TeaSource, whenever possible, sources teas directly from the men and women who grow and make the tea. One of our favorite recent direct sources is Ms. Zhao Yu Jie of Kunming, China. Ms. Zhao and her husband are a two-person tea company who make some of the best teas we've tasted in years.
To shop Ms. Zhao's teas, CLICK HERE.
Ms. Zhao (in yellow) and her husband standing in front of one of the wild tea trees from which they harvest leaves. This tree is around 80-100 years old. During plucking season Ms. Zhao will call on her extended family to help pluck leaves, often with a few young nieces and nephews running around the tea tree/plants.
Ms. Zhao with a basketful of tea leaves she has just plucked from one of her wild tea trees. Now, she has to carry the basket out of the forest to where it can be transported to her shop, where she’ll magically change it into a superior puer tea.
Ms. Zhao’s husband, lovingly hand-rolling the leaves, the second step toward making a wonderful finished tea.
Ms. Zhao uses sun-withering of the leaves, which imparts a nuance to the finished tea, unattainable by factory withering.
One of the many myths in the world tea is that there are wild tea trees which locals have to climb high into the branches to pluck the young leaves at the tips of the tallest branches. Unlike most tea myths, this myth happens to be true. Here Ms. Zhao is high up in a tea tree, plucking the youngest tea leaves and buds to make one of her fabulous teas. BTW, monkeys do NOT pick the leaves for “monkey-picked" oolong.