© 1998 Tea Trade Press, LLC—used with permission
The Tea Trade Interview
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FORTUNE
Not since the legendary 19th century Scottish adventurer Robert Fortune has a Westerner journeyed to
China to buy tea directly. American David Lee Hoffman speaks about his travels for Silk Road Teas.
“There’s a serious problem in China. China has eight million tea farmers.”
“The solution is to start feeding the soil, it’s very simple.”
“If they have a better quality tea, they will get a much higher price for it, and if they can grow it
organically, they get still an even greater price.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: To study tea cultivation and acquire tea in China’s hinterlands without official
blessings or even speaking the language is an exploit few have attempted since botanist Robert
Fortune immediately after the Opium War. Following sometimes literally in those footsteps, my friend
David Lee Hoffman is another intrepid visionary whose contributions will prove historically
significant, and of benefit, to China and all tea lovers.
James Norwood Pratt
TT`: How did you get your start in tea?