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

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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 michael e hale on

    China is an old country. Its history of the arts is one of the most accomplished.
    Funny, tea consumption is one of China’s relatively recent customs starting around the fifth century.
    I can’t help but wonder, for me, how things would have been different as a tea drinker
    instead of visiting the office coffee pot over my four decades office career. Today, a committed
    tea consumer (mainly Dragon Well), I am more human. We owe our bottomless gratitude to tea.

  • Posted by TeaSource on

    Thanks for your comment, Michael. We share your sentiments – tea is a remarkable thing!

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