The most meaningful aspect of our work in the specialty tea industry is living here in Taiwan and developing friendships with local tea artisans. Visiting them regularly for years on end, learning something new with each meeting, seeing their toils and challenges that change with the seasons — this is the heart of the matter. The roots of tea culture are on the farms and in the homes of the farmers. All else is secondary. All the scientific research, the professional tea judging, the tea art, the promotional events — all of this comes from the farmers working their land.
Knowing where our tea comes from and what goes into the finished product offers a great deal more than a flavorful cup of tea. It is this depth of appreciation that comes from understanding the roots of tea culture that we are most inspired to share with tea lovers around the world.
Here are the faces of a handful of dedicated artisans that have crafted some our favorite batches of tea. We hope these photos will add another level of appreciation and enjoyment to your daily brew.
(Photos by Johnny CY Lam).
Dong Ding Oolong farmer, Young, in the doorway of his home and tea factory.
Dong Ding Oolong Farmer, Young, and his nephew roasting Oolong Tea.
Our good friend and Dong Ding Oolong source, Young, talking tea at his tasting table.
Shanlinxi tea small-scale tea farmer, Mr. Su, riding his monorail, maintaining his tea garden.
Shanlinxi tea farmer, and our tea source, Mr. Su, working in his tea garden.
Traditional charcoal-roasted Dong Ding Tea artisan, Mr. Su, serving tea in his home.
Pioneering Dong Ding tea farmer, our friend and teacher, Mr. Su on his farm in Yonglong Village.
Pioneering Dong Ding Tea farmer, Mr. Su harvesting spring tea in Yonglong Village.
Second generation Lugu tea farmer making spring tea in his traditional, small-scale factory.
Our friends of twenty years, Mr. and Mrs. Chen working side by side in their tea factory.
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We recently visited Mr. Liu when we hosted a visitor from Italy who was keen on experiencing the local tea culture. Our guest was truly elated to be served tea by a true artisan of the trade. Mr. Liu served us three different teas that were all locally harvested this past spring. They varied only in their degree oxidation and roasting. And the one that was sufficiently oxidized, but only lightly roasted, immediately impressed us.