About the Founder

I began studying Mandarin Chinese when I was 15, moving to Beijing at 16 to attend Public High School there on a government-funded exchange program. That was over 10 years ago, and since then I’ve spent most of my time living immersed in Chinese language and culture.

Somewhere along the way, I crossed paths with my current mentor, Professor Zhang, who opened my eyes to the fascinating academic field of Tea Science research, and I moved to Guangzhou to begin a tea-focused training regiment as his graduate student.

Under the guidance of Professor Zhang, I transitioned from Chinese Studies into the Agricultural Sciences, a process that came with plenty of growing pains. My new Tea Science program included coursework such as Advanced Biochemistry of Tea, Tea Plant Breeding and Genetics, and Tea Crop Cultivation, all graduate-level science courses instructed entirely in Chinese.

It took a few years of playing catch-up, but as of 2020, I have completed my Master’s thesis, written and defended in Chinese, and now continue my Tea Science studies with doctoral research on the symbioses between tea plant roots and the soil microbiome.

So, what’s the deal with all of this? What value do I see in studying tea?

Well, one thing I love about studying tea is often getting to visit farms and spend time with Chinese farmers and tea masters. I come from a farming community in upstate NY, and grew up with a great deal of respect and admiration for agriculture, so it is an honor to reunite with growers and spend time in the field with them.

I also love China, and I see value in helping more people better understand the lesser known beauty of this culture. As the role of China on the global stage continues to rise throughout the 21st century it will be increasingly important to have mutual understanding and respect between Eastern and Western peoples, and one goal of Wu Mountain Tea is to promote that.

Lastly, I love… tea. I love that it’s great for health, tastes incredible when made well, brings people together, and has rich history and culture behind it. Various individuals over the last 1500 years have dedicated their lives to the tea leaf in one way or another, whether as a grower, tea master, trader, or cultural proponent. My dream is to follow suit with this tradition, and dedicate myself to the utilization of this plant as an agent of health and happiness.

As for Wu Mountain Tea; this is the space where I can share my experience – both in terms of newly acquired knowledge and appreciation for tea, but also the unforgettable tea products I have happened upon along the way.

That’s a brief intro about me, and the idea behind WMT. Beyond that, I occasionally enjoy activities unrelated to tea. My biggest non-tea passion is back country skiing. During Winter months you can find me bombing through the powder snow fields of Northern Japan.

Reach out! DM me on instagram @WuMountainTea

That’s actually coffee… it’s ok to like both

1 reply to About the Founder
  1. What an amazing story and thank you so much for sharing it and for sharing what you’ve learned about tea!
    FYI: Almost six years ago my wife and I started growing some tea plants from seeds that we brought back from Taiwan for our personal consumption (or landscape decoration, in the worst case). About a quarter of the seedlings survived after the first two years, but most of those survivors (those that are genetically suited to the Santa Cruz climate and our local soil?) seem to be doing pretty well. We’re now at the stage where we we’d like to clone the best plants to fill in the vacancies in our small (2000 sq. ft.) tea plot. We’re hoping to use some insight gained from your video to process individual plants to decide which ones to clone. I’m not sure if that makes sense, or whether it’s better to just clone the hardiest plants. Anyway, we have no illusions of creating a great tea, but it would be nice to have something that at least wont induce gagging when drank. Thanks again!

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