Saturday, May 06, 2006

Xito Organic, Fair Trade Green Tea Garden

On the road again, after saying good bye to Mr. Fong we were off again on our way to visit Wuyan Village, an ancient village north of Huangshan. The drive was delightful, Mr Shaw our driver even offered us tea on the ride and the scenery was once again breathe taking. As we climbed the mountain it began raining and the closer we got to the top the heavier the rain became. The state is building a highway so the small roads leading to the village are mud and rock, it was like being on horse back. I thought about all the complaining we do in the states when the roads are under construction and these people are on foot, bicycles or pushing heavy carts and must contend with these conditions and they seem to view it as a minor issue even though the new road will not access their village.

We arrived to be greeted by the shareholders of the Xito garden and factory and were invited in for tea. The best part of this was that one of the shareholders is a woman, the first that we have met in a business capacity since being in China. Mrs. Yu Jing Hong is the former Deputy Governor of Wuyan County and has a great attachment to the welfare of the people in this region.

After tea we went to lunch in the factory dining room, which was a kitchen and a table in a separate room for special guests. The cuisine was once again good with local specialties like a frog stew of some sort.

After lunch we toured the factory which produces organic, fair trade green teas of several types. Mr Yong the Chairman of the shareholders is an agronomist and maintains the quality at all levels of tea production; planting, growing, harvesting and processing. He has over 40 years of tea experience and is a renowned tea master.

After walking the tea factory we were going to visit the garden but the weather did not cooperate so instead we cupped, tasted and judged, green teas. I was honored to be invited to compare teas with the tea master Mr. Yong and will never forget this experience. As always in China guests are first so I was on the hot seat. I judge the dry tea leaves first, Crown Mist, Ming Mei Needle, Ming Mei, Yun Cui, Dragon Well and Yun Cu, each in various grades which are not marked. I selected my quality choices and Mr. Yong says that I have selected best. We then judged the soup (tea liquor) and again I did well. Finally we judged the wet leaf and I was able to learn so much.

At the end of our tasting I was presented with 4 small wood trays that are used to test the wet leaves, by Mr. Zhong & Mr. Yong, I was overwhelmed.

We visited other things here but I am off for another day of adventure and must go so read more in the June Tea Spot, Wuyan it's history, people and tea will be the topic!
Beth

1 comment:

Jason said...

Hey Beth,

I am helping start a company to import tea to the US, and we spent a few days in Wuyuan with the Xito family. It was a great trip, and I am glad that you enjoyed it as well. be careful though; once you start with tea, it can be addicting!

Jason