Saturday, February 16, 2013

Can Yunnan drought justify the Pu-erh price increase?

original article:

Can Yunnan drought justify increased Pu-erh prices in 2013?

Since Autumn 2009, South Western China has seen a lack of precipitation and high temperatures, which created a drought. Nowadays, the situation is still worrying.

Even though the drought has had a severe impact on tea production, despite irregular consumption, the price increase has not impacted the demand. 

According to statistics, Yunnan tea represents 13% of the Chinese tea production, 25 to 30% if we only consider Spring tea. The Yunnan Agricultural Department estimates that, in 2010, the drought reduced production by 50% overall and by about 60% for Spring tea. As a consequence of the drought, the price of tea last year increased by 20% on average, and up to 70% in some villages.

As a result, Pu-erh tea does not even account for 4% of the total Chinese production nowadays, yet, the Pu-erh stock remains large (two thirds of the Pu-erh tea is stored in Dongguan, near Guangzhou), therefore, the drought should not have an influence on the supply.

In China, the consumption should continue to increase and the prices do the same: Pu-erh tea will surely be more expensive in 2013. Still, will the farmers get out of poverty? Will the tea shops make money?  I think the Yunnan drought has been around for years, can it still be used as an argument to justify higher prices?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Principles of organic tea farming

Originally written by Pu Jin Jing 普金晶
Check her blog:

Principles of organic tea farming (By Pu Jin Jing)

In all cases, distribute the trees all across your available land, don't leave any empty spot.

Keep 2-3 meters between each tree, this will ensure the tea trees have room to develop their roots; low grass will also grow naturally, it will attract many insects, ensuring good biodiversity and avoiding that too many insects gather on the tea trees and damage them! Preserve a natural food chain in the tea garden.

Try to flatten the steep fields, it will avoid water flowing down and will help keep the nutrients in the soil!

Preserve a natural environment all around the tea garden.

Till the soil once or twice a year, add a bit of homemade fertilizer or cut weeds and bury them around the tea trees. Use local green manure: dead leaves taken from the nearby forest is perfect, it will be enough to give your tea garden a nutrient boost.

6.茶树的修剪: 剪掉过秘的枝条集中茶树营养,或者过长过高的枝条,以此控制茶树过快的长高,增加树冠,让茶树成伞形,以此方便采摘!
Pruning the tea bushes: cutting off the top will concentrate the nutrients into the lateral branches. If it's already tall trees, pruning them will give them an umbrella shape, making the harvest easier.

Control the flowering and fruit growth, pick them systematically!

Picking techniques: refer to this article (in Chinese)

Other translated articles written by Pu Jin Jing here and there.