Hank and the Taobao Tea Trail

CEO Hank Horkoff over at ChinesePod has been drinking a lot of tea lately. He calls what he’s doing the Taobao Tea Trail. He’s bought a lot of Chinese tea on Taobao, and he’s sampling it all, learning as he goes. He explains:

> Armed with the Chinese-language 茶叶地图 [“tea leaf map”] and 百度百科 [“Baidu Encyclopedia”] I am sampling my way through the spectrum of Chinese teas – more than 85 in all, one a week. I am using Taobao to order the tea leaves and then posting a bit of information, photos and a link to the Taobao merchant here on this blog.

He’s got lots of quality photos, and even Google maps showing what parts of China the different teas come from. If you’re interested in tea, his project is definitely worth a look. (And if you come to the ChinesePod office, you might just be able to sample them yourself!)

Here’s what Hank’s got so far:

Judging from the list on the Taobao Tea Trail, there are still quite a few to go…


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. So awesome. I hope Hank is shedding that weight. He should be from all that tea. Someone like myself will use his list and actually make it a tea trail map to actually make the trip in PERSON to each locale to taste the local teas. Just like a microbrew tour here in the states where one goes to each brewery to sample the on-site frothy chilled brews.

  2. When I read about the “grassy taste of green tea” I wonder if Hank really indulged himself with this tea tasting.

  3. Sean Fannan Says: August 25, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Ahh, very cool. When I visited Shanghai, I decided I would dip my foot in the ‘tea trail’ and buy a few varieties of tea to take back to the States. I bought like 5 different kinds, each at different locations along the price spectrum. So far, I’ve been only drinking the cheapest (15 RMB / bag) and its pretty darn good..

  4. I’m a coffee snob, turned tea junkie. Thanks for posting this here. I don’t think I would have found his blog otherwise.
    Nice to see Henan represented with Xinyang maojian.
    Not sure I fully agree with his reasons for using Taobao, especially since he lives in China. I think Taobao would be good for people living outside of China.
    I think the tea at Wuyutai is of high quality and fairly priced, negating his #3 reason for using Tabao: “less likely to be cheated as a foreigner.” All of their prices are clearly marked. Apparently, they have stores all over China. http://www.wuyutai.com/ I’ve also had good experiences at smaller, independently owned tea shops. Since I live in China I prefer going to a tea shop, sitting for awhile and chatting with the owner/staff while sampling the various teas.

  5. I just thought that you might be interested. Here is a list of recommended Taobao tea stores:

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