Roy Fong, ITMA Certified Grand Tea Master, is the founder and proprietor of San Francisco’s Imperial Tea Court, the first traditional Chinese tea house in America. A native of Hong Kong, Mr. Fong was introduced to tea early in life, and has spent many years developing close relations with tea growers and producers in mainland China and Taiwan. Each year he visits select tea gardens to supervise all aspects of production, from planting and cultivation to harvesting, processing and grading. In addition, he has built close ties with the historic pottery workshops of Yixing in Jiangsu province and imports dozens of exceptional “purple sand” teapots to the United States each year many of which are his own special designs and commissions.
During his term as Head of Research & Development for the original International Tea Masters Association, Mr. Fong spent several years directing and personally overseeing the award-winning “Lotus Heart” Dragon Well tea program in the renowned West Lake area of Hangzhou, China. In 1997 an international jury awarded his “Imperial Green” tea first place at the Tea Masters annual conference.
In 1998 he was invited to participate in ceremonies commemorating the restoration of the tea gardens at Jingshan in Zhejiang province, one of the oldest and most significant tea sites in China, dating back to the Tang dynasty (618-906). An account of the historic event was published in the July/August 1998 issue of TEA magazine, for which Mr. Fong has served as consultant and International Director, providing numerous articles on a wide variety of topics including tea history, production, and related cultural matters.
Presently, Mr. Fong, an ordained Daoist priest, is endeavoring to reestablish the ancient rite of tea dating back to the time of China’s greatest tea master, Lu Yu, who lived during the Tang dynasty and wrote his famous book the Cha Ching (“Tea Scripture”) around the year 780. He recently published his book, The Great Teas of China, a comprehensive guide to the teas of China, including sections concerning the history of tea in general, the origins of the varieties we know today, the various methods of tea processing, and detailed discussions of the different methods of tea preparation and service.
Mr. Fong has been featured in numerous publications, including: The New York Times, Forbes, Gourmet, Sunset Magazine, and has appeared on the National Public Radio program “Talk of the Nation”. He, his wife Grace and their two daughters make their home in the San Francisco Bay area. .