From China with love – when tea leads to Sino-American marriage | Encounters in China

From China with love - when tea leads to Sino-American marriage | Encounters in China 1

 

Brian Kirbis (California, USA) and Su Yumu (Yunnan, China) may come from different countries but were brought together by Chinese tea. Today they work as tea farmers in remote Yunnan Province and hope to bring their fine Pu’er tea to the world.

Yumu is a member of the Bulang minority group who live in southwest China. The Bulang are widely regarded as the first people to ever cultivate and consume tea. Brian was working as an anthropologist when he first visited Yunnan, hoping to find out about the cultural importance of tea in this famous region.

Brian and Yumu got to know each other during a long afternoon drinking tea and discussing their lives – an experience that helped them realise that despite the differences in their backgrounds, their values and outlooks on life were very similar.

Brian and Yumu fell in love and got married in her Bulang village, then set up their home near her Bulang village. Together they grow tea from trees Yumu’s ancestors planted, and try to popularise the tea that brought them, and their cultures, together.

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