevent illness and injury during international travel.
- For information on packing light, Rick Steves has a forum created by users. It’s European-centric, but a lot of the information is applicable to China.
- Journey Women provides women-centric traveling and packing advice.
- Lonely Planet’s guides can be purchased online and printed at home. You can purchase specific chapters. They have Thorn Tree – a great forum.
If you would like to do a slide presentation or write an article about your trip, please let us know and we will do everything we can to make sure that you are fully prepared to share your adventure.
Thanks again for your interest in our tours — we can’t wait to travel with you! Please contact us with any questions you may have.