Russian businessman's tea journey to China

By Yang Qian (People's Daily Online) 11:12, October 07, 2023
Russian businessman's tea journey to China
Photo shows Maksim and his wife Daria at their tea store in St. Petersburg, Russia. (People's Daily Online/Yang Qian)

Ruban Maksim, a 25-year-old Russian, runs a brick-and-mortar tea store in Russia's St. Petersburg and has an online store selling products across the country.

He told People's Daily Online that he selects all his tea leaves from China. "Now, Chinese tea leaves are very popular in Russia. I received over 36,000 orders over the past nearly one year. My tea business enjoys bright prospects," he said.

Maksim developed an interest in Chinese culture and language seven years ago. Later, he was obsessed with Chinese tea. In 2019, he started his tea journey to China and visited a tea garden.

"I was shocked by the tea garden and was pretty sure I would learn Chinese tea and turn my hobby into a career," said Maksim.

Now Maksim visits China every half year and can communicate with locals in the Chinese language. He has been to many tea-producing areas in southern China, including remote villages, traveling a total distance of more than 20,000 kilometers.

The merchant said he was astonished to learn that China has so many kinds of tea. "In the past, Russians only knew black tea and green tea. In recent years, they began to know more about Chinese tea, including dark tea and white tea," he said.

Maksim has a passion for Chinese tea art, saying that the millennia-old Chinese tea culture is profound.

He has uploaded videos of knowledge of tea on social media platforms. He has also shared knowledge of how to pour a cup of tea, the functions of tea, Chinese tea art, tea leaves, tea sets and teapots. His passion for tea art has exerted an influence on many people around him. Today, his team has 15 members.

This spring, Maksim and his wife Daria visited tea gardens in Menghai county, southwest China's Yunnan Province, where they learned how to pick and fry tea leaves.

"In the future, I want to spend more time in China and make tea myself," Maksim said, adding that he also aims to open more stores selling Chinese tea leaves in Russia.

The merchant's tea journey has deep roots in the history of tea trade between China and Russia. In the 17th century, an ancient tea road stretched over 10,000 kilometers, linking the Wuyi Mountains in southeast China's Fujian with Russia's St. Petersburg, where he hails from.


(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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