Each train seems to be different in how the water temperature is adjusted on those water dispensers. Some trains have a dispenser with a lower water temperature. When I traveled from Longyan, Fujian to Beijing, I brough along a really good packet of tieguanyin. And every steep just wasn't very good. The water temperature was too low.
But every time I traveled from Fuzhou or Longyan to Shenzhen, the water temperature on that train was quite hot. And tieguanyin would steep nicely.
Whatever the train, don't expect the tea to taste as good as a round of gongfu tea. In fact, it's best to bring along a cheaper, but still quite nice kind of tea to enjoy on the train.
Of course, if you get bored, or if you get hungry, you can always go to the dining car, and check out what they have on the menu. And if you're nice and ask for tea, the attendants will fill a cup for you to enjoy while waiting for your meal.
And if you're just not able to bring any tea or a travel tea cup, watch out for the snack cart. The girl comes around pretty regularly, and you can buy a bottle of iced tea or iced green tea. Of course, it's not really iced, and was never refrigerated. So don't expect a cold drink.
A bottle of tea typically costs 5 yuan. A noodle cup from the snack cart also costs 5 yuan.
A meal in the dining car is pricier. Expect each dish to run you about 35 yuan per dish. A bowl or two of rice is an extra cost.Fare on the trains is not the finest cuisine, but still palatable. The menu has a limited selection. But you can find dishes like stir-fried cabbage, steamed fish, fried egg omelet, mushroom soup, stir-fried beef and vegetables, etc.
Train stations also have a hot water dispenser for you to enjoy a noodle cup or two, or a cup of tea as you wait for the train to arrive in the departure hall. Look for all the people carrying noodle cups, and see where they're going to or coming from.