This year, due to long, persistent, and persuasive requests from our friends, customers, and tea producers, Zhuping and I have decided to take some tea crazies to China with us. Zhuping will lead the green tea tour and the oolong tea tour in the early and late spring, and I will lead a tour to Yunnan in the summer. We have been doing preparation to do this for the last four years. We have always wanted people, especially tea crazy people, to see China in the same way that we do. In the past the logistics and accommodations just didn’t work for a group of tourists going to the Chinese countryside, and that has pretty much changed, though there are still some rough places. The other issue is the local governments. The reason other tea tours don’t venture out into the tea countryside and end up seeing the Great Wall instead, is that the local governments are very nervous about groups of tourists coming. There is always the element of face at the center of this local tourist anxiety. It is really not rational for the most part, but there is also the fear that someone could get sick or hurt. Seven Cups has good relationships with all of these local governments and we have a good reputation through out China as being sincere promoters of Chinese tea and tea culture. We are well known because we spend a lot of time in the countryside doing research and buying tea, not to mention doing a whole lot of eating and making friends.
Our tours are going to be focused on tea and tea culture, so no Great Wall, and not too many formal banquets either, but lots of country cooking. There will be a lot of tea drinking, tea gardens, and tea making. The Chinese countryside is blessed with friendly people and beautiful scenery. The Chinese say when a beautiful river finds a beautiful mountain, you can grow tea.