Our founder Keqi Meng was born and raised in Hangzhou, China and started drinking tea even before he could remember things. Growing up as a straight-up tea nerd, he traveled throughout China, Taiwan and Japan (which produce more than 90% of the world's specialty tea) to try as many teas as he could, and became friends with many tea farmers he met.
After moving to Chicago, he was surprised to find the lack of specialty tea in Chicago's food and beverage scene. He was determined to share the craft tea he grew up around in Asia with Chicago, and eventually, the rest of the United States.
Unlike most tea companies who buy tea from large scale industrialized tea farms which employ exploited workers, Keqi buys tea directly from his friends, who are usually second or third generation farmers and process all the tea they harvest on their own. Keqi buys from his friends at fair prices, and helps his friends to support their own families. Keqi calls his sourcing Friendship Trade, more than a fair trade.
Keqi's close friend Ge Xiaopeng. He produces Dragonwell for us.
Three generations in one picture. Keqi's friend Zhao Cong produces Lapsang Souchong for us.
Keqi's buddy, Chen Zhen, produces White Peony and Silver Needle for us.
Keqi's big brother - Chen Jianjun, produces Anji Baicha for us.
Brother Liu and sister Hua, they produce Monkey King for us.