Jimo Center for Tea Culture and Literacy
Weiwei Ren, teacher, master tea taster, and the woman who makes Verdant tea happen by doing all of our buying and shipping in China, has a lifelong dream….
Her dream is to open a reading room and tea center- a safe place where people of any class or education could gather on equal footing to sip tea together, read books for free from the literary collection, and hold group meetings, or put up art exhibits and play music. While these kinds of spaces may be more common in America, in Weiwei’s hometown of Jimo, such a place does not exist. We want to help her make it happen.
In partnership with Verdant Tea, Weiwei plans to open the Jimo Center for Tea Culture and Literacy in July of 2013. This holiday season, we need your help to kickstart this dream. From now, through the end of the year, a portion of proceeds from all of our tea sales will go to funding the startup costs of the center, including book buying, building out reading rooms, and acquiring tea wares and tea to offer to all guests.
After the initial startup costs, the center will be self-sustaining, raising money for rent and employees to staff the reading room by offering unique looseleaf teas from the He family in Laoshan, Mrs Li in Dragonwell, and Wang Huimin in Fujian. Sales of these teas will cover the modest operating expenses once the center is up and running. All the money we raise this holiday season for her project goes straight to buying books and building the center.
Weiwei has a good friend willing to rent out their two story traditionally built house with inner garden courtyard to become the new cultural center. This house is located on the biggest park in Jimo and sees major foot traffic from students, and younger kids and their parents. It will be the first indoor social gathering space in the area.
Weiwei is devoted to classical Chinese culture and literature. Her goal is to fill the reading room with hand scribed manuscripts, giving younger people the chance to interact with a text on a deeper level than reading on a computer screen. The library will be full of poetry, novels, and books of art. Illustrated children’s books will be available as well.
Tea is unique in its ability to create community. Weiwei envisions tea served in the reading room as a way to bring strangers together and spark conversation. All tea will be sourced from the same devoted families that Verdant Tea works with, and served in traditional gaiwans and teapots. Weiwei’s staff will supply hot water and explain to each guest how to pour their own tea gongfu style. Packaged
tea will be available for sale to support the centers upkeep,
and acquisition of new books.