hello world!
Rivers & Lakes is a translation from the word 江湖 Jiānghú,
a concept alluded to in kung fu fiction describing a liminal territory beyond laws, where the honed individual's skill and integrity may be their only currency

Augustus Rushing

Rivers & Lakes Tea creator
Hi, I'm Gus. 
Welcome to Rivers & Lakes Tea.
I love sharing remarkable teas made by talented people with the stories and conditions that led to their creation as intact as possible.  Inspired by the role the tea table holds in eastern societies, I hope our teas complement a sense of community.  Occupied by the dance between simplicity and nuance needed to brew the fine cup, I also hope these teas incite presence through intuition and experimentation as you brew them if you're having tea just with yourself.  You may know me through my work at Dobrá Tea in North Carolina, at Visionary Magnets, or through my interests as a lifelong musician, photographer, and wannabe botanist.
Let's have tea soon.
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Bart Arconti

Rivers & Lakes Tea co-founder
I began working in the tea industry in 2012 and have learned that tea is much more than just an intake of caffeine, but rather a medium that fosters cultural communication and a practical way for humans to connect with one another. In 2015, I had my first experience traveling to Taiwan, the first "tea country" I had ever been to. While there, I learned about the intricacies involved in the processing of tea. After we came back with teas directly from the farm and were able to share them with our community, it has been an obsession of mine to discover and share the teas that I fell in love with on that first trip. Though drinking tea itself is a love of mine, my mission in searching for teas is the experience of being able to share it with as many people as possible. My hope through understanding and learning more about tea is that we can then offer a better tea experience to those around us.
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In 4th century BC, taoist philosopher Zhuangzi  庄子 first conceptualized Jianghu:
泉涸,鱼相与处于陆,相响以湿相濡以沫,不如相忘于江湖
“When the springs dry up and the
fish are left stranded on the ground, they
spew each other with moisture and wet each other down with spit — but it would be much better if they could forget each other in the rivers and lakes.”
This original conception of Jiānghú gave reference to an archetypal liminality where two meet in a necessary exchange of gritty intimacy, only to have this interaction best forgotten if they return to normalcy (within society; 'the rivers and lakes'). This eastern allegory of the liminal has been adopted to not only describe a zone inhabited by traveling kung fu heroes in ancient times, but of aesthetic hermiticism, of counterculture society beyond cities and laws, as well as the unregulated world of trading for an enigmatic authenticity in tea...

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