Tea requires hardship.
You cannot follow a simple protocol and expect to make great tea. You have to be willing to put aside everything to see a batch through to the end.
Often a single batch of oolong means over 40 hours in the workshop without sleep to get it just right, and that does not count the time in the fields.
My job really starts in the field, working actively to strengthen the natural ecosystem through my farming choices and also working to research, revive and propagate rare, new or nearly lost cultivars, all to increase biodiversity and secure a better future for oolong.
I grow dozens of different cultivars, some planted by my grandparents with old, deep rootstock. Each varietal has different picking times and different “ideals” in the field and in the workshop.
Every weather condition not only changes picking times but changes the way I fluff and turn the leaves to bring out their aroma, the way I roast them, the moisture levels I aim for; this all requires flexibility, determination, and humility in the face of nature.
Despite the hardship, I love what I do.
Tea is a collaboration between the skies, the earth and us, the people, that can create humbling beauty and complexity.
Seeking this complexity has inspired me to go beyond current styles in oolong and research lost styles like Original Wulong Revival.