Well, the rain is pouring down here in North Yorkshire which is not too dissimilar from the weather we've had for the last week in China. We arrived back in England on Saturday following a 10-day visit exploring factories, temples, bustling cities, and tea plantations. Here's what Scott & Greg got up too;
Every year the BRUU team head out far and wide to explore the globe in search of incredible new teas. In 2017 we visited India and in 2018 Sri Lanka, sourcing some incredible black tea varieties. So, last week we headed to China to taste some incredibly fresh green teas.
The trip started in Shanghai where we rested after a long 16-hour flight, but once the jet lag had worn off we arranged to meet one of our members Clair. We hand delivered her monthly BRUU box, aside from saving on postage, it was also a great way to get to know our customers and we were eternally thankful for her time.
After a few days exploring Shanghai (and drinking lots of tea), we took the bullet train south towards Wenzhou, which is a factory town famous for making machinery and leather. As some of you may know, your teas are packed using machinery which we developed, and during our visit to Wenzhou we visited the factory that makes our machines - which we now sell through our sister brand Scayl.
English was not widely spoken in this region so we had to rely on Google Translate, which did a remarkable job of helping us understand everybody. We went out for a traditional Chinese meal with the factory owners, which was nothing like the food you find in UK Chinese restaurants and is very heavily seafood based. Raw crab anyone?
Soon it was time to leave and we took another train North to the Yandang Mountains, a coastal mountain range in South Eastern Zhejiang province in eastern China. It was a spectacular region with temples and tea plantations as far as the eye could see.
We stayed with Sri, a martial arts master and someone with a love for tea. We enjoyed amazing Pu erh and Oolong tea which he served for us in a traditional gongfu ceremony. The gongfu tea ceremony or kung fu tea ceremony (Chinese: 工夫茶 or 功夫茶), is a kind of Chinese tea ceremony, involving the ritual preparation and presentation of tea. The term literally means "making tea with skill" and it was a ritual of precision and a delight to watch.
Sri took us to visit a tea plantation which was elevated at 500m above sea level. The estate specialises in Yandang Maofeng, which is a green tea made using the younger needles. The tea is spectacular, offering a really delicate natural taste swimming with peaches and apricots. Unfortunately, we left with on 150g of tea between us, despite the plantation being 15sqkm it only produces 5kg of tea per harvest. Largely because over 40,000 handpicked needles are needed to produce just one kilogram! So, its a very expensive tea owing to how labour intensive it is.
It was amazing staying in the mountains and being surrounded by tea, temples and breathtaking scenery. It was certainly the highlight of our trip and we totally emersed ourselves in the culture, enjoying traditional meals with Sri's family every day.
China wasn't everything we expected though. A lot of the culture has been washed away by previous communist governments - nearly 95% of all the ancient temples were destroyed by them. Also, the pollution took some getting used too but overall it was an amazing experience and the team are now excitedly planning our next trip, this time we hope to Japan!
Gentle reminder...it's almost Mother's Day and everyone knows that Mum's love tea. Check out our tea gifts >