I think everyone who blogs about China has to have a post somewhere, sometime with this title. I mean, how is one to resist? The International Herald Tribune has published an interesting article about tea-growing in China, titled Tea, Wild or Not Enriches Chinese Province.
From relative obscurity a few decades ago, tea from Yunnan, especially
Pu’er, has become a fashionable, must-have variety in the tea shops of
Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. Surging demand for Pu’er tea has made
farmers here rich and encouraged entrepreneurs to carve out ever more
plantations from jungle-covered hillsides. …
In the remote southern hills of Yunnan Province, tea has never been
something you buy at the market; it grows in your backyard, like
blueberries in the woods of Maine.
Domesticated tea plants are trimmed into hedges to make harvesting
easier. In the wild, they grow to resemble the old and gnarled olive
trees of the Mediterranean but with bigger and more abundant leaves.
Peng Zhe, deputy secretary-general of the Xishuangbanna Dai
Autonomous Prefecture, a tea-growing district here, compares the wild
tea to fine vintages of Bordeaux or Burgundy.
"To appreciate Pu’er tea is similar to enjoying wine," said Peng,
who is also the head of the local tea promotion board. "You need to
understand the different areas where tea grows. The fragrance is
different from one mountain to the next."
I’ve had Pu’er tea. It’s quite tasty. Check out the article. Better yet, if you have the chance, try the tea.