The terroir is a combination of soil, climate, history and culture that gives each place a unique character. This concept is prevalent in the wine industry and applies very well to Pu-erh tea. Each mountain has its own taste, and by drinking tea, you get to navigate through the varied landscapes of Yunnan Province.
We strive to provide you with teas that will be interesting to try and which will further your understanding of the terroir concept. Each of the teas we source represent their area of origin adequately.
On top of the broad ‘taste of the mountain’ aspect, the same leaves can be processed in different ways. The way you process tea affects how the raw material is rendered. You could think of it like cooking a variety of meals from the same ingredients. You can give a style to the tea and craft the leaves, or purposely give a minimalist processing and allow the raw material quality to speak for itself.
A good tea should invoke a reaction in the taster, the worst kind of tea you can get is a boring one: not bad tasting, but without any characteristic traits. Like a good piece of art, a good tea session should reach your heart and alter your emotions. This is the kind of leaves we strive to find.
And yet, a unique tasting profile is not the only condition we have to source a tea.
The tea must be grown without pesticides. It is important to ensure our tea drinking activity has a limited impact on the environment. Not only do pesticides cause chemical pollution that damages biodiversity, but their use indicates a garden management model that works against nature. The natural ecosystem should be a tool in the farmer’s system to help achieve his goal: producing good tasting tea, having a sufficient harvest and eventually being able to live off his trade. In Yunnan, using pesticides is not necessary if the farmer is in the high quality tea market, and it causes more harm than good to the overall landscape.
We do not consider official certifications and make use of our knowledge and judgment to assess whether or not the garden is managed sustainably. Organic certifications in China are only accessible to large scale operations, do not necessarily align with sustainability, and most often do not meet our quality requirements. Read more on why quality tea must be grown without pesticides.
We also care about the social impact of our trade. We run a small business that we started from the ground up in our early twenties. We like to support small scale farmers, who run a family business, and who’s operations look like ours. We do not buy tea from large companies built on government subsidies or large capital investments. We make sure we pay a fair price for the leaves and a large part of the money you give us goes to passionate tea producers running a family farm in the mountains of Yunnan. Read more on why family agriculture is better than industrial farming.
Finally, we work in full transparency and guarantee the authenticity of what we sell. On many occasions, we had to refrain from buying a tea we liked because we weren’t sure about its origin. In order for you to study tea properly, we need to provide you with accurate information. We also like to showcase the work of the farmers we work with and occasionally gather interviews with them or share their working methods with you. Read more on why transparency matters.