Our Story

We are driven by passion. 

We invite you to walk in our shoes, explore the unknown; appreciate the moment, and share an insider perspective on the art of tea.

The journey of our family connection with tea started from a rural village in China in the 1980s. Over the years, we have formed partnerships with the local tea masters, those who share our passion for tea and whom we believe are the top producers in their respective fields. Today from our base in London we bring you a select range of teas from our partner’s farms.

 

We spend time with each of our producers, drinking tea together with the people who make our teas. We talk about not just the next seasonal crop, we talk about what new cultivars are coming and new possibilities. We talk about what is missing element in this year’s crop, how we can improve on it next time. Our collaborative style of partnership has yielded some fruitful and innovative approaches to tea, including new patents in Japan and China. By being among the masters in the field, we stand at the forefront of tea innovation. Not only shaping the next crop of tea, but working to shape the future of tea.

 

Mungyuen Li, Founder of Jade Tea
China National Tea Taster | Japanese Tea Instructor 
中国国家职业品茶师 | 日本茶インストラクター 

 

Mungyuen is the second generation of his family drawn to the mysterious power of tea. Growing up in China, Japan and the UK, he had exposure to a variety of teas made in the region from a young age. After a stint at a global management consultancy, he decided to pursue his passion for craft tea and highlight untold stories of tea from around the World. He holds China National Tea Taster and Japanese Tea Instructor certifications. 

 

 

What makes Jade Tea special?

A good handcrafted tea depends on three essential elements. The terroir, the cultivar and the craft. We know that all three are important.

Terroir is the sum of the natural environment in which a tea plant is grown. Terroir includes factors such as climate, topography, soil type and the ecosystem of surrounding plants and animals. A cultivar that thrives in one region will often struggle in a region that differs in terroir. This accounts for the on going regional diversity in tea production and why black teas from India will never taste the same as black teas from China. And why some regions specialise in oolongs and others specialise in white teas, but as you’ll see, terroir is just one factor.

 

 

Tea plants are categorised into different cultivars or varietals depending on their genetic makeup. Specific cultivars may have larger or smaller leaves; grow bushier or taller than others; or suit a different terroir and soil type. Grown side by side two cultivars can exhibit very different physical traits and flavour characteristics. Cultivars play a crucial role in determining the innate flavours and aromas in any tea, and new cultivars are constantly being developed by local craftsmen and research groups who are looking for something unique. We select teas made from both traditional cultivars which are known for their superior properties, and new cultivars selected for their unique flavours.

Terroir and cultivar are responsible for the characteristics which are innate in the tealeaves, but the final element of craft is just as important. During the crafting process the innate flavours of the carefully plucked leaves are unlocked. When done well the tea master is able to draw out each of the desired flavours from the leaf, and add a little extra to compliment the natural aroma of the tea without disguising or extinguishing it. It is possible to craft both highly impressive and less impressive teas from the same batch of leaves. Sometimes it’s just a few seconds that make the difference. 

While it is relatively common for tea enthusiasts, travellers and merchants to source teas from a region which is famous for a specific type of tea, it is easy to overlook the importance of the cultivar and the craft. At Jade Tea we believe that it is essential to consider all three factors together to find a tea that is truly exceptional and worthy of being called a Jade Tea.

 

Our Name, Jade Tea:

The raw jade gem-stone is found in nature and shaped by skillful artisans. Each piece of Jade is perfectly unique, just like each leaf of handcrafted tea. The name Jade Tea is a tribute to nature and to the skilled workers and artisans who shape the teas which we treasure and share.

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