Meet Our Farmers
Since we begin our tea journey, we work with small family owned farms from different regions in China. They are the real artists behind those beautiful leaves and delicious teas that end up in your cups. We would love to introduce them from the other side of the world to you.
Meet Bei Bei Zhang - from Ma Su, Tong Mu Village, Wu Yi Mountain, Fu Jian
Meeting Bei Bei is the most serendipitous experience during my tea journey this year (2021). She is from a five generational family who owns a tea plantation in Ma Su, Tong Mu Village in Tong Mu Guan area in Wu Yi Mountain range. Most of the tea trees from her tea garden right behind her house are at least 100 years old and 2-3 meters tall, and these old bushes deep in the mountain at elevation about 1200 meters produce mainly Lapsang Souchong and Jin Jun Mei each year. Currently, Bei Bei is mainly responsible for making unsmoked Lapsang Souchong while her father is the only one in the family who still knows how to do handmade traditional Lapsang black tea. Bei Bei actually studied business English in college, but with the realization of how much cultural value there is of the Lapsang black tea, she eventually decided to come home and be the fifth generation of making this tea. Many people have the false understanding that Lapsang Sounchong is from Tong Mu Guan, but Tong Mu Guan is a historical fortress that marks the border between Fu Jian province and Jiang Xi province. In the Tong Mu Guan area, lies the Tong Mu Village, which has 12 Lapsang black tea production teams and Ma Su is one of them. Each production team is composed of a few families that live in a certain area in Tong Mu Village, and each team seems like a sub-village under the uniformed management of Tong Mu Village. Traditional smoked Lapsang Souchong is becoming more and more scarce even in China due to government's restriction of using Horsetail Pine, and now only farmers who are from Tong Mu Village still have access to it, though very limited. Because of the barriers and hard work behind making traditional smoked Lapsang, a lot of farmers choose to only produce unsmoked tea. Bei Bei's family, on the contrary, realize how the market trend is making people losing the skills of making the traditional smoked tea, hence they insist on producing smoked tea each year, though with limited quantity, no matter how difficult the situation is. I feel very fortunate to meet her and her family, and to witness the entire production process both for smoked and unsmoked Lapsang Souchong. I only hope more and more people will revalue this tea and gain a true understanding and appreciation for all the hard work farmers have to endure behind it.
Meet Farmer Liu - from Feng Huang Shan, Chao Zhou, Canton
Farmer Liu's farm is located in Phoenix Mountain at elevation about 600 meter/2296ft and has lasted for about three generations. His tea plantation is about 8 acres and is right above a beautiful lake that runs across the mountain valley, he told us stories of how he grew up in the mountain and how he goes down the lake to fish whenever he has free time outside of harvesting season. We have never tasted one single Phoenix Dan Cong teas from him that we don't like. His traditional craftsmanship can be tasted his Dan Cong teas. For the past 2 years, we have been sourcing our Duckshit Aroma, Gardenia Aroma, Almond Aroma, Tuberose Aroma and Ba Xian/Eight Immortals exclusively from him.
To learn more about farmer Liu and his Phoenix Dan Cong tea plantation, click here.
Meet Farmer Xie Xin Xu - from Feng Huang Shan, Chao Zhou, Canton
I went to Farmer Xie's farm the first time in October, 2018. His farm is located in Phoenix Mountain at elevation about 470 meters/1476ft and it is also a three generational farm. It's more of a tea garden feel of narrow serpentine paths winding up the mountain than a big plain field of tea trees. At the time, he was still learning from his father about how to roast tea. Even though his family farm is at a relatively low elevation, they still use traditional charcoal roasting method and that renders their Charcoal Roast Mi Lan Aroma (Honey Orchid) one of the best you will try. We also started sourcing Ginger Flower Aroma from him and will add Osmanthus Aroma soon. The sweet fragrance is so potent as if there's real honey in the tea.
Meet Farmer Wen - from Fu Ding, Fu Jian
We found farmer Wen this year and seeing his production processing is such an amazing experience! His production facility just upgraded their equipments and he’s now producing charcoal roast only white teas. Quote what he said ‘No charcoal roast, no tea’ and you are guaranteed to taste the difference! His farm is located in Tai Mu Shan, Fu Ding in Fu Jian province in China and Tai Mu Shan is the main mountain range where the world’s first white tea is from. His farm is at elevation about 610 meters, and it has three varietals, the ancestral white tea known as ‘Cai Cha’ or ‘the vegetable tea’, and the two modern white tea varietals known as ‘Da Bai’ and ‘Da Hao’, which produce similar quality but different production yield. Starting from 2021’s Spring, we will be carrying his Charcoal Roast Bai Mu Dan and slowly adding aged white teas as well!
Meet Farmer Shi - from Fu Ding, Fu Jian
Miss Shi’s farm is in Fu Ding, Fu Jian, China at elevation about 500-600 meters/1968ft. She has gone through rigorous tea sommelier training herself in China and is specialized in aged white tea. We have been sourcing the winter harvested Shou Mei from her consistently, and our Shou Mei Cake 2015, Shou Mei Cake 2013 and White Peony 2015 are all from her as well.
Meet Hua Gang
Hua Gang is a joint tea farmer company in Taiwan, meaning that they manage small tea farms as a whole. They collect raw leaves (known as Cha Qing) of different cultivars and produced from various tea farms in the area and produce them into different oolong teas. They ultimately protect farmer's interest as they will take in raw leaves on no condition and in return, farmers work harder to for ensuring raw leaves's quality. They have resources from diverse areas such as A Li Shan, Mei Shan, Li Shan, Nan Tou etc. in Taiwan, and we have been working with them consistently since last year. All of our high mountain Taiwanese oolong teas are sourced exclusively from them.
Meet Farmer Luo - from Meng Hai, Yun Nan
This beautiful and hard working young woman is from one of the 55 minority tribes in China which known as Dai. Her generational inherited tea farm is located in Xi Shuang Ban Na, Yun Nan, China at elevation about 2400 meters/7874ft. Her tea plantation is rather full of wild Pu Erh tea trees that are averagely about 200-300 years old. They don't use any pesticides or fertilizer, they don't even weed! The only time that they go to "bother" these tea trees is when the harvest seasons arrive. We paid a visit to their tea farm last year and since then we have been getting Pu Erh teas, our favorite Old Tree Chocolatey Black tea and we just added Moonlight Pu Erh White Tea, exclusively from them.
Besides these hard working farmers from above, we also work with a few others from China and Thailand. At the moment, they are the main ones. As our journey continues, I am sure more and more farmers from around world will be joining our list and hopefully all of us will continue to surprise your palate on your personal tea path!