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meet the farmer
Li Xue Tao - Fu Jian Province
Q How long have you been growing tea?
Q What got you started in the Tea industry?
A“It is a family business by several generations. I helped to do some simple farmer work when I was 10 years old. When I was 17, I began to work formally for tea growing and production.”
Q Can you describe a typical day out in the field. How many hours would that be?
A“Jasmine bloom is very a special tea which the pick-up time is only 20 days. Which begins 10 days before Qingming festival and ends 10 dyas after Qingming. Qingming is a very important date for tea. Druing this season the bud of the white tea material is very tender and long, which is easily made into different shape.It is the busiest time for me during the whole year. We go to the moutain around 5-6am. We are trying the best to pick up the tender buds with length of 7-10cm. We need to work like this 11-12 hourse everyday. After dehydration and primary processing we will put these fresh material into the freezer to keep it in the best condition. Then we will unfreeze them after the picking season and prepare for making bloom teas by hand.”
Q What is your favorite part of growing tea? What inspires you to keep going?
A“I love the picking during Qing Ming time. The quality of teas made from this season is the best. All the bloom tea material must be corrected by this time. Though the work is very hard like this, I am very happy to share the happiness with everyone when the bloom teas come out. It is good to enjoy such a beauty among all teas with friends. The special making with pleasant flavor is the best tea in my heart.”
Q Conversely, what is the hardest part of your job?
A“We are a team with more than 200 workers. Every bloom ball is a special art made by hand. It is our task to let all our workers to produce high quality bloom teas. So the management is the most complicated job and the most challenging task.”
Q How has tea farming changed over the years?
A“Before nobody take care of the tea garden. The tea leaves are difficult to pick up because of the uneven size. Now the management of the tea garden is very strict and mature. We must pruning the tea trees.”
Q What do you think makes your tea more unique or better than others?
A“We control every steps of the production with experience and hard work. We are trying the best to make every bloom ball in the best shape and beautiful blossom. As a result, our bloom tea is the best.”
Q What makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful harvest?
A“Weather is very important. It is much more important for the only two weeks picking time than any other teas.”
Q Do you exchange growing secrets with other local farmers?
A“Yes, I do. It is a good chance to learn from each other to make our quality better and better.”
Q Are there any tips you can give on how to best brew your tea?
A“Using the mountain spring water to brew each ball with a glass cup. It will be better to drink it with honey when it is cooling down.”
Q What is your favorite tea to drink and why?
A“Of course our bloom beauty. I am proud of it.”
Q If you had any advice to give western tea drinkers, what would it be?
A“Welcome to visit our beautiful hometown Fuding. You can enjoy the both pleasant viewing and teas.”
Q What does this project & contribution mean to you?
A“I will invite all my workers to enjoy a happy dinner. Thank you!”
fresh from the gardenTo ensure the best quality and value, we import our teas directly from the countries in which they are grown, working closely with the farmers who tender them.
Our Roots Campaign connects our customers with the rich stories and the farmers behind some of our most popular teas.