We traveled to China for a week in May and visited the tea farms where our delicious teas come from. I thought I'd share our trip and tell a little about who we are at Forsman. At the same time, we want to pass on our travel experiences to you and spread the good news about the wonderful world of tea, which always manages to surprise. So jump on board for a journey of flavors!
My father, Ari Santamäki, CEO of Forsma tea, has worked in the tea industry for almost 40 years and I can say that he is a real tea guru. He knows the stories behind different types of tea and is a creative master of taste, whose handwriting is our Forsman's taste world. "Natural flavors taste the best," says Ari, sipping Mao Huna green tea after a tour of the tea garden. At Forsman, we want to invest in the natural cultivation and flavors of tea products.
After picking, the tea is heated, which helps the green tea stay green. Tea is a way of life for our family and the whole family is fully involved in this work. The picture shows Antti 12 years old, Lauri 17 years old on the left, and I myself am on the right, i.e. Aarne 19 years old. Ever since we were little, we've always had summer jobs at the company and now we finally got to get to know China on the spot.
"The world of tea is fascinating and we were able to follow in my father's footsteps to learn how big a deal tea really is in the world," says Lauri. In the picture, we are at a tea farm in Hunan, where freshly picked tea leaves are ready for heating. The freshly picked tea feels funny leathery and the scent is slightly springy. "It smells a little like freshly cut grass, but it smells like tea," said Antti with the tea leaves in his hands.
In the photo, the mother of our tea family, Sanna, shows Anti how to pick tea. From the tea bush, the first grown tip buds with the most tea flavor are selected. Tea can also be harvested mechanically with a type of thresher.
In China, tea is usually grown on hillsides or in remote areas. The growth height of the tea and the surrounding weather conditions significantly affect the taste of the tea. Picture from the farm we visited.
The first tea leaves that have just been picked, which are the best first flush (first harvest tea), are tender green and have a fresh spring taste.
In the best tea qualities, the Chinese leave the tea leaves in the cup and do not use a tea strainer, because the whole tea leaves easily stay out of the mouth and do not become bitter. Because of this, you can put the best quality tea leaves in the cup without any worries, without a strainer. The brewing style is called Grandpa Style.
Hong Sing tea garden
The Chinese countryside really surprised me! Although China is often imagined as dirty due to smog, the countryside is something completely different. The countryside, where the tea plantations are located, is green and beautiful and the air is clean. For the Chinese, tea itself is a sacred thing and they want to preserve tea estates with a long history into the future and maintain the national tea culture. 80% of China's tea production remains in the internal market.
For us at Forsman, it is important that the tea is clean and of good quality, because it is of great importance to the taste and health effects of the tea. That's why we visit farms and make sure that our customers can enjoy Forsman's tea that tastes just as good in the future.