In 2005, Rishi Tea and our partners in China founded the Xuan En Fair Trade Organic Cooperative as a Fair Trade certification initiative. The Cooperative was formally registered as a nonprofit association with the Xuan County government in August of 2006, and FLO issued its first Fair Trade certificate in January of 2007. The Xuan En Fair Trade Organic Cooperative represents about 2,300 families or about 8,000 people. The villages within the fair trade and organic cultivation area are the villages of Chang Mao Lin, Yue He Ping, Mei Zhi Wan, Ma’An, Jin Long Ping, Wujiatai, Luozhentian, Wangtai and Bai Hu Shan. The fair trade premium funds generated from the sales of these teas have benefited the Xuan En Fair Trade Organic Cooperative in multiple ways. Below are a few examples from 2008.
The Fair Trade Cooperative developed a general hospital, pharmacy and ambulance service to operate in the remote areas of the tea mountain where the poorest tea farmers live. Doctors and nurses from hospitals in Hubei were recruited to remote Xuan En County with the support of Fair trade funds.
An educational fund was developed to pay the tuition of middle school and university age students from poor tea farming families that can’t afford to pay for school, room and board fees.
More than 6 miles of road were developed so the poorest farmers from a remote village without a road could get their fresh picked tealeaves to the factory.
The Cooperative regularly uses funds to help the medical costs of a poor family from Bai Hu Shan Village whose only son recently became a disabled burn victim during an accident when the boy was left at home.
Fair Trade funds continue to be used for widespread reconstruction and improvements of the village’s facilities for drinking water and tea field irrigation.
Specifics about tea gardens:
Interesting tea history:
Xuan En tea has long history and was first recorded in the “Jingzhou Land Note” of the West-Jing Dynasty (265 AD-316 AD). The note stated, “…superior teas are produced from the Wuling Mountain’s
seven counties”. At that time, Xuan En County belonged to Wuling eparchy where at that time most of the people were engaged in cultivation of high quality tribute tea. In the period of Emperor
Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (1735 AD-1796 AD), the tea farmer Wu Changchen who lived in Xuan En’s Wujiatai area produced superior green tea, which had excellent performance in color, aroma, flavor,
and leaf shape. This tea was presented to the emperor as a tribute and was awarded a golden plaque inscribed with “Huang En Chong Xi” (the great favor of the emperor). From then on, Xuan En’s tea
was given as a tribute to the palace for hundreds of years, hence comes the name “Wujiatai Fuxi Cha"(means Tribute Tea from Wujiatai).
Now Rishi Tea is cooperating with our partners of the Wujiatai Fuxi Tribute Tea Co., Ltd. to develop superior Organic and Fair Trade Certified teas in Xuan En County. The teas of Xuan En County that we offer are all fair trade and organic certified. Most are ready in stock and others are available by special order during the season.
11530 acres of tea gardens
Sapling garden, asexually propagated fine varietal tea gardens, and old abandoned tea gardens that are in conversion to organic for 2010 and 2011.
Tea varietals are mainly: Hubei Tea Type 1, Hubei Tea Type 10, Local Xuan County Small Leaf Varietals, O Cha Yi Hao varietals, Longjing varietals and some Fuding Dabai and Fuding Dahao white tea varietals.
Purple sandy soil and red brown soil.
Loose and fertile
Soil is abundant with selenium
Average elevation of tea gardens: 2950 feet
Highest elevation: 6600 feet
Climate: sub-tropical, continental monsoon type, four dramatic seasons, ample humidity, mild weather
Average temperature: 56.66°F
Relative humidity: 82%
Average rainfall: 55 inches
Frost free from 290 days