Verdant Tea

The He Family Tea Farm: Internationally Acclaimed Tea from Laoshan Village, ShandongThe He Family Tea Farm: Internationally Acclaimed Tea from Laoshan Village, Shandong
"If you don't work for it, [the tea] won't grow" - He Changke"If you don't work for it, [the tea] won't grow" - He Changke

"Laoshan is unlike any other tea region on earth.

Our farm sits at sea level, protected from the sun by the ocean mist that rolls up the slopes of the steep Laoshan mountainsides. Our parents began cultivating tea in this village sixty years ago and started the right way with organic farming & respect for the ecosystem of our Taoist holy mountain.

We hand pick every leaf and hand-finish our tea in small batches.

We hope you’ll taste for yourself to understand what makes our family’s tea
from the northernmost tea region in China so unique.”

- He Changke // 何昌科

Our Most Popular Teas

Discover Laoshan with the He Family

This bundle includes five 25g bags of Laoshan tea for 125g total (25 sessions). The He Family were some of the first to plant tea in Laoshan, one of China’s newest and northernmost tea growing regions [...]

$36.35 $32.72

Laoshan Herbal Tasting Kit

This bundle includes five 25g bags of wild-foraged Laoshan herbal teas for 125g total (25 sessions).The He Family in Laoshan is bringing green tea craft to wild-foraged caffeine-free herbals picked within [...]

$36.95 $33.26

  1. 2022 Autumn Laoshan Black
    2022 Autumn Laoshan Black

    The He Family’s Most Popular Tea. This cool autumn season harvest black tea is packed with flavor and aromatics, fully oxidized and roasted to achieve the iconic malty, chocolatey, honeyed Laoshan Black flavor.

  2. 2021 Wild Laoshan Gan Zao Ye
    2021 Wild Laoshan Gan Zao Ye

    Gan Zao Ye (Wild Jujube) is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea that grows unmanaged and wild on the slopes of Laoshan. The He family forages a limited quantity each spring and hand-processes it just like a traditional green tea with withering, firing and curling. The final result is packed with just as much flavor complexity (and antioxidants) as a traditional tea with a striking barley and walnut flavor. 

  3. 2021 Spring Laoshan Roasted Oolong
    2021 Spring Laoshan Roasted Oolong
    Laoshan Roasted Oolong is the most technically-demanding and labor-intensive tea that the He Family produces. As one of the first people in Northern China to take on oolong craft, Mr. He is defining the flavor and value of this new tea for the entire region. He starts with tender hand-picked leaves from his mountain-spring fed ocean-facing plot, and allows them a full two days to oxidize before beginning the critical kneading and shaking stage that brings out deep rich fruit and florals not normally present. These flavors are locked in with a heavy roast for a tea with the satisfying body of Laoshan Black but with the subtlety of the fine oolong.
  4. 2021 Laoshan Pine Needle Green
    2021 Laoshan Pine Needle Green

    Long slender hand-twisted leaves picked in early spring from organic cultivation rocky fields. Mr. He only makes his green tea loose leaf so that people can appreciate the craft and beauty of his finishing technique. The flavor is delicate, mineral-driven and sweet through every steeping thanks to the careful hand-finishing, cold northern climate, and innovative growing techniques.

Our Home: Laoshan Village

our tea fields in early May
our family lives between the beautiful mountains and the ocean
  • ● tea plants nurtured by famous mountain springs

  • ● the coldest tea climate in China produces sweet teas

  • rocky soil produces mineral-driven texture

  • ● shaded 3-layer greenhouses protect early spring leaves 

  • protected National Forest land
    for clean air and water 

  • biodynamic farming healthy plants and people

 

About Us: the He Family

He Changke is a proud 2nd generation tea farmer.

His father was one of the first people to plant tea in the village outside of the Taoist monastery, pioneering organic farming with a vision of making Laoshan the most famous tea microclimate in China. Mr. He is passing on his father’s work to his daughter He Qingqing, co-owner of importer Verdant Tea.

Qingqing and her parents have worked together to not only improve the craft of the region, but invent entirely new tea types to bring fame to Laoshan and raise up their village.

The He Family hopes that tea will be the path to better living for the whole region, and believe a healthy tea industry in Laoshan is the best way to champion environmental protection for Laoshan National Park.

Above, He Qingqing in the workshop with her mother, father, younger sister, and daughter

Our Teas and Craft

He Changke works with fresh tea leaves
everyone works together to sort tea leaves

 

We work hard for our teas

In the south, mild climates mean easier seasons. Here in the north, we rebuild greenhouses every winter, cut back every summer, and grow soybeans between tea fields as a way to distract insects and to mulch and return nitrates to our soil.

When picking season arrives, we have a short window of perfect weather to hand pick every tender bud.

We hand-finish every leaf in our family workshop. Every 100g of finished tea takes more than a pound of fresh picked leaves. Many of our teas take over 16 hours of craft to get from fresh leaves to finished tea.

We take no shortcuts in our craft because we believe that Laoshan unique climate can produce some of the best teas in the world.

See us at work

 

Many importers claim to source from small family farms, but are they actually sharing the stories, values, and point of view of the farmers?

