Fresh From Origin
Yunnan is the name of the Southern Chinese province bordering Vietnam. It's believed to be the birthplace of tea, and home of the oldest wild growing tea tree (never pruned to be bush height). This tree is estimated to be 1,700 years old! Yunnan's most senior cultivated tree, by contrast, is a relative youngster - a mere 800 years old. These are the large leafed tea varieties - Camellia sinensis assamica - which is also found in India. Yunnan also has the distinction of producing more black tea than any other part of China, although it's a relative newcomer to this variety. Black tea was first produced here in 1939, and is distinguished by its unique peppery, earthy and sometimes cocoa-like flavor.
Meet our yunnan noir farmer, Zha Luo
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
them. Our Roots Campaign connects our customers with the rich stories and the farmers
behind some of our most popular teas.
How long have you been growing tea and what got you started?
“I started to work for tea when I was 18. I have great interest in tea. I liked to help my parents to make tea after school. Now I am happy as I can work whole day with tea. I do love tea.”
Can you describe a typical day out in the field?
“Normally I get up at 6 in tea season. It will be very busy in tea season. I have to work the whole day from picking to making. Normally I go to pick up tea leaves in the morning and do some making in the afternoon. I need to climb some tea mountain to pick up tea leaves. I am young I am not tired. I love to do it.”
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What is your favorite part of growing tea?
“My favorite part is shaping the Yunnan Noir tea. It has a beautiful shape which is curl and golden. It requires experience and patience. Now I am still young I have a lot to learn from my master who is my father. I am happy when I can make better shape for a new lot. I am sure I can get better and better in the future.”