Berlin Tea Festival – Yuan Yi and Ma Yunhui

Wenzhuo Liu

Two ethnic minority girls from Yunnan, Yuan Yi and Ma Yunhui, graduated from Berlin, Germany with a master’s degree in business. Together, they registered a trading company in Germany and started the Yunnan tea business, focusing on high-quality high-quality tea in Yunnan. After meeting senior tea enthusiasts Morten Menge of Germany and Alexander Ludwig of Austria, four tea lovers formed a team. From 2018 to 2022, they held three times Berlin Tea Festival in Berlin, Germany. In recent years, there have been many small and medium-sized tea festivals in Europe. What opportunities are offered to tea enterprises and tea institutions that want to go global?

Yunnan has a long tradition of planting tea and drinking tea. After studying in Germany, Yuan Yi of the Hui nationality and Ma Yunhui of the Yi nationality also brought the tea drinking customs of their hometown to Germany. When gathering with friends, they often drink the Yunnan tea they brought from their hometown. The two gradually discovered the business opportunities of Yunnan tea. As Yunnan people, they felt that they had great advantages. After graduating from business in 2016, the two began to start a business and set up a company to do Yunnan tea trade. Because of their common interests in tea, they became friends with senior tea friends Morten and Alexander, who had experience in working in tea enterprises, while Alexander studied and worked in Beijing and Taiwan, China. The four people hit it off at once. In 2018, the first one-day Berlin Tea Festival was held at the Holy Cross Church (Heilig Kreuz Kirche) in Berlin for the first time. More than 40 businessmen from Berlin and Germany participated in it, selling more than 800 tickets and successfully “out of the circle”. With tickets, each person can get a cup of tea, taste different tea at each booth, and directly purchase tea related products. They can also listen to speeches, participate in handicraft workshops and watch performances in different areas according to the schedule. The 2019 tea festival team took advantage of the victory and pursued the victory. More than 1000 tickets were sold, and more than 60 exhibitors from other European countries came to participate in the exhibition. The team also organized more supporting activities, such as tea professional lectures. Affected by the epidemic, the team did not hold another small activity until 2022.

I have noted that many countries have the tradition of holding tea festivals, and Asian tea producing countries need not say more. The early European tea festival should be the Prague tea festival, and similar small tea festivals have occurred in several countries. In Germany, besides Hamburg, there are large COTECA exhibitions involving tea every two years. The Berlin Tea Festival is the first tea festival in Germany. Yuan Yi and Ma Yunhui said that the Berlin Tea Festival is different from other tea festivals. Their tea festival activities are not only aimed at ordinary consumers, but also professional lectures aimed at merchants. They noticed that tickets for the tea festival sold well in Hamburg, Frankfurt and other places, and the number was only second to that of Berlin. It can also be seen that this tea festival model could be copied to other cities in Germany, even the whole Europe. They had received invitations from businesses in Paris, France. However, due to the impact of the epidemic, as well as the lack of funds and manpower, they have no plans for the time being. In the next few years, the team will consider holding tea festivals twice a year in Berlin to develop more professional lectures or online forums for tea professionals. The small forum activity in 2022 had connected tea gardens in Yunnan, China and Sri Lanka online. I believe that the European tea festival, as well as the tea festivals in Asia, North America and Australia etc., are good opportunities for tea enterprises and tea institutions to display, publicize and seek cooperation.

Unlike Hamburg’s tradition of tea import and export, Berlin is a diversified city, and the modern tea culture developed is also very diverse. A variety of tea drinking customs in different countries and regions can almost be found in Berlin. It seems that Berliners are willing to experience and accept the traditional and modern tea houses or tea shops, and the tea drinking atmosphere is increasing year by year. There will also be room for the development of minority tea in Berlin. The Wild Mountain Tea Company of Yuan Yi and Ma Yunhui now mainly sells B2B Yunnan minority fine tea, providing tea for merchants and restaurants. In 2019, they also used the Berlin Tea Exhibition as a platform to promote and organize the German tea tour to Yunnan. Although it was canceled due to the epidemic, more than ten people had signed up at that time. After the epidemic, China is open to international tourism groups, they will organize similar tea tours again to let customers experience the diverse tea customs and cultures of Yunnan’s ethnic minorities.


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