Recent Tea Posts

What Brewed Tea Leaves Tell You About The Quality of Tea

What Brewed Tea Leaves Tell You About The Quality of Tea

Brewed wet tea leaves (Yedi, 叶底) contains a lot of information about the tea that you’re drinking. Too often they’re simply ignored and discarded. Take a careful look at those wet leaves, and it can tell you more about its quality and how it was […]

Why Jiaogulan is also known as the Immortality Herb: Video

Why Jiaogulan is also known as the Immortality Herb: Video

Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a plant that grows in Southern China. Japanese researchers discovered this herb while looking for a natural sweetener. Yet, they discovered other more powerful health benefits. Joe Hollis gives a short introduction of this medicinal plant.

The History of Xiaguan Tuocha

The History of Xiaguan Tuocha

Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha (Group) Co., Ltd. is a pu erh factory that’s prominent in the tea industry.

The company is the result of a merger of many small factories in the Xiaguan district of Dali, Yunnan. The earliest company was established in 1902, meaning that the company is has a history of more than 100 years.

The high-quality ecological environment provides a unique natural sources for the tea. The company mainly produces compressed pu erh tea. Its product series such as Song He (White Crane), Bao Yan( (Holy Flame), Xia Guan, won numerous international, national and regional awards and have always been appreciated by tea lovers. It’s also one of the most populair brands for pu erh outside of China.

Let’s now take a look at the milestones of Xiaguan Tuocha!

xiaguan tuocha tea history infographic


The tea firm “Yong Chang Xiang” in Xiaguan was founded an created the first tuocha shape pu erh tea. The shape resembles a bowl and has become of one of main shapes besides bricks and round cakes. Yong Chang Xiang will later merge into the larger Xiaguan tea factory. This clarifies why Xiaguan today still maintains ‘tuocha’ in its official company name.


The tuocha became popular and Yong Chang Xiang opened its first tea factory in Xiaguan. Its tuocha.


Dozens of tea factories opened successively in the Xiaguan district of Dali. It has become a hub for pu erh tea factories along the ancient tea horse road.


The Yunnan China Tea Trading Company was founded.


The Kang Zang Tea Factory was established by the Mongolian and Tibetan Committee and Yunnan China Tea Trading Company.


Bao Yan (Holy Flame) became a registered trademark.


Because of the large demand, a series of tea factories were established, including the Southwest Tea Factory.


With the withdrawal the of Mongolian and Tibetan Committee, the Yunnan China tea Trading Company became wholly owned by the Kang Zang Tea Factory.


The Kang Zang Tea Factory closed and functioned as a transfer station for transporting tea.


The Kang Zang Tea Factory resumed production and was renamed as the New Kang Zang Tea Factory of Yunnan China Tea Trading Company .


The New Kang Zang Tea Factory was renamed as the Xiaguan Tea Factory of China Tea Company Yunnan Branch “. It was nationalized and now belonged to the National Trade Department.


  • All Chinese Tea Company’s affiliated companies started to use “Zhongcha” trademark. Xiaguan Tea Factory too started using Zhongcha as the trademark for the products.
  • Consolidation continued, the Southwest Tea Factory, Yong Chang Xiang Tea Factory and other tea factories in Xiaguan area all merged into the Xiaguan Tea Factory.
  • 1953: Xiaguan Tea Factory shipped 54 tons of Bao Yan( (Holy Flame) mushroom-shaped tea to Tibet.


Xiaguan Tea Factory purchased and processed wild tea leaves up to 50 tons this year.


Xiaguan Tea Factory gradually expanded. The production capacity was increased and the packing and the transportation methods were improved.


The mushroom-shaped tea products changed to brick shape. The ingredients and processing technology remained the same.


The weight of each tuocha changed to 100 grams this year.


The factory resumed the production of round pu erh tea cakes.

The company created the first ‘XiaFaTuo‘ meaning ‘Sell To France Tuocha’.


Xiaguan Tea Factory expanded tea plantation area, carried out equipment transformations on tea screening, pressing and drying process.


