Zhao Xiao Tian – Guzhang county, Hunan
How long have you been growing tea and what got you started?
I have worked in tea area for more than 40 year. I was born in a tea family. Everyone is working for tea in our village. So I work for tea when I grow up.
Can you describe a typical day out in the field?
My main job is picking tea leaves. I get up at 6 every morning. I will go out after a simple breakfast. I will spend the whole morning for picking. I loved the green fresh tea leaves. I can still climb the mountain with one breath just like when I was young. I normally go back home for lunch at about 12am. After lunch I will send my tea leaves to the village factory for making. My son is working there. Then I will go back home early in the afternoon and prepare for dinner.
What is your favorite part of growing tea?
I love the moment when I get money for the tea leaves I picked. When I carry a basket full with tea leaves on my back to the village factory in the afternoon, they will weigh my leaves and pay me. This is the happy moment. After getting the money, I will think what our family should eat in the evening.
Conversely, what is the hardest part of your job?
I hate bad weather which will hurt our tea leaves. I always get nothing if I go out picking during bad weather. Then I will get nothing for dinner. If it keeps raining, we will lose the best picking time and can not make good teas.
What do you think makes your tea unique or better than others?
Green pekoe can only be picked and made in Spring. The condition in our area is suitable for planting this green tea. Besides, our village factory must make the tea leaves in the same day of picking. We never use yesterday’s leaves to make this tea. As a result, our green pekoe has a pleasant smell with beautiful green soup.
Are there any tips you can give on how to best brew your tea?
First, water temperture is around 90 degrees centigrade. If too boiled the tea will be destroyed. Second, use good water to brew the teas, such as mineral water or spring water.