Don’t settle for tea of questionable origins. See the people behind the tea and hear the real stories. The He Family and Verdant Tea have been working together for almost a decade. Here are just two videos from our time together:

Learn even more!

  1. 2022 Autumn Reserve Laoshan Green
    2022 Autumn Reserve Laoshan Green

    Picked in the October fall weather, this early autumn harvest Reserve Laoshan Green is picked from the first tender growth of the cool weather season. The extreme northern climate means cold winters and short tea growing seasons in Laoshan, but these sweet buds and tender young leaves are picked before the winter cold ends the growing season at the He Family’s ocean-facing plot at the foot of the Laoshan mountains. This special seasonal offering is intensely sweet with a crisp, fresh flavor and juicy, mouthwatering aftertaste.

  2. 2022 Autumn Laoshan Green
    2022 Autumn Laoshan Green

    The green tea loose leaf classic from Laoshan, hand-picked in the He Family’s organic mist-shaded fields and packed with creamy green bean flavor. This harvest is picked in the cool autumn air after resting the plant through summer. The result is crisp, fresh flavor with more savory green bean and cream that Laoshan for which Laoshan is famous. The He family's signature green tea is fed by mountain spring water, picked by hand, and cultivated sustainably using traditional chemical-free farming techniques including growing rows of soybean between rows of tea to restore nitrates to the soil. The extreme northern climate means cold winters and short growing seasons, but the He Family perseveres, protecting their tea in greenhouses over the winter. The result is a deeply sweet and delicate green tea unlike any other in the world.

  3. 2022 Autumn Laoshan Biluochun
    2022 Autumn Laoshan Biluochun

    This is the He Family’s iconic loose leaf green tea: organic farming, curled leaves that dance in the cup, all carefully hand-finished for rich creamy flavor. Delicate hand-picked buds and leaves are withered in bamboo baskets, and carefully hand curled and rolled under low heat to form beautiful long twists that unfold gracefully in a glass teapot or tumbler. The fresh and delicate leaf material is the first new growth of the cool autumn season as the weather starts turning and the mornings and nights are misty again. 

  4. Autumn Flat Pressed Laoshan Green
    Autumn Flat Pressed Laoshan Green

    The He Family saves this time-consuming flat-passing technique for their sweetest most delicate harvests of the year. The flat-pressing technique is inspired by Dragonwell green tea hand-crafting, and with the cool-weather precious autumn harvest, Mr. He brings out floral notes and deep herbaceous complexity. The day-long meticulous finishing process is worth it for the beautiful leaves that dance in the cup, and the sweet aromatics .

  5. 2022 Spring Laoshan Green
    2022 Spring Laoshan Green

    The green tea loose leaf classic from Laoshan, hand-picked in the He Family’s organic mist-shaded fields and packed with creamy green bean flavor. The He family's signature green tea is fed by mountain spring water, picked by hand, and cultivated sustainably using traditional chemical-free farming techniques including growing rows of soybean between rows of tea to restore nitrates to the soil. The extreme northern climate means cold winters and short growing seasons, but the He Family perseveres, protecting their tea in greenhouses over the winter. The result is a deeply sweet and delicate green tea unlike any other in the world.

  6. 2022 Spring Laoshan Biluochun
    2022 Spring Laoshan Biluochun
    Classic Laoshan Bilochun is picked after the He Family removes the protective greenhouse coverings from their tea at the end of the cold season. The hand-twisting and slow finishing process of bilochun is Mr. He’s personal favorite, making this his own daily go-to tea. Hand-processing brings out even thicker texture and sweeter creamier flavors than classic Laoshan Green.
  7. 2022 Spring Reserve Laoshan Green
    2022 Spring Reserve Laoshan Green

    A mild winter and cool spring has made for a beautiful early harvest of shade-grown Reserve Laoshan Green. These sweet and delicates buds and leaves are picked while still under greenhouse protection in the He Family’s ocean-facing plot at the foot of the Laoshan mountains. The early April picking is still intensely sweet and packed with deep minerality.

  8. 2022 Reserve Laoshan Biluochun
    2022 Reserve Laoshan Biluochun

    Mr. He personally hand twists and finished each leaf in this labor-intensive early-spring biluochun style. Laoshan spring comes much later than southern China. At this time of year, before Qing Ming festival, the He Family's Laoshan tea is fully shade-grown, protected by greenhouse coverings to keep back the cold northern air. The nuance of the bilochun processing style brings out the subtle minerality of the Laoshan microclimate. Delicate slow-growing green tea is very limited until the coverings come off in late April - this year's 2022 harvest is limited to less than 5kg

  9. 2022 Reserve Pine Needle Green
    2022 Reserve Pine Needle Green

    Mr. He’s daughter Qingqing, co-owner of Verdant Tea, pioneered this finishing style with her father. She loves the long delicate twisting technique for the way the leaves dance in a glass pitcher as they unfold yielding a delicate nuanced brew that lasts over multiple steepings. The hand pulled and twisted finish on this early reserve harvest shows off the delicate deep-green buds that the family picks with so much care, cultivating with sustainable chemical free farming, and fed by sweet mountain spring water.