Try it: 2012 Nannuo Handmade Shou, in our Direct Trade Teas
Grower: The Li Family
Tea Maker: Li Shu Lin (Mr. Li)
Location: Duoyi Village on Nannuo Mountain - Menghai District of Xishuangbanna - Yunnan Province, China
Elevation: 1,800m (5,900ft)
Cultivation: Natural (Organic with no certification), Ecological
Signature Teas: Nannuo Handmade Shou Puerh
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The Li Family has lived on Nannuo Mountain for generations, and have begun a tradition of tea in the family. They grow tea in Duoyi Village, where their neighbors are also tea farmers. Beyond organic, the trees have never had the aid of any manures, pesticides, or soil additives of any kind. They've learned to grow and thrive on their own, maintaining a perfect harmony with their growing environment.
The family owns 4 fields of tea trees, located at 1,800m (5,900ft) on the south side of the mountain.
The current teamaster, Li Shu Lin, grew up learning about tea from his father who was a famous Yunnan teamaster. The growing, harvesting, and processing of tea is like second nature to him, as he spent many years in the fields and in the famous Menghai Dayi puerh tea factory. He practiced his craft at the factory for 20 years.
In 2000, Mr. Li decided to stop selling leaf to the factory, and instead craft his own teas by hand at home, becoming one of the few growers in the area to produce small-batch teas. He uses his keen knowledge of his family's own tea trees to harvest the best leaf possible, and crafts all of his teas by hand in small, 10kg batches (in contrast to the hundreds or thousands of kilos at the factories) with the skills he learned from his father, and that he himself developed over many years of practice and research.
He has now taken on just one student to pass on his craft, and continues to develop his own skills in processing to advance the art of puerh tea.
Mr. Li is ethnically Akha, a minority people from Yunnan and Tibet. The Akha have typically inhabited forested mountains, and have a strong connection to nature and agriculture. Both Mr. Li and his wife, Cai Jun Qiong, are the children of famous Yunnan teamasters.