Producer of the Moment: M. Huang Wen
Each month, the Camellia Sinensis team presents one of its favorite producers, shares the story of their first encounter, and the producer’s story. This month, we have Mr. Huang Wen, a tea producer in Wei Shan, China.
Please tell us the story of your encounter with Camellia Sinensis.
It is an interesting story. I first got in touch with Camellia Sinensis through Taobao website in 2012. At that time, François Marchand and his team had been looking for organic teas in China. Since 2006, our community has been producing tea according to the European Union’s organic standards. This is what brought us together. Today, not only are we long-time partners, but we are also good friends.
When and how did you first step into the world of tea?
I started working in the tea industry in 2013, after graduating from Agricultural University in Hunan. My father, Huang Xueqin, is the founder of our company. He’s been working in the industry for 25 years. It is the Wei Shan region itself that made him want to do that. Tea history in Wei Shan goes way back to the Tang dynasty. The region’s growing conditions are unique. The environment resembles a small alpine meadow. In 1994, my father abandoned his taxi company to go back to where he was born and to start producing tea. As for me, my childhood was immersed in this universe. Cultivation, transformation, production, I learned everything, just as I learned loving tea. After I got my university degree, I joined my father’s company right away.
Are you the owner of your gardens?
What area do they cover?
6000 mus (4 km2)
How much tea do you produce each year?
600 tons in total, all grades included (low, medium and high-grade teas).
How many workers do you hire annually?
58 regular employees, 1000 pickers every day during harvest season in the spring.
Which aspects of your work do you prefer?
I love producing and selling tea. In the production area, I find truly interesting that the same leaves can be transformed into such a variety of different products. With the same material, we can make green tea, black tea, yellow tea, and so on. This process has something magical about it. Regarding sales, I like meeting people. Over time, I came to know many others who love tea. A friendship is a very important part of the job for me.
Who is buying your teas? Local or international clients?
Although we have a few international clients, most of our company’s tea is sold in China.
Have you seen any changes since you started in the industry?
Changes in the industry have been very significant, especially during the last 10 years or so. Each year, organic products gain recognition with Chinese consumers, which is fantastic. Also, more and more international friends value and appreciate Chinese tea. Especially good teas. Local or international, consumers have a deeper interest in what they drink. Lastly, I would say that nowadays, a company’s image or brand has become very important. This is true for direct buyers as well as for those who buy on the Internet and there are more than ever.
What is your favourite tea?
Of course, my favorite tea is our organic Wei Shan Mao Jian, which we have been producing for over 25 years. Our garden's unique geographical location gives it superior qualities. It has a gentle mouthfeel, with a long-lasting chestnut finish, rich and sweet.
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