Tea Brand of the China-Canada combination in Yunnan – Bitter Leaf

Wenzhuo Liu

Liu Xuan from Kunming, Yunnan, and Jonah Snyder from Canada opened an online tea store brand Bitter Leaf in Kunming, Yunnan, in 2015. Through online promotion, they focused on the international tea consumer market, retail and wholesale Chinese tea and tea sets to customers mainly in North America and Europe. They insist on visiting the tea gardens in person, and select niche tea produced by small farmers for customers based on their taste preferences. As a photographer, Liu Xuan’s professional photography also helps to increase online popularity, and also obtained the qualification of an intermediate tea master.

Xuan and Jonah, the two met in Canada. About ten years ago, they went to Yunnan, China to visit relatives and visit ancient tea gardens. They were attracted by the tea culture of Yunnan and began to drink Pu’er tea. They brought a lot of Yunnan tea back to Canada to share with friends and family. After the two people decided to move back to Kunming and settle down, they began to build their tea brand website in 2015 and actively promoted in social media. As a professional photographer, Liu Xuan felt that their brand tea photos must have characteristics. In the eyes of consumers, there should be recognition. Online platforms are originally a visual society. Consumers should recognize the brand by looking at the style of photos or videos. In recent years, the mobile phone lens can also take high-quality product photos. Only good-looking pictures can no longer be competitive, and there must be corresponding educational introduction. They have been improving and learning in practice and sharing their personal experiences online.

Although they mainly rely on online publicity, they do not want to make themselves famous, but rather focus on product publicity. Build trust with customers gradually. Among customers, word of mouth is the most ideal way. At this stage, the main customers are mainly in North America, and there are also some European customers, most of them are ordinary consumers. Occasionally, some companies cooperate with them. They are very happy to communicate with customers. The two are very satisfied with the current development status, and hope that the future brand will also develop naturally. Drinking tea is a part of their life. Visit small farmers’ tea gardens, they learn while walking, observe the ecological environment of the tea garden, tea garden management, tea factory production technology, etc. Once, in order to find the orchid fragrance of a tea, they traveled all over the mountain to taste tea at various farmers’ homes. After finding the tea garden with long-term cooperation, they also sent the tea samples by mail for inspection to check whether the finished tea meets the European Union standards.

Recently, the two plan to visit their families in Canada. They may also organize some offline tea activities in Canada and introduce their products themselves. I know at least three or four pairs of Chinese and foreign families living in Yunnan and engaged in tea trade. They also know each other, some even friends. Liu Xuan and Jonah said that the international market is big enough, but there is no competition with others. I note that these combination teams of China and foreign countries do have many natural advantages. They are very familiar with the international niche tea market, and their marketing methods are also keen to follow the preferences of international consumers. They are not only limited to online sales in Yunnan, some of them directly open direct stores in Europe, or organize a European tea trip to sell and publicize their tea products in teahouses and tea shops in major cities in Europe, and have close contact with tea enthusiasts and taste tea together.

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