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Patrick grew up in rural central Michigan. Not much about his upbringing would have led him to a life of tea, but he found it none-the-less! After graduating from Central Michigan University with a degree in Political Science: International Relations and a minor in Journalism in December 2006, he found the economic situation in Michigan daunting, to say the least. The auto industry had been collapsing for years, and Michigan was a tough place for a young graduate. So he went to Florida to start his adventure. 2007 was a bad year to be in Florida, because that same year the housing bubble popped. After training to be a financial adviser and jumping around between jobs, he decided to make another change by using his dual citizenship and moving to Ireland. That turned out to be the worst move of all, economically speaking. From 2008 to 2009 he had more jobs than he’d ever had in his life before, and some for only weeks at a time. The bubble popped on Ireland’s decades-long economic growth, and it popped hard. After that he decided to get certified to teach English and go somewhere he’d always dreamed of visiting, somewhere that seemed recession-proof. He googled “most beautiful places in China” and found Yangshuo. After securing a job offer through email, he hopped on a plane to Beijing and hasn’t looked back since. He met Xianna, who was studying English in the same beautiful location as he was teaching, about six months into his trip. They were married in 2013, once in China and once in the USA. What was supposed to be a one-year escape from the western recession turned into a five-year life in exotic China. They returned to the USA together in the summer of 2014, after traveling China for four years and building friendships with tea experts all over the country.

Xianna grew up in the industrialized and heavily populated region of Chaoshan in Guangdong Province. She grew up serving tea in the methodical style known as the Chinese Tea Ceremony or the Gongfu Tea Ceremony. Tea is simply a way of life for her and her people, yet the outside world considers this part of their daily life to be a beautiful cultural art form. The Chaoshan region is famous for tea and for factories. She and her sisters finished school prematurely to help develop the new family business, at the height of China’s economic boom. After more than a decade working as a manager in the family factory, she’d decided that was not the life for her. What’s a hometown girl supposed to do if she craves adventure? Her first move was to find a beautiful location to improve her spoken English, and then maybe she’d move to the big city and look for work. Just months into her studies, she was introduced to an exotic foreign teacher from America. Several matchmaker-organized dinners later, and she found herself in a relationship with a foreigner, one of the handful she’d ever even seen in her whole life! Her family was surprisingly accepting of the relationship because they had always known she was a free spirit and lived life by her own rules. They soon moved to the big city of Shenzhen to find work, but they didn’t stop there. Not only did Xianna get to see so much of her own country alongside Patrick, but they traveled together throughout Southeast Asia and all the way to America!

Xianna learned about the wider world with Patrick, and Patrick learned about the world of tea with Xianna. Together they moved to the big city of Shenzhen (15 million+), where they lived for four years. They traveled throughout China and Southeast Asia every chance they got, and together they’ve trekked through the sunny valleys and up into the misty mountains of China in search of pure teas and tea knowledge.

The idea for a tea business came to them on a trip to the USA, when they realized how inaccessible pure Chinese teas really are outside of China. Before even setting any definitive business plans, they had traveled to Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, Florida, Colorado, California, and much more. Yet they couldn’t find a genuine Chinese tea shop, with pure and fresh Chinese teas, to save their lives! And being a Chaoshan local, finding pure tea nearly was a life-and-death situation for Xianna! That fact, combined with what they knew to be their amazing access to authentic Chinese teas, lead them down an almost inevitable path when they began considering a move to the USA. They had been researching the health benefits of tea extensively, and understood the world’s desire for healthy teas. Their love of pure teas, tea culture, and their desire to share their knowledge is what has motivated them from the beginning.


Xianna’s Hometown: Tea is Life; Life is Art

Kung Fu Tea Time in Chaozhou►

Step-by-Step Gongfu Tea→

The Chinese Gongfu Tea Ceremony→

The Chaoshan Region→

Chaozhou City→

The Chaozhou Language→

Our Story Main Page→

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*No purchases December-January for our China trip*