David came to tea not through business, but through a deep engagement with classical Chinese culture. Schooled as a translator of Chinese fiction and poetry, David has spent much time in China on various research grants from the Freeman Foundation and the Fulbright program. If David is not off sourcing tea, he might be found translating novels, like The Mountain Stairway by Tibetan author Alai.
Years ago, David was working with an advisor at Qingdao University on a translation project and happened to walk past a tea market every day. In exploring Chinese tea for the first time, David immediately saw the traditions preserved from China’s classical heritage. David couldn’t help but go back for another year to study tea in more depth, training under a tea master and working in the fields collecting folk tales about tea from the farmers.
This extremely hands-on experience gave David the chance to make lasting friendships with farmers across China, and exposed him to some of the most obscure and wonderful tea in the world. David returned to America extremely indebted to these farmers for the knowledge they passed on and realized that the only way to pay them back was to share that knowledge and tea with the rest of the world. Verdant Tea continues to work directly with the same farmers that David met years ago, and as a result of these friendships, we are able to bring in teas that have never before left China.
In David’s free time, he enjoys cooking as a second passion, attending culinary school and playing with food. He also has a real weakness for collecting yixing teapots. David’s favorite author is Jorge Louis Borges, with Italo Calvino coming in second.