To 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
Our Roots Campaign connects our customers with the rich stories and the farmers
behind some of our most popular teas.
An Xi, China
How long have you been growing tea?
“More than 30 years.”
What got you started in the Tea industry?
“It is a family business generation by generation. I was influenced when I was very young.”
Can you describe a typical day out in the field. How many hours would that be?
“I get up at 5-6am and prepare tools and food. I go to the mountain to pick up the tea leaves around 8-9am when the dew is almost dry. Then put the fresh tea leaves into the primary factory. The tea leaves will be under the steps of bleachery, withering, roiling and drying. After the production the teas will be stored in clean and dry bags and be sealed. Everyday I work like this for about 19 hours. Every step must be handled carefully and tenderly. Otherwise all the hard work during the day will be ruined.”
What is your favorite part of growing tea? What inspires you to keep going?
“I love the picking among all the production. Whenever I made progress and more money I will be very happy. This encourages me always.”
Conversely, what is the hardest part of your job?
“I don't like weeding among all the steps.”
How has tea farming changed over the years?
“Tea production is very traditional. The picking and producing has not much changed during so many years. But for management we have made changed and improved. Before we sell the teas by ourselves. But now we are handled by the factory uniformly. The factory will tell us the policy of local government as well as the request of our far buyers outside China.”
What do you think makes your tea more unique or better than others?
“The long term working experience is the key point.”
What makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful harvest?
“The weather and experience are very important to make good tea and make successful harvest.”
Do you exchange growing secrets with other local farmers?
“Yes, I will.”
Are there any tips you can give on how to best brew your tea?
“It is very important to enjoy tie kuan yin with heart. First we need to be calm and quiet. Second it is very important to use natural water and gong fu tea set to brew teas with friends. The natural water includes mineral water, well water, and mountain spring water. Distilled water and tap water cannot be used.”
What is your favorite tea to drink and why?
“My favorite tea is tie kuan yin. Because it has the affection of reducing blood fat and refreshing spirit. I like the natural smell and pleasant flavor. I like the sweet feeling in my mouth after drinking.”
If you had any advice to give western tea drinkers, what would it be?
“Drink more tie kuan yin. Try to understand the tea culture as well the way of brewing teas.”
What does this project & contribution mean to you?
“I am very happy that there are so many tea lovers outside China. Before I only know my county and a little bit of China.”
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