In this guest blog post: Lev Glazman (left), cofounder of Fresh, journeys to China to reveal the making of and inspiration for the highly sought-after Black Tea Skincare Collection.
Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg founded Fresh in Boston in 1991.
This past November, we embarked on a highly anticipated trip to Hangzhou, China, one that brought us incredibly close to the source of most of our teas. Alina and I hosted editors from four different regions—China, Hong Kong, Korea and the United States—and completely immersed them in the rich history of tea—particularly black tea, the antioxidant-rich hero of our age-delay skincare that offers the ultimate in protection.
We stayed in one of the most beautiful resorts, Amanfayun. Its design has a stunning Eastern sensibility, and it is surrounded by lush tea fields and breathtaking temples. We began our days with a choice of yoga, pilates or a simple jog through the picturesque grounds of the resort, through the tea plantations, temples, endless staircases, rolling hills and massive mountains. After a bountiful breakfast, the editors and I would head out to the tea fields, where we taught them how to pick the right tea leaves for harvesting.
The tea-picking process in China, whose people established it centuries ago, is quite obsessive. There is almost a compulsion about how the farmers pick and preserve the leaves, to the point of the precise size of the leaf and the belief that leaves must always be picked in pairs. One leaf has to be fully opened and the other leaf just about to open. Together, the pair keeps the fermentation process balanced.
One day after tea-picking, we ate at the world-famous Dragon Well Manor, a restaurant that offers a completely authentic and unique dining experience, one so coveted that reservations are required months in advance. Following our adventurous lunch, we returned to the resort and enjoyed a tea ceremony led by a local expert. We tasted the most extensive selection of teas: white tea, green tea, black tea and tea infused with the most unbelievably flavorful natural ingredients. The expert walked us through the history and culture of tea, from its origins to present day.
What was so amazing about the trip is that not only did we get this incredible experience of being in the tea fields, close to the source of our own leaves, and of understanding the richness of tea’s history, but Alina and I also got to spend time with people from different parts of the world, sharing their experiences, their personal stories and our personal stories, and forming true friendships. Once again, the power of black tea was confirmed as an age-delay remedy, as a timeless ritual and as the perfect brew.
Enjoy the pure beauty of Fresh.