Producer Profiles

Single Origin Tea Producer: Mr. Lin of Che Shi, Anxi, China

Previously the village doctor, Mr. Lin — a trained physician from a family with generations of single origin tea producers and farmers — gave up his medical practice one day upon realizing that the tea-drinking villagers were just too healthy to need his services. He went back to tea farming with zeal, and decided that he would make his mark in other ways. Discontented with just having grown a true, high mountain, organic Tieguanyin oolong (most organic teas grow on low, flat areas), he has now ambitiously decided to build the first biodynamic tea farm on the highest hill top in his village. Home of the original Tieguanyin, the varietals that grow at his village are the original versions with the best aroma and body. Still not content to leave it at that, he cross hybridized and created a Yellow Gold Tieguanyin Hybrid called Gold Guanyin, which he made into…

Artisan green tea producer: Mr. Dai of Anhui, China

Mr. Dai is a master producer of green teas, particularly for the most prestigious hand fired Dragonwell green teas in Hangzhou, China. He also manages some of the top gardens at Lion’s Peak, the most sought after hilside for Dragonwell. Originally, we sought him out for his superior Dragonwell, but upon learning that he is also the last remaining keeper of the Yellow Tea tradition, we have decided to support his efforts to keep Yellow Tea alive by importing almost his entire crop each year. Q: Mr. Dai, how long have you been making tea? A: I was originally from Jin Zhai, Anhui, and making Yellow tea was my family tradition. I have done that since I was a kid. When I was in my early 20s, I went to Hangzhou in the hopes of making a better living. I got hired because of my tea skills to make Dragonwell…

Artisan Tea Producer: Mr. Zhang of Wuyi Mountain, China

So many of the artisans that we buy teas from are unique and deserve the utmost attention and respect. It’s difficult to choose just one to highlight. Mr. Zhang, of Wuyi Mountain, China, however, would definitely be the first. Wuyi ‘Rock’ teas were often State gifts from the Central Chinese government to other dignitaries, such as the President of the United States. As a result, the requirements of being an acknowledged artisan in a fabled tea producing region is quite high. Wuyi Mountain is a legendary scenic area of some of the most pristine waters and cliffs, with a unique terroir that commands some extreme requisites for growth. Mr. Zhang has tackled the job of mastering what is traditional farming and processing techniques. He has also created personalized equipment to make exceptional versions of Wuyi teas. Wuyi teas are arbor type Camellia Shuixian varietals that grow on just 10cm of soil, and…

Know Your Tea: An Interview with Ashok Kumar, Owner of Goomtee Estate

In China, the most exciting new green teas  of the season are invariably Pre-Ming or Pre-Rain, with Dragonwell leading the way to being the most sought after in that category. In Japan, it’s called Shincha,or ‘New Tea’. Elsewhere in the world, First Flush Darjeeling is the biggest deal for tea aficionados! We love this early, almost green, version of Darjeeling for its very unique spicy fragrance, and honeywater taste and texture. Here, we interviewed Mr. Ashok Kumar, owner of Goomtee Estate in Darjeeling, to hear from him directly what he thinks about this year’s crop, and other issues: 1. Where is Goomtee situated relative to other Darjeeling farms, and position advantages, if any? Any particular terroir differences? Darjeeling farms are generally located between 1500′-6500′ above msl. Goomtee ranges from 2500′-6500′, avoiding low grown teas. Further, we are located in between Jungpana to the south and Castleton in the north which are among the best marks in Darjeeling. We mostly have the varieties planted…

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