The recent increased interest in teas
There has been a recent surge in the interest in premium teas both in China and worldwide. Regulated by demand and supply, the tea industry in China has gone through some significant changes as a result. One of these changes is to resume harvesting from certain abandoned tea gardens.
Reason of tea gardens being abandoned
Many tea gardens have been abandoned in various parts of China in the past, mainly due to being not profitable. These tea gardens were left in the wild to take their natural course without being visited and attended for decades.
Increase in demand causes price hike
As the result of the recent increase in tea prices, for example:
- white teas recorded a 10-20% price hike in 2018 after a 10-35% increase in 2017;
- Pu-erh tea rocketed from a traditional folk tea to a shining star - a kilogram of Lao Ban Zhang fetched 50,000 USD in 2017
The tea framers have resumed harvesting from these ‘abandoned’ tea gardens.
Differences between the normal cultivated teas vs abandoned tea garden teas
The crops harvested from these ‘abandoned’ tea gardens are believed to be of better quality than the conventionally cultivated tea garden teas due to the following reasons:
- The tea plants have gone through the natural selection of the natural environment with only the strong ones survived
- No fertilizer or pesticides used for a long time (many decades)
- The tea trees/bushes are of certain age, older than the newly cultivated tea gardens. They therefore have stored up abundant nutrients from many years growing in the ‘semi-wild’ environment.
The tea produced from these tea gardens are of higher market value/price:
- They are believed to have the benefits of both wild grown tea trees (strong, potent and robust, but can be bitter and astringent) and cultivated teas (aromatic, soft but thinner and lack of internal depth).
- Difficult to harvest due to the ‘semi-wild’ environment, therefore lower production rate.