Tea Artist Keeps Ancient Chinese Tradition Alive With Epic Annual Voyage.

To Shunan Teng, tea is much more than a popular drink. It’s an art form — and a piece of Chinese history worth preserving.

That’s why Shunan has dedicated her life to serving up the most authentic Chinese teas money can buy. And she’s willing to travel thousands of miles every year to keep the ancient tradition alive.

Shunan is the owner of Tea Drunk, a tea house in New York City that specializes in historic Chinese tea. There’s a big difference between what they serve and the mass-produced teas found in every store, she says.

“It’s almost like a masterpiece of music played versus a practice, or an original piece of artwork versus the copies,” Shunan explained.

tea drunk
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As such, the tea leaves they use can only be found in one place. Every spring, Shunan travels to China, where tea was first cultivated thousands of years ago. She and local farmers search mountains and jungles for tea trees that have stood for hundreds of years. Shunan scores the ground…

…and even climbs trees to find the tastiest leaves!

shunan in tea tree
Instagram

After the tea leaves are harvested and dried, workers sort through them to pick out discolored leaves and stems. This step is especially important to Shunan, as she insists on only serving the best quality tea.

The rigorous sorting process can take months — but the delicious results are worth it! Nothing makes Shunan and her coworkers happier than producing a one-of-a-kind tea that can’t be found anywhere else.

“I think it provides us a level of joy that’s beyond anything else, and my job here is to preserve this art and hopefully even push it to a new height,” Shunan said.

What a beautiful tribute to Chinese culture! We only wish we could sample the fruits of Shunan’s hard work.

Learn more about ancient Chinese tea in the video below, and share to spread the word about this fascinating practice!

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