Eastern Leaves owns thirty hectares of wild tea plantation in Nannuo and Pasha Mountains, which flourishes naturally in the undergrowth of a centuries-old Yunnan high mountain forest.
Our tea is fully organic, and 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.
“One day we dared to dream. Our hearts fell in love with the ancient, the solid, the ephemeral. With history, with culture, with stewardship, with preservation. We fell in love with an ancient tea forest ensconced in the dreaming mountains of southwest Yunnan.
We purchased one of the worlds ancientest tea cradles. Nestled on a mountain shrouded in the mists of the altitudinal region, is our dream. We dream of ancient heritage preserved, a virgin forest unsullied, culture shared, and the “dew from heaven” in the form that pleased Lu Yu and our many ancients spread around the world.”
It is with this dream in mind that we started our company, Eastern Leaves.
~ Vivian and Lorenzo, Founders
Among other varieties, our land is inhabited by ancient tea trees, 古树 (gushu). They have been growing wildly since their birth, 300-500 years ago, and their leaves transform into some of the finest pu’er teas which span the centuries. From the eleven older trees we produce our premium tea, which includes selected leaves from one ancient tree only.
Up till the last decade, this ancient tea trees forest has been in great danger. Fortunately, awareness about its priceless value has recently been raised, encouraging FAO to support the local government in efforts of preservation. We, too, would like to function as “keepers” of this world heritage ensuring that those who come after us receive the legacy that our forest contains. We take seriously the need to protect these mountains from harmful chemicals, exploitation, and over cultivation. We recognize that no one can truly own a mountain, but we can only maintain its beauty and integrity, and welcome anyone who wants to join us on this journey.
We exchanged our lifesavings for 14 hectares of forest in the peak of Nannuo mountain along with the first batch of Ancient Tea Trees. We received magnificent, century old tea trees surrounded by flourishing vegetation that nourishes and protects them. We exchanged our lifesavings for a new life.
While the ancient tea trees were continuing their uninterrupted life cycle, we devoted our first months to the Nannuo forest. There, we ensured that the trees enjoyed the same tree spacing and sustainable life cycle necessary to preserve the trees for many more centuries.
We were passionate about our new lives; the land, the forest, our ancient tea trees were were the fixed constants in our busy lives of travel and business. Then, a second parcel of land went up for sale, one exactly like the fist lot we bought, but it was the last available peak of Nannuo Mountain. The potential buyer’s intentions were far from natural, so we bought a mountain, again.
Eastern Leaves reached a total of 30 hectares of land.
Soon our passion became our lives. Every day’s work added another brick to the foundation of our company’s identity, which we chose to sum up with the name: Eastern Leaves, 东方大叶.
We were launched at the Beijing Design Week 2015, celebrating the mix of wild and urban, of tradition and artistic innovation.
As tea producers in Yunnan, China, naturally, our first market is here in China. We are a local company, but taste and experience make us universal. Since the beginning, we have loved to share our project with international tea lovers, so we created an e-commerce to ship all over the world.
As artisans, we are always in search of other craftsmen here in China who produce high quality goods. This search took us to Jingdezhen, China’s ceramics capital. After scouring the city and spending quality time with gifted artisans we procured a collection of handmade ceramics to share with our community in our e-commerce shop.
We chose an old Beijing hutong courtyard to be our urban base, a bridge between the urban environment and our wild identity. It is an experiential space built around touches of our mountain, where to sip our teas on the terrace or in the lounge, while having a chat with your friends or our team.