Verdant Tea was founded to advocate for the small family tea farmers who devote their lives to making the best tea in the world. Our marketplace is tribute to these people- the He Family, Master Zhang, the Qianjiazhai Zhenyuan Dongsa Farmer’s cooperative, the Li Families. We exist to tell their stories and share their work so that they can thrive and continue sharing their craft for generations to come.
The He Family in Laoshan Village, Shandong produces every one of our teas from Laoshan. From the sweet, beany Laoshan Green Tea to their chocolatey Laoshan Black Tea and innovative new Laoshan Oolong teas, everything is hand-picked and processed. Each tea is a labor of love and dedicated, passionate perfectionism on the part of the entire family.
Pioneers and community leaders in Laoshan Village, the He family was one of the first to plant tea on the misty ocean-facing slopes of the Taoist Holy Mountain they call home.
We are proud to share the He Family’s tea every season, and we are dedicated to spreading appreciation for their craft while sharing their unique and innovative teas with the rest of the world.
When we met the Li family of Tongmu (near Xingcun), we were thrilled by every tea they crafted. Verdant Tea founder David Duckler went to school with Li Xiangxi at Qingdao University; since graduating, Li Xiangxi has gone on to open her own school of rural Wuyi-style tea ceremony.
Li Xiangxi’s family works together in Tongmu applying their incredible skill at roasting to their spring-fed high mountain tea. Their proceeds go to teaching rural tea ceremony at Li Xiangxi’s school, and working to preserve the wild tea bushes on the mountains above their family home in Tongmu.
We’re proud to source all of our Wuyi oolong and black teas directly from the Li Family, supporting their dedication to education and the preservation of rural techniques and traditions.
The Zhenyuan Dongsa Farmers’ Cooperative’s plot of wild tea forest in the Qianjiazhai region of Mt. Ailo National Forest Preserve in Yunnan can’t really be found on a map or reached by road. The best Master Zhou – one of the cooperative’s founding members – can do is give you are his GPS coordinates: 24 north and 101 east. The altitude is 2100-2500 meters depending on where you stand. Their oldest tea trees are about 1700 years old.
The cooperative’s hand-picked and wild-foraged pu’er and Yunnan black tea capture the essence of Qianjiazhai’s unique terroir, and help you understand why Yunnan’s aged teas inspire so life-long love and devotion in so many.
Master Zhang’s thousand-meter-high terraced peaks near Daping in Anxi, Fujian are one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Mountain streams feed the bright green tea bushes, protected from the sun by mist. Master Zhang and his neighbors in Daping practice traditional organic farming, and it’s no surprise to see native bushes and wildflowers growing among the hedges of tea.
Master Zhang’s vision for pure hand-picked and hand-processed high mountain Tieguanyin is strong and unwavering. For him, the chance to spread that vision westward is a chance to create a stronger demand for “true” Tieguanyin, and in the process, strengthen the future of Tieguanyin grown with care.
Mrs. Li has been growing Longjing Village’s famous Shi Feng (Lion’s Peak) Dragonwell green tea her entire life. She began learning from her father, one of Dragonwell’s preeminent tasters and graders, as soon as she was old enough to talk.
Despite her family’s pedigree, Mrs. Li is still one of the most warm and welcoming people that you will ever meet, and a cup of her Shi Feng Dragonwell Green tea will help you to understand why Dragonwell is so often praised as China’s most famous tea.
We are honored for the opportunity to share Mrs. Li’s fine Dragonwell Tea on her behalf each year with tea lovers around the world.
Wang Yanxin is a fierce advocate for small family farming, working with her farmer friends from Yunnan to Shandong to develop entirely new kinds of tea, help them establish cooperatives, and bring their teas to a wider market.
She specializes in seeking out wild picked teas in Yunnan’s Lancang river valley, but has also begun passionately exploring modern black teas in recent years, even developing her own new boundary-crossing black tea: Yu Lu Yan Cha.
Her intense honesty and strong opinions make her a true force in Qingdao’s tea markets. Her memory for a tea’s taste, texture and aroma is legendary. We’re proud to call her our friends, and honored to number her – alongside Wang Huimin and Wei Wei Ren – one of our first teachers and tea mentors.