Li-yan has her whole life centered around farming of tea with her family. She's used to all the various rituals and the daily routine. However, when a car arrives at her village's gate - the first vehicle that any of the locals has ever seen in their live - everything changes. A stranger comes out of the jeep and brings something new into the girl's life. He's been looking for a special kind of tea for quite a long time, and now he's finally found it.
The Akha, an ethnic group living in China, has its own customs and traditions that have been around for centuries. Li-yan is an educated person and translates everything for the man, helping him make sense of their extraordinary way of living. And she becomes one of the first Akha members to let go of the rules and rituals that she's been true to for her entire life.
So, when she brings a baby into this world before she even gets married, the young woman wraps her newly-born baby girl in a blanket, puts a delicious tea cake in that blanket and leaves her in the big city. That's how the mom and the daughter get separated. Many years later, when Haley - the kid - grows into a beautiful and privileged girl in California, she starts to think about her origins and wants to know where she comes from.
She’s got a great life at home, but she can't shake the feeling that someone's waiting for her out there. At the same time, Li-yan is still waiting to hear from her daughter, and she's putting a lot of effort into finding her. The tea that's been a big part of their family will help them both find the way to each other. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is a powerful, emotional, touching story about family, love, culture, traditions, and everything else in between.