Producer of the moment: Mr. Zhang
A Producer and his Teas
Zhang ZhengKu, Dragon Pearls and white tea producer in Fuding, China.
Each month, the Camellia Sinensis team presents one of its favourite producers, shares the story of their first encounter, and the producer’s story.
This month, we have Mr. Zhang ZhengKu, Dragon Pearls and white tea producer in Fuding, China. Jasmin met Mr. Zhang in 2004 during his second trip to China. Having landed in Fuding without an interpreter, Jasmin went around on his own in search of white teas. Going from shop to shop around town proved unsuccessful and Jasmin wondered why he couldn’t see a single garden in Fuding. When inquiring about Fuding’s tea gardens to a local shopkeeper, his luck finally turned. Ten minutes and a phone call later, Mr. Zhang stoped by with his truck and invited Jasmin to visit his gardens further up in the mountains. This Buddhist-minded conscientious producer proved himself the perfect candidate for a long-term collaboration.
When and how did you first step into the world of tea?
In 1981, after I was demobilized from the army, I returned to my hometown of Fuding. I found work here in an agricultural research center as manager of tea gardens and tea factories and that’s how I started my career in tea
Are you the owner of your tea garden?
What is the size of your tea garden?
Our company has more than 300 hectares of organic tea plantation as well as another plantation zoned for "Green food" with more than 1500 hectares of tea gardens.
How many kilos of tea are you producing every year?
How many staff work with you?
We hire 50 permanent workers as well as a large seasonal workforce during harvest seasons. Green tea for Dragon Pearls is harvested in spring, but you then have to wait until summer for the jasmine blossoms and then until fall to complete factory production and release the final product. It takes a lot of work.
Which aspects of your work do you prefer?
I like working in the factory. I love everything related to tea production and making.
Who buys your teas? Local or international clients?
In China for the most part. But we also have a few international clients.
Have you seen any changes since you started in the industry?
Tea appears to have seen a rise in popularity in recent years in China. Many consumers are discovering its unique benefits. With both our jasmine tea and white tea, business is going well. The market is also increasingly demanding different products, not necessarily the traditional Bai Mu Dan and Bai Hao Yin Zhen, so today we produce and sell black teas, pressed white teas, aged white teas and many other styles.
What is your favorite tea?
My favourite is always a classic, traditional white tea.
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