The Business of Friendship | TeaSource
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The Business of Friendship

Shop Ms. Zhang's tea collection HERE.

I stumbled across YQY Tea Co. in Changsha, China in 2006. This tea company was formed by a husband wife team, Mr. Jian Bo Hua and Ms. Zhang Liu Mei in 1996 focusing on traditional teas from Hunan province. Over the years they have been one of our most reliable and hospitable tea suppliers.

Ms. Zhang Liu Mei and her husband Jian Bo Hua founded YQY Tea Co. in Changsha City, Hunan, China in 1996. They had a mission: to bring the quality and benefits of Hunan Green Tea and Hunan Dark Tea to people outside their region. Dark tea is an aged fermented tea (puer is an example). Ms. Zhang has a degree in Tea Science from Hunan University, and is well known throughout China as a tea botanist. I first met them at a tea show while traveling through Changsha in 2006. We spent most of the day together and then went back to their factory to drink tea through most of the night. Another case where business evolves into friendship, their daughter Joy has spent Christmas in Minnesota with my family.

A tea garden for employees at YQY’s factory in Changsha, Hunan, China.

An experimental garden at YQY’s headquarters that has a variety of different tea cultivars that the company uses for different teas.

Ms. Zhang and her daughter Joy on my first visit to Changsha in 2006.

A Buddhist nun performing a Chinese tea ceremony in 2006 in Changsha in YQY’s headquarters.

Some of Ms. Zhang’s tea fields in northern Hunan province.

An assortment of Ms. Zhang’s dark teas.

Ms. Zhang, and daughter Joy translating, conducting a tea tasting/workshop at TeaSource St Anthony in 2013.

Ms. Zhang and I cupping teas in Minnesota.

Wrapping up the Minnesota visit of Ms. Zhang and her daughter Joy.   

YQY has been one of the most innovative and reliable companies I could hope to work with. I have learned so much from Ms. Zhang over the years, and I’ve gained new friends at the same time.

Bill Waddington, founder


  • Posted by Keith R. Starkey on

    Life, the way it should be, for all of us.

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