Tony Chen is a giant of Chinese tea. His label Daughter Tea, founded in 2004, is as sought after today as are many of the classic vintage teas of the previous century.
Experts know how rare it is to find such brilliantly produced teas, from such select resources. Mr. Chen produces tea cakes which are bespoke in every detail, from the leaves, to the processing, to the paper which clothes them. The editions of his teas are renowned in Asia for purity, for power, and for prestige.
Having experienced many of the classic and outstanding teas of both the classical age (1950-1970), as well as the antique age of Pu-Erh tea (pre-1950), it is striking the similarities between Mr. Chen’s teas and those of a bygone era. He is producing teas which, in production quality, can be compared to Song Pin, Tong Qing Hao, Che Xun, and Chen Yun Gui of the early 20th century.
The awareness that he is carrying on a tradition of high excellence is demonstrated in the logo which Mr. Chen selected to represent his brand. It is a reference and salute to the outer wrapping of a 19th century Song Pin Hao tea brick. Featured within the character 囍 — associated with marriage — are drawings of the various ars ametoria. This was itself a reference to, or substitute for the instruction manual which would have accompanied the bride to her new home, and guide the process of the wedding night.
Mr. Chen, in drawing his own version of this label, shows us both his reverence for the timeless arts of Chinese tea production; and also reminds us that tea is not a stale and frigid art but a dynamic and joyous one — a process of passion and of purpose. Tea is art which affirms life and celebrates it in all its aspects. In this way he captures the true spirit of Chinese tea, one which at every turn resists the urge to be pigeon holed, to categorized or numbered. It is a living breathing culture — not a mere relic of the past.
In this way the spirit of the dynastic era of Chinese tea is alive and well in the house of Xi Zi Hao — Daughter Tea.