The factory increased the volume of the export of pu erh tea greatly.

Pu erh tea code system lauched. The code for products of Xiaguan Tea factory started with 76 and ended with 3. For example, product 76073 meant Grade 7 loose pu erh of Xiaguan Tea Factory.


The factory’s Yunnan Tuocha (Grade A) was awarded Quality Products in Yunnan Province.


  • Product “Cangshan Green Snow” won the title of Yunnan Province Quality Tea.
  • Zhongcha brand’s Yunnan Tuocha (Export) and Grade 10 loose pu erh tea (76103) was given the title of Yunnan Province Quality Product .
  • French tea wholesale delegation visited Xiaguan Tea Factory to discuss the possibility of further trade expanding .


Xia Guan tuocha (Grade A) won National quality Silver Award, given by National Quality Award Committee.


Yunnan Tuocha (Export) won the World Food Golden Crown Award at the 9th World Food Awards held in Barcelona, Spain.


Yunnan Tuocha won once again World Food Golden Crown Award at the 10th World Food Awards in Dusseldorf, Germany.


Yunnan Tuocha (Class A) and Yunnan Tuocha (Export) both won Golden Award at China’s first Food Exposition,given by the Exposition Evaluation Committee.


  • Yunnan Tuocha (Grade A) was named the National Agricultural Department Quality Tea.
  • Yunnan Tuocha (Domestic) was named the National Quality Tea.
  • Yunnan Tuocha under Zhongcha trademark won the Silver Medal at Outstanding Export Commodities Awards.
  • Bao Yan (Holy Flame) brick tea won the Yunnan Province Quality Product title.


Xiaguan Tea Factory was given the Quality Management Award by National Ministry of Light Industry.


  • Song He (White Crane) and Nan Zhao registered as official trademarks.
  • Cangshan Green Snow and Gan Tong Cha were named Yunnan Province Quality Tea.


  • Yunnan Tuocha was given the World Food Golden Crown Award for the 3rd time at the 16th  World food Awards in Madrid, Spain.
  • San Dao registered as a trademark.


Xiaguan Tea Factory reformed to Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha Co., Ltd.


Song He (White Crane) and Bao Yan (Holy Flame) were awarded as China’s Quality Tea Trademark by Chinese Tea Circulation Association.


The company was permitted to use the “Green Food” logo.


Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha (Group) Co., Ltd. was established.


The company obtained Import and Export Enterprise Qualification.


  • The company held the press conference “100th Anniversary of the Creation of Tuocha”.
  • Xiaguan Tuocha’s official website went online.
  • Product Xia Guan tuocha was named as Product of National Geographic indications Protection by National Administration of Quality Supervision.
  • Song He (White Crane) obtained “Mark of origin” certificate.


Song He (White Crane) trademark was named by the Yunnan Provincial Administration for Industry and Commerce as Yunnan Province Famous Trademark.


  • Bao Yan (Holy Flame) trademark was named Yunnan Province Famous Trademark.
  • The Chairman of Xiaguan Tuocha Group, Luo Nai Xin, was nominated as “Top 10 Outstanding People of Pu Erh Tea”.
  • The company obtained Organic Product Authentication Certificate.


Xiaguan Tuocha Museum was established by Xiaguan Tuocha Group.


  • Xiaguan tuocha production technology was included in Dali Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection List.
  • Xiaguan trademark was identified by Yunnan Trademark Commission as Yunnan Province Famous Trademark.
  • Song He (White Crane) trademark was once again identified by Yunnan Administration for Industry and Commerce as Yunnan Famous Trademark.


Xiaguan Tuocha was chosen by China’s Ministry of Commerce as China’s Time-honored Brand.


The company held public charity auction activities which raised a total of nearly 500,000 yuan of funds.


Xiaguan Tuocha Group was given Provincial Industrial Quality Benchmarking Award.


