Our story so far
Eastern Leaves was born in 2014 as a personal project of Vivian Zhang and Lorenzo, when we bought our first plot of tea forest on Mount Nannuo, in Yunnan.
That first year marks the beginning of our passionate journey into flavors: eight years later our forest is thriving, and we opened a sister company in Milan, Europe, while our personal base is still in Yunnan, where our daughter grows up between children of different cultures, happy to share her lively time as much as we do.
2014, land first
Our story begins on the top of a mountain with which we fell in love at first sight, a mount called Nannuo. This first plot of land was far from the inhabited center, and was going to be exploited for intensive agriculture. We decided to save it and thanks to the support of the local community, we purchased it (in China we should say: "rented for 50 years") to let tea trees free to grow in its wild undergrowth.
In the photo: the 18 local land owners that share the land of our first forest plot. They have inherited the rights to the land without touching it. This local community supported our project by giving us this extraordinary responsibility.
eastern leaves is born
We spent many months in the mountains, in what was supposed to be a temporary sabbatical time from our daily life. We ended up falling in love with everything, and we decided to base our life here.
Our project finds a name, Eastern Leaves 东方大叶. The logo is made with big tea leaves, Daye, picked from our trees, then dried in the mountains and inked with traditional calligraphy pigment.
2015-2018: leaves, and nothing else
During the first three years we focused on ourselves, which means only on our teas: we have worked for quality, facilities, and a stable organization. Our team is made up of professionals from different ethnic minorities, Hani, Han and Dai, in a typically Yunnanese cultural mix, from centuries to today.
We spent this time to fully understand our terroir and to engage with Chinese buyers and collectors.
2019: our leaves go west
Encouraged by the many tea enthusiasts who over the years have visited us in Yunnan, and then hosted us together with our leaves in European capitals, we have decided to follow our teas from the mother land to the teapots and gaiwans of all the tea lovers that supported us by opening a studio and tearoom in Milan, Italy, where we brew and distribute our teas in Europe.
Eastern Tea Academy
At the end of 2019, after a decade spent as a tea scholar and producer, our founder Vivian Zhang decided to start an educational program in partnership with the Chinese National Tea Academy.
With our Eastern Tea Academy we offer courses and masterclasses about Chinese tea, with long and short term learning programs, online or offline in our tea room and tea forest.
2022 and beyond: collaborations and distribution
A forest has no owners, by definition it cannot have any; we have always considered ourselves its guardians and as such we welcome empowering collaborations that can improve the forest health and help spread tea culture around the world.
If you are interested in participating in our project as a collaborator, distributor or franchise contact us, we will be happy to share a walk in the forest with you.
"The memory of the forest tells of the vanity of possessing it"