Mr. Liu Xu is a national tea taster. He has also coauthored eight books on tea.
Mr. Liu Xu, how long have you been working in the world of tea?
I have been working in the world of tea since I was a university student 23 years ago. Today I am a national taster.
What is your background? How does one become a taster of national standing?
I was born in Chengdu in the province of Sichuan. I graduated in July 1991 from the Faculty of Food Products at the Agricultural University of Xinan, where I obtained a bachelor's degree specializing in tea. In July of the same year, I started working at the Institute for Tea Research in the Department of Inspection and Tea Research. In 2003 I obtained my master’s degree and then the Certificate of Professional Tea Taster at the national level. Later I was involved in different types of training for tasters of all levels and from various countries. I have also been responsible for numerous evaluations on behalf of the China Tea Association, the Tea Inspection Center of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Huayun Art of Tea School and Shuren University in the province of Zhejiang. I have been invited to speak on many occasions at conferences overseas, in Japan and in Korea.
What are your main responsibilities?
In general, my duty is to evaluate newly created teas and teas from different regions. I regularly participate in several tea contests, inspecting and evaluating teas on a local and national level, and I teach tea-tasting courses to pupils who wish to become professional tasters.
Which aspect of your profession do you like best?
The opportunity to taste exceptional teas and to travel to the different growing regions to meet many people who are passionate about the field.
What major challenges do you think the Chinese tea industry will have to face in the coming yeans?
It is my opinion that the biggest challenge will be to interest younger generations in the culture of tea. It will also be critical to maintain a steady growth in tea production.
What la your favorite tea?
In each family of teas there are varieties of a superior quality. They are the ones I prefer.
How would you define a good tea?
The tea that you like is a good tea. A good tea is the tea that is at hand when you are thirsty. A good tea brings you all the joy of nature. A good tea lifts your spirits and fills you with enthusiasm.