Zhou Yousheng and Huang Shiying

Rock Wulong tea maker Zhou Yousheng standing in front of a row of tea bushes in the garden and holding a sprig of fresh tea.
Rock Wulong tea maker Zhou Yousheng holding a fresh sprig of tea showing the wulong tea picking standard.

This husband and wife team have been running their own tea company since 2013. Their tea factory lies next to the Jiu Qu (Nine Bends) River well upstream of the developed part of Wuyishan City. Zhou Yousheng focuses on managing the factory and overseeing the oxidation and roasting of the actual tea, while Huang Shiying is both manager of the tea garden and the company, arranging for proper continuous care of the tea plants and organizing sales and transport of the product. Their teamwork has become a strong model for countryside tea producers in recent years.

Huang Shiying leaning on a table while having tea in front of a window. There are rows of tea bushes on the hill visible outside.
Huang Shiying making some of the rock wulong tea produced in her gardens.

Zhou Yousheng has been learning the trade of growing, harvesting, making, and roasting tea since he was 15 years old. Born the youngest of seven to a tea farming family in the poor countryside of Wuyishan City in 1971, he has been in contact with tea every day since he was a child. Though his older siblings had to leave school at an early age to help the family with farm labor, as a younger child of the family Mr. Zhou was able to continue his schooling until 15 years of age. His more extensive schooling meant he has had access to more educational information about tea that helps him improve the quality of his tea garden and methods of processing tea.

He learned the traditional style of making rock wulong tea from his family, which has a long history as tea makers going back for generations. He is well experienced in the traditional method of drying wulong by charcoal roasting over two to three months, a rare and very difficult key technique that he is teaching to his nephew as well.

Rock wulong tea maker Zhou Yousheng lifting a large basket of roasting tea off a recessed charcoal stove to mix the leaves.
Zhou Yousheng removing the roasting tea from over the recessed charcoal stove to mix it partway through the traditional roasting process.

Mr. Zhou now has more than 20 years of experience making tea. As his location is not far from the historic Tongmu Village where black tea was invented, he has had the opportunity to become familiar with black tea production methods as well. However, wulong tea remains his specialty area of expertise. Drinking Wuyi yancha every day, he has long familiarity with the unique taste and aroma of each variety of tea bush as well as its care and maintenance needs in the garden for the best harvest.

Zhou Yousheng’s wife Huang Shiying was also born in the Wuyishan City countryside to an old tea-making family. Her mother’s backyard is home to the oldest known Shuixian (Narcissus) bush in the region. Named for the Qing Dynasty emperor, the Qian Long or “king of Shuixian” bush is famed throughout this entire tea production area. Before the wulong tea harvest begins every spring, leaders of the village and the local tea industry set up an altar in its honor in a ceremony unique to the tea farmers of Wuyishan.

In a mountain valley planted with rows of tea, a woman crouches in the foreground holding up a sprig of fresh spring wulong tea.
Zhuping visiting one of Zhou Yousheng and Huang Shiying’s tea gardens planted with Rougui.