8 Major Raw Materials Used in Teaware!

8 Major Raw Materials Used in Teaware!

Teaware Meaning The modern definition of teaware (Cha Ju, 茶具) is different from the ancient times. Teaware used to refer to the various tools used in tea production and consumption, including tea picking, making, drinking, storage etc. Nowadays, teaware only refers to tea utensils, including […]

8 Dental Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

8 Dental Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

You can’t tackle your oral hygiene without taking your diet into account. The food and drinks that we consume have a direct impact on our health, particularly on our teeth and gums. In recent times the sugar content in foods has gone up, making the […]

Homemade Hawthorn Jam Recipe DIY

Homemade Hawthorn Jam Recipe DIY

Hawthorn berry is full of vitamin C, carotene and other antioxidants. These little red fruits can block and reduce the formation of free radicals, enhance our body’s immunity, help reducing blood pressure, and help indigestion.

Although with all these health benefits, fresh hawthorn berry is just too sour to have. We have a great solution here –hawthorn jam! Follow our easy recipe, you will taste this sweet and sour, refreshingly delicious jam within half an hour.


  • Fresh hawthorn berries 1000 grams
  • White sugar 400 grams
  • Water 600 ml

Stepshawthorn jam

  1. Rinse the hawthorn and chop them into halves. Get rid of the stalks and cores.
  2. Put 600ml of water, 200 grams of sugar and the hawthorn berries into a pan and boil it until the hawthorn is soft.
  3. Transfer the content into a blender and blend for 20 seconds.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the pot, add 200 grams of sugar, and stir constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, wait till it cools down and thickens.
  6. Pour and store it into sterilised jars!

You can taste your homemade hawthorn jam whenever you like: spread it on your bread, use it as a dipping sauce for snacks or dishes, and try mixing it with smoothies… Healthy and Yummy! Just remember to keep the jam in the refrigerator once you opened the jar.


  • Enjoy the jam also with some home infused hawthorn tea. You can buy sliced dry hawthorn berries online for this, or make this at home as well.
  • If the hawthorn berry jam is too sour, tweak this recipe by combining hawthorn with other type of berries to get a more balanced flavour.
Why Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for Skin

Why Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for Skin

Drinking Chrysanthemum tea has a long history in Chinese culture. It is well known for its soothing aroma and multiple benefits for the human body including detoxification, clearing up the hot flashes, improving eyesight, relieving symptoms of sore throat and fever. But did you know […]

8 Hunan Cuisine Dishes To Order When Travelling in China

8 Hunan Cuisine Dishes To Order When Travelling in China

The Hunan cuisine (湖南菜/湘菜) is best known for its common use of chili peppers. Due to its spicy dishes, it’s often compared with the Sichuan cuisine. If you ask any Chinese what their impression of Hunan food is, they will most likely tell you one […]

Teforia Shuts Down: 10 Reasons Why Teforia Failed

Teforia Shuts Down: 10 Reasons Why Teforia Failed

Teforia is a startup that developed a sophisticated tea infuser accompanied with a smart mobile app. The company started off well with excellent publicity on sites like TechCrunch, Gizmodo and Engadget. And as you can see on the video below, it was presentation was promising. Yet, this week the company announced that it was shutting down as mentioned in their letter below in this post, which is also published on their website.

Though, the market of tea is seen as promising with high single digit growth rates, it seems that large companies as well as startups with lots of backing aren’t able to successfully enter the market. A similar disappointment was Starbuck’s Teavana exit from the tea market.

In this article, we look into the reasons why Teforia failed to make it’s product a great success:

1. The $1299 Price Tag

As easy it is create buzz and enjoy great publicity, it’s as hard to sell. For sure that the whole tea community online noticed the product, but likely not many decided to buy.

2. Lack of Demand for Tea Brewing Machines

Even if the price would be more reasonable, we believe there’s still a lack of demand for tea brewing machines. The tea market consists of those who want the convenience of a tea bag and others who actually love to make tea the traditional way. A tea machine is somewhere between convenient and ceremonial, which makes it positioning somewhat awkward.

