The Founders’ Favorites of 2021

Newsletter Archive Jan. 21, 2022

Two people kneeling to plant a small tea bush as a third looks on.
Zhuping and Austin planting tea in Da Pu County in 2002.

Zhuping grew up at the end of the cultural revolution, a time without love songs.

Much later in life, she met Austin, an American, and before either knew it, they were out on a date, strolling together along the banks of the Pearl River. Moved by the romance of this moment, Zhuping readily serenaded Austin with the patriotic slogans of her youth. “Death to the American paper tiger!” she sang. Austin was smitten.

Two decades on, Austin and Zhuping bridge their nations together in family and in business. The catalyst for all this was, in fact, tea. Not far from those river banks was the first teahouse that Zhuping managed and just up the street from it was Guangzhou’s Victoria Hotel, where Austin stayed as he arranged Seven Cups’ first exports of tea. The two found this place and found each other in the course of a shared destiny, a passion for tea, a passion that’s hardly waned.

For the final weekend in our staff favorites series, we hope you’ll take the advice of our resident power couple and enjoy Zhuping and Austin’s favorite teas of 2021. That includes Tie Luo Han, Mengding Maofeng and the newly debuted Huang Guanyin.

Austin and Zhuping at the Seven Cups teahouse in 2019
Austin and Zhuping at the Seven Cups teahouse in 2019

Zhuping’s choice is Tie Luo Han 2021, wulong with one of the darkest roasts we’ve ever had in our catalog. It’s a throwback to an approach to yancha that was more common decades ago. Old school cultivar, old school roast — it’s a yancha lover’s yancha.

Four women in a teahouse smiling at the viewer.
Zhuping (lower right) with her coworkers in Guangzhou, 2002

Austin’s has two favorites. That’s a little against the rules, but he’s the boss so we’ll let it slide.

Austin’s first favorite is a tea that’s earned a nickname among our warehouse team: “the little champion.” It’s Mengding Maofeng, the drink-every-day green tea that can go toe to toe with more expensive early spring greens and deliver plenty. Austin’s second favorite is a tea that’s available for the first time this weekend: Huang Guanyin, a rock wulong from a new hybrid cultivar. While Zhuping’s Tie Luo Han shows rock wulong in classic old school form, Huang Guanyin showcases the beautiful innovation present in this style. Don’t let the lighter roast fool you, this tea is a cascade of sweet aromatic wood. If you’ve subscribed to our Tasting Flight, you’ll find 25 grams of Huang Guanyin in this month’s delivery.

A bank of tea bushes with a chicken pecking under them. Tea covered low hills in the background.
Huang Guanyin bushes in their garden. The chicken is on pest control duty.

We’ll see you next week for Lunar New Year!