The He family (pronounced Hə “huh”) produces every one of our teas from Laoshan Village. From the sweet, beany Laoshan Green Tea to the chocolatey Laoshan Black Tea, everything is picked and processed from the tea hedges that grow on their 15 acres of land. During the busy Spring harvest, everyone in the family joins in and helps out, even little NiuNiu at just 5-months old!
He QingQing, NiuNiu’s mother, is Mr. and Mrs. He’s oldest daughter. A close childhood friend of WeiWei Ren, her dream is to open a full-scale teahouse featuring the teas grown by her family. She and her husband Liu have recently opened a small tea shop in the nearby rural city of Jimo where they sell the He family’s tea directly.
Mr. He is the head of his family and his tea farm. Mr. He remembers a time when his parents still grew potatoes and corn, before tea farming became widespread in Laoshan. In recent years, he’s overseen the development of Laoshan Black, flat-pressed “Dragonwell Style” Laoshan Green, and even two kinds of Laoshan Oolong. Mr. He has invested in a large workshop with a full range of tea processing equipment, and he freely shares the facilities with his neighboring tea farmers. Tea leaves from neighbors are carefully tracked with the family’s name and date of picking during all stages of production. This way, the neighborhood can pool and share resources even as each family maintains ownership and autonomy over their own tea.
Mrs. He is not only an expert at picking and processing her family’s tea, she also possesses a wide and deep knowledge of local flowers, berries, vegetables and wild herbs. Hiking up Laoshan’s peaks with Mrs. He, your pockets will soon be full of edible berries, roots and leaves- good for what ails you. She’s proud to know that both of her daughters have learned to pick, process, and sort through the family’s tea, and even more proud to have seen both daughters through college.
Liu Jiaqi (NiuNiu)
The youngest in the He Family, little Liu Jiaqi was only five months old when we met her this Spring. Affectionately nick-named “NiuNiu” by the whole family, she spends much of her time during the harvest with her Grandma and Grandpa. Whether she grows up to take on a role in the family’s tea farm or strikes her own path, she’ll grow up drinking some of the best tea in China.
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