“Tea in China” by Peter F. Goggi
12/01/2015 in by () comments
I have just completed a weeklong stay in China, where I spoke at the 2015 International Tea Forum in Chibi, Hubei. Hubei is world famous for its teas, such as Cloud-and-Mist Tea , Tuanhuang Tea and Qimen Tea. It also was the birth place (well close by, anyway!) of Lu Yu, author of the Classic of Tea in the 8th century. I have not been to China in a long while and nave never been to Hubei Province, and I was very impressed. The infrastructure from Wuhan (the Provincial Capital) down to Chibi was impressive, modern and possessing more than enough capacity to cover the 130 KM in about 2 hours.
I discovered that Xianning City, of which Chibi is a “suburb”, is the starting point for the Tea Road. We’re all familiar with the Silk Road, a major trade route from China, but the Tea Road was all about tea, in particular the Brick Tea for which Chibi is famous. The Tea Road was really two roads: one to Russia and one to Europe. The development of Hubei as a tea powerhouse and the relationships engendered with its trading partners is a long and storied history, interwoven with wars, famous battles, tea innovations and global trade. In fact, China is launching an entire initiative around the theme of “One Belt, One Road, Prosperity of the Tea Road”.
One of the more beautiful sights took place on November 7th, when the delegates were treated to the local tea ceremony, used when preparing brick tea for consumption. These three young women were in a Tea Competition held during the 3rd China Organic Agricultural Products Expo and China Qing Dark (Black) Brick Tea Trade Fair. The grace and elegance revealed in the attached still shot pales when one sees this team prepare a delicious tea for our enjoyment live and in person. As a treat, I will be posting videos of this in due course and will be providing a link for your enjoyment.
I am looking forward to sharing more of my experiences there as well as other global tea producing countries over the next online postings.