Blog 11: Tea Plants Do Not Produce Tea?!

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

Yes, tea plants do not produce tea, just as grape vines do not produce wine. It is a winemaker who harvests grapes and make them into wine. The same concepts applies to tea as well. It is a tea maker who harvests tea leaves and make them into tea. Tea plants produce tea leaves, the raw materials for tea-making.


Tea-making is an agricultural activity that is largely based on experience and practice. A good tea maker only works with tea leaves harvested from the right location in the right season. An experienced and skilled tea master can release the full potential of good quality tea leaves, not the other way around. It is the tea maker who defines the final quality of tea.


This is why despite tea plants are now grown in many countries, China still produces the best quality teas.


For some famed tea masters like our Mr. Wang, they only use top quality tea leaves from the most prestige tea-leaf producing locations such as “Horse Head Rock” (Ma Tou Yan, Chinese: 马头岩) and “Cattle Pen Pit” (Niu Lan Keng, Chinese: 牛栏坑). Fresh leaves from renowned locations are already expensive before they become tea. A pound of freshly harvested tea leaves from these locations can be sold for more than hundreds of dollars. This is a cost added to the overall cost even before the tea-making process starts. The high cost prevents many young and inexperienced tea makers from producing teas made with top quality leaves. Only the best tea masters can afford and deserve to work with the best quality tea leaves.


On social media, many tea lovers ask me how to really identify whether a tea is truly from a famous location or not. The truth is that the chance of you ever see a tea from “Horse Head Rock” or “Cattle Pen Pit” on the open market is virtually none. But if you are lucky enough to come across a tea claiming it’s from there, all you need to do is just simply asking who made this tea. Remember, a tea can only be as good as the tea master who makes it.


A picture of Horse Head Rock (Ma Tou Yan, 马头岩) in late March.

I hope you enjoy this blog. If you have any questions or suggestions, please tweet us @valleybrooktea or email contact@valleybrooktea.com . Also, please follow us on Instagram @valleybrooktea and get our daily tea updates!