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TED/YiKe Public Talks

Eastern Leaves has been invited by the renowned YiKe Talks, the Chinese version of the TED Talk, to deliver a speech during a special session dedicated to the sustainable and organic agricultural projects for the sake of Chinese future. They asked us to talk about the story of our forest, and Vivian made us all so proud talking about our very beginning and how we and our tea trees have grown during the years under the forest safe shelter.We started from the reasons that brought us to Yunnan from our native places, exploring our passions for both tea, tastes and forestal land. The turning point in the presentation is a huge photo of a LongJing tea garden, with dozens of hectares...

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This year tea harvest: a bulletin

The suspicion of a drought hitting the tea areas has now been confirmed. The hints received last winter, such as few seeds on the trees, have been confirmed by our current delayed and slightly low-yielded tea harvest. The question is what this implies for tea producers broadly and how Eastern Leaves is going to cope with it. The two seasons In the rural mountain, activities are ruled by two long seasons, which slowly blend from one to the next. Against the light pastel coloured sky of the wet season, the rain showers and tempests gradually come to a stop, announcing the arrival of the dry season and the peak of the tea harvest. The cradle of tea trees is in...

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Ephemeral Stones: our Beijing Design Week Project

We thought an ancient forest to be immortal, then we saw the fires. Our irrational minds relied on stones, then: they must endure. In the village at the edge of the Eastern Leaves forest, there are some stones that were made to last forever, but they have been demolished and neglected. They lay abandoned close to a newly built brick house. We collected them and worked on them, understanding their quality of impermanence, dispelling our ephemera-phobia. The material used in this project is the typical roof-tile, the only durable construction piece used in the old and now demolished south-west Yunnan houses where we work and often live. We have taken these “ephemeral stones” and made them last, at least in our...

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The Tea Harvest

  Early morning, an ancient forest, tea trees bud and leaves grow. The tea harvest—When does it happen and how do we do it at Eastern Leaves? The basic material — Where does the tea come from? The dry leaves that we brew in our beloved cups were once fresh, colored a light green-yellow, and plucked off the tips of the tea tree branches.The tea trees are almost constantly in a state of germination, the amount of which varies according to the climate and weather. During this process they produce fresh, tender buds. The buds are picked along with either two, three, or four leaves—depending on the tree type and season.A rule of thumb is the older the tree the...

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Qiyi’s hands

He didn’t ask us to meet him at his home on the hill, but it was clear that such a journey was necessary when working with Qiyi. The wonders that he creates are to be touched with both hands and lips in order to be appreciated. Similarly, one must be in Qiyi’s proximity in order to understand his introverted personality. Our choice was made. We packed our bags and made the journey. We were first introduced to Qiyi a couple of years ago when he and his wife published a photobook. It featured their year-long journey around China sleeping, eating, and doing laundry in their car. They had one aim: to visit all the artisans possible—looking at and learning from...

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