The tea forest
A century-old complexity
Our forests are located on mountain Nannuo and Lunan/Pasha, in southwest Yunnan, China, nearby the boundary with Myanmar and Laos. We interfere as little as possible with the growth of our trees. This is the reason we call ourselves wild forest keepers rather than farmers.
The landscape varies from the great Mekong river to the height of the mountains that surround it. This rare mix of micro-climates allows a surprising number of floral species to grow in thousands of acres of rainforest that still survive, untouched and unspoiled, in spite of the huge threats from aggressive cultures such as rubber trees and banana trees, and industrialisation.
of the forest is occupied by our tea trees: the rest is pure, untouched mountain forest.
The environment surrounding our trees is extremely complex and rich, nourishing the tea trees and allowing them to develop the best tasting teas.
generations of masters
Our production is entirely supervised by Yan Kunli, that was born and raised on Nannuo mountain, and in 2007 won the Pu'er Shengpu producer competition for the highest Shaqing skills, among all the Hani minority in Yunnan.
He is the master in his craft, and we are proud to have him with us.
We purchase our first parcel of forest in Nannuo and the ancient trees in Lunan/Pasha.
The founders are a couple both in work and life: Vivian Zhang, Chinese, and Lorenzo, European.
We decide to make of our natural retreat a life choice, and we call it Eastern Leaves.
In China, our home country and main market, we are 东方大叶.
We farm, harvest and process our teas, and we decide to take care of their distribution as well: our first European shop in Milan, Italy, opens
After a decade spent as tea scholar and farmer, our founder Vivian Zhang decides to start the Eastern Tea Academy, in cooperation with the Chinese government Tea Academy.
Ancient tea trees
About 300 of our tea trees are especially old, and they are called “Ancient Trees”, gǔshù 古树 in Chinese.
They are 200-500 years old and their buds grow slowly, with a superior minerals and nourishment.
In spite of their cultural and environmental importance, and the excellent tea they produce, they are still in danger. They are a protected species.
大叶 Daye, Big-Leaf tea trees
All of our tea trees are the “Big Leaf” variety, Daye 大叶 in Chinese.
"I grew up in a forest. It's like a room. It's protected. Like a cathedral... it is a place between heaven and earth."