Wu Jianming

A man leaning over a table to sprinkle handfuls of fresh tea buds over the ventilated table's surface.
Tongmu tea maker Wu Jianming spreading fresh tea leaves for withering.

While he is now a cutting-edge producer of fine black teas, Wu Jianming started his career in the tea industry as a humble clerk at Zheng Shan Tang. He went on to study Lapsang Souchong tea-making under Liang Junde (of Jin Jun Mei fame), and mentored under the theory and guidance of tea maker Jiang Yuanxun. He was promoted to office director and manager of the company’s export division in 2004.

In 2006 Mr. Wu resigned from Zheng Shan Tang to work as resident Chinese purchasing manager for the US Company, Seven Cups (us!). He traveled to Yunnan, Fujian, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Anhui, and other traditional tea producing regions, gaining exposure to broader methods of tea production. During this time he also apprenticed to Master of Intangible National Heritage, Liu Guoying, studying the evaluation of Wuyi rock wulong tea.

In 2008 he left Seven Cups to return to his hometown of Tongmu Village and found his own tea company. Awarded provincial level mastery of black tea making, he received significant support and guidance from the inventor of Jin Jun Mei, Liang Junde. The company’s processing techniques and professional operations were perfected and matured during this period. With the evolution of the tea market and constant pursuit of quality tea, Wu Jianming soon felt the traditional methods and schools of thought in black tea production were somewhat of a constraint on avenues to improve tea making skill. Therefore, he went back to the basics, studying again with Liu Guoying, now fully immersing himself in the study of Wuyi rock wulong production.

A man pulling a large round bamboo tray out from a rack of many others to check the tea leaves spread on it.
Wu Jianming checking the tea leaves as they wither.

After years of study and continuous trials, he emerged with a totally new understanding of Wuyi black tea; his products became more distinct, breaking loose from the homogeneity of products at the time, and establishing him as a prominent representative of tea makers who have moved from strictly traditional to innovative processing. In 2019 he was selected as one of the producers of the standard sample of Jin Jun Mei black tea.

In addition to operating his tea business, Wu Jianming currently serves as Vice President of the Tongmu Zhengshan Xiaozhong Tea Association (桐木正山小种红茶协会), Chairman & Party Branch Secretary of the Agricultural Professional Cooperative of Tongmu Village, Wuyishan City. (武夷山市桐木村农业专业合作社) In service of these official roles, Mr. Wu contributed to development of the 2012 industrial standard DB 35/T 1228 Geographical Indications for Wuyi Black Tea.

Two men in white coats standing before a stainless steel tea table, each pouring one tea out of its judging cup into a small bowl for tasting.
Wu Jianming (left) and Liang Junde (right) judging teas together at a competition.