M/y great adventure with Chinese tea began when I met the girl who became my wife. She had grown up in a family of tea farmers, and before we were married, I often visited her family home, where her father would invite me to try different kinds of tea. He would make the tea using the traditional ¡®kung-fu tea ceremony, which demands that you sit quietly and wait patiently while the tea is made, then drink it from tiny cups, savouring the differences between each rinsing of the tea leaves. As he made and served the tea, he would tell me about the history of tea in China, and regale me with the interesting legends of tea culture.
While my future wife was not particularly interested in tea, I became more and more absorbed. Of course, I wanted to make a good impression on her father, so I began to read widely about tea. Her father gradually taught me to distinguish the qualities of tea, how to make tea properly, and while doing so, also taught me a great deal about my country¡'s traditional philosophies and culture.
The more I learnt about tea, the more I realised how little I knew, so I began to study tea very seriously. I travelled to the famous mountains and rivers in order to understand the conditions where the finest teas were grown. I spent time living with tea farmers, working with them at harvest time. So my knowledge grew not just from reading books, but from actually working with different tea farmers and absorbing their wealth of knowledge. I also learnt the traditional methods of creating the different teas by hand, and formed friendships and business relationships with them, and purchasing their hand made teas direct from them.
When I first arrived in Sydney in 1996, the largest supermarkets had a very limited range of teas on their shelves, and most of the products available were in the form of tea bags. Today the range of teas is at least three times greater. There are also more specialist tea shops in the market.
However, I was disappointed that while these shops were selling Chinese teas, they knew very little about them, and couldn¡'t explain fully to their customers about the teas. That¡'s when I decided to use my experience and knowledge to share Chinese tea with the Australian people. I am pleased that more and more tea lovers are realising what good tea is, and can appreciate the difference.
To guarantee the quality of my own brand of tea, ¡®MY Teahouse, I go back to China at harvest time to meet with my tea farmer friends, to discuss how the climate affects the tea trees, and any changes to the technology of growing and processing the teas. This way, I can assure my customers that all ¡®MY Teahouse teas are hand made, and created without any chemical additives.