3. Customer knowledge

The premium tea market is still in its early stages. And lots of beginning tea consumers still need to be educated. According to Teforia:

However, the reality of our business is that it would take a lot more financing and time to educate the market and we simply couldn’t raise the funds required in what is a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space.

Yet, we believe this statement is kind of contradictory. A brewing machine’s goals should bridge the knowledge gap. However, the sophistication of the machine actually further increased this gap.

4. Every tea is different

The Teforia machine was accompanied with an app, in which you can customise your brew, it doesn’t make selecting the right paramaters easier. Yes, there might be preset parameters based on the tea you’re brewing. Yet, even for the same tea, you have to customise, based on it’s specific leaf characteristics and variating levels of oxidation.

Teforia, tried to fix this by offering their own teas for which they can have tweaked parameters before hand, but knowing the tea consumer, they aren’t easily convinced to switch away from their favourite suppliers.

5. Juicero & the gloomy market for smart kitchen appliances

The downfall of Teforia also had something to do with a related product: The Juicero. It’s a $400 juice maker, which Bloomberg proved in the video below that it wasn’t needed:

The shutdown of Juicero definitely affected investors’ appetite for Teforia’s machine.

6. Tea is not coffee

In the world of coffee, people have a fetish for a great machine. Brewing coffee is a kind of science. It’s about optimisation and perfection. Though, tea compared a lot with coffee, there’s isn’t really such a tea as the perfect cup of tea. The individual’s taste for tea is just way more diverse than in the world of coffee.

Teforia’s machine, offered some personalisation, but aiming for that perfect cup was still the main goal. But tea really is not comparable to coffee. Especially in the premium tea segment, which Teforia targeted, people care about the journey more than the destination. They want to be in control and brew their own tea.

These things said, Teforia is still a company that many in the industry admired. It was absolutely the best attempt so far, to disrupt the premium tea industry.

Appendix: Teforia farewell letter:

Dear Teforia Customers and Partners,

Thank you for being our companion in our journey to elevate the tea experience. From day one we set out to deliver the best tea experience possible, from sourcing the best all-natural tea in the world, to development of the perfect recipes (with tea masters) to developing the most sophisticated and powerful infusion technology.

Your support, feedback and encouragement has fueled our drive on this journey. Even though we’re only sold in the U.S., Teforia Infusers are actively used in twenty different countries, four different continents, and have made almost half-a-million servings of tea in the past nine months.

In our mission to deliver the best tea experience, we didn’t compromise on the Teforia Infuser technology, quality or the premium tea packaged within our Sips. The glass within the infusion globe and carafe are hand blown by a glass artisan, one at a time. We spent a tremendous amount of time pioneering our Sips tea container to be 90% compostable and completely recyclable. We went to these extraordinary lengths because we believe premium loose leaf tea should be delivered in the most delicate and sustainable way possible.

We believe our customers are deserving of the best. Most of you agree with us. In fact, the prestigious World Tea Expo awarded Teforia with the 2016 Best Tea Industry Innovation Award and designated Teforia as the 2017 Best Tea Brewing Device.

We achieved all of this with a most amazing team of 15 highly passionate and highly skilled professionals, with the common belief that the tea experience should be simpler, more elegant and more rewarding.

However, the reality of our business is that it would take a lot more financing and time to educate the market and we simply couldn’t raise the funds required in what is a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space.

Therefore, it is with heavy hearts that we are announcing that all business operations, for Teforia Company, will cease effective today. We will continue to seek a partner that can leverage Teforia technology and/or provide Sips tea sales to continue our mission of elevating the tea experience. Hopefully you will see Teforia technology in future products.

8 Authentic Cantonese Food Dishes (With Video Recipes)

8 Authentic Cantonese Food Dishes (With Video Recipes)

Cantonese cuisine is one of China’s Eight Famous Cuisines and it’s also known as the ‘Guangdong cuisine’ (广东菜) or ‘Yue cuisine’ (粤菜). Cantonese food was the first Chinese food style that was introduced to the West, as the early days’ Chinese immigrants were from Guangdong […]