We visited Tea Master Xu, at his factory and warehouse in Wuyi Mountain. As a native villager of Wuyi Mountain he owns trees on different areas of the Mountain.
It was there in his tea room at his factory and warehouse that he and his wife, Lai, served us tea. We felt so honored to be there. We totally enjoyed the tea, and their company. We listened tentatively, in awe, asked questions, and hung on every word spoken by Ming, whom we relied on heavily to interpret. We were given a tour of his factory and warehouse. Just as we were setting out on the mountain, Master Xu was interrupted and whisked away by an important phone call. So it was Lai his wife who took his place and walked us up the area outside their factory. She is so kind and sweet.
Master Xu formally studied at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University. And can you guess? He majored in the study of tea. But he started his journey with tea when just 15 years old. His Uncle was a tea master from whom he also learned and was mentored. It was along with his uncle and cousin that they started their family tea business.
Master Xu is actually quite a famous tea master. He was one of the last tea masters that tended to the original six famous Da Hong Pao tea trees that now are over 380 years old. So precious and valued is this tea that it was stored in vaults and only the president and other heads of state were allowed to drink it.
In 2004 these trees were put to rest, but not without Master Xu taking a cutting from them to start his own “children” trees. Using the old traditional methods of tea processing, he calls this tea, “Pure Da Hong Pao”. Pure meaning "original". (We offer this very tea for sale on our website.)
But I must say his teas are also pure, in the meaning of uncontaminated, clean, unpolluted. No chemicals, fertilizers or sprays ever touch his tea trees. He relies on the universe and richness of the earth to nourish them. They grow in the red clay and high rocks of Wuyi Mountain. And in the center of Wuyi is where the highest quality teas are found.
This purity and cleanliness continues from the mountain into his factory and warehouse, where he maintains pristine conditions for processing and storage. He has no problem drinking the first pour off of his tea. He says "his tea is so clean, and he likes the taste and the caffeine of it as well".
Making tea is an art. The energy and spirit of the tea master imbibes the tea. Master Xu put three months of his energy into processing his Da Hong Pao Tea. He said, "it is during the processing that he brings out the flower in the tea as he makes it".
We spent the entire afternoon and evening with he and his wife. As we finished our tour and tea tasting they graciously invited us to dinner. We could not convince them to let us treat them, so we continued as their guests. We had the greatest of times. Not only was the local food so delicious, their company meant so much to us. They are both very sweet, kind and gentle. And don’t let Master Xu’s seriousness at times fool you. He has a great smile, a laughing heart and an enjoyable spirit.
We are so fortunate to be able to have his teas and offer them to others. There are only two companies outside of China that has his tea. SonWu Tea and one other London based tea company.
We love Master Xu and Lai. And we love their tea. We hope you will enjoy it too.