A Life in Tea – For three decades David Lee Hoffman has been spanning the globe in search of fine teas. – By Karen Foley
© 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?
Mr. Wei Yu De is from a well-known lineage of farmers who trace their tea farming back nine
generations. In the fall of 1997 at the China National Tea Competition, a panel of five judges
selected Mr. Wei for the title of “Tea King” in recognition of the Tieguanyin that he submitted
for the competition. This award brings great prestige to his family name.
Reposted from Tea – A Magazine – By David Lee Hoffman –
“Times are changing in China. Each time I return, I’m astounded at the pace at which it occurs. Shopping has replaced the political rallies. Their hip pockets hold not the Little Red Book of Right Thoughts, but the latest digital telephone.”