Direct Sourcing: Ms. Zhao | TeaSource
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Direct Sourcing: Ms. Zhao

In 2013, TeaSource was part of a U.S. trade mission to Puer, Yunnan, China. During this trip, Bill met Ms. Zhao Yu Jie and she has been one of our direct sources for black tea and puer ever since. She and her husband Mr. Pan make up the Hanming Xuan Tea Company in Kunming, China.

TeaSource Operations Manager Michael will be visiting Ms. Zhao in Yunnan this July. Stay tuned for more exciting teas and travelogues!

Bill having tea with Ms. Zhao for the first time

puer tea" rel="noopener noreferrer">SHOP MS. ZHAO'S TEAS

Ms. Zhao’s teas are entirely handmade from wild tea trees grown at a 6000' elevation. Each tree is between 80 to 100 years old, which requires them to climb high into the branches to pluck the young leaves at the tips of the branches. During plucking season Ms. Zhao will call on her extended family to help pluck leaves.

Ms. Zhao (yellow jacket) and her extended family

Ms. Zhao has been producing puers and black teas for over ten years, having learned the tea business from her father who worked for old Chinese state-owned tea companies. This is a full-time family business through and through. Ms. Zhao’s teas are truly exquisite with depth and variety in color, aroma, and texture. Teas like this are not commodities; they are works of art. 

Ms. Zhao's Wild Mountain Yunnan

Buy it HERE

An old wild tree in Chang Ning County of Menghai City, Yunnan

Ms. Zhao high up in a tea tree plucking the youngest tea leaves and buds to make one of her fabulous teas.

Ms. Zhao with a basket full freshly plucked wild tea leaves.

Ms. Zhao and her husband Mr. Pan


Mr. Pan hand-rolling the leaves, the second step toward making a wonderful finished tea.
Ms. Zhao sun-withers the leaves which imparts a nuance to the finished tea, unattainable by factory withering.

Raw material

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Pan firing tea leaves for making Puer at about 200°C. This step takes 30-45 minutes per batch.

Ripe Puer that was just made.

When the leaf turns  brownish-red and the bud becomes a gold/yellow color, that means the taste is soft and the bitterness decreased. That's the visual cue to stop post fermentation and move to drying.

Ms. Zhao's 2014 Sheng Puer Pearl - Limited quantity

Buy it HERE

Ms. Zhao's Golden Needle black tea

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View from Ms. Zhao's tea fields


  • Posted by Marianne Custer on

    For anyone interested in tea and a riveting novel set in a tea village in Yunnan Province, try THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE. The book also has descriptions of the making of Puer. It’s a nice read with a cup of tea.

  • Posted by Marianne Custer on

    I forgot to add the name of the author: Lisa See

  • Posted by TeaSource on

    Thanks for the recommendation, Marianne! Some of our staff have read the book and really enjoyed it, too!

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