The Past and Future of the First European Tea Plantation – São Miguel

Wenzhuo Liu

As a decorative plant, tea was introduced to São Miguel island by Jacinto Leite, a native of the Azores in Portugal in 1820. It is the administrative capital of the Azores in the central part of the North Atlantic. Among the tea tree varieties brought to the island, only small leaf tea trees are well adapted to the climate and soil of the island. With the decline of the important pillar orange orchard agricultural industry on the island caused by diseases and insect pests from 1840 to 1875, tobacco, sugar beet, pineapple and tea were included in the experiment as alternative economic industries. In 1878 and 1891, two groups of Chinese tea industry experts were invited to the island to guide tea planting and tea processing, and the tea industry was successfully developed. At the beginning of the 20th century, the island had nearly 50 tea gardens and 10 independent factories exporting tea, which played an important role in the island’s economy. An important part of the island’s economy has been established around the planting, processing and export of tea. At that time, São Miguel island also became the only tea producing area in Europe. However, since the 1960s, the impact of the development of the international tea industry chain on the local tea industry, the shortage of local agricultural labor force, and the local policies to increase milk production have accelerated the decline of the whole tea industry on the island. At present, only two tea gardens with a total area of 25 hectares are still in operation, each with tea factories, mainly producing green tea and black tea. Where will the tea industry of São Miguel Island, which has developed for almost three centuries, and the tea culture derived from it go in the future?

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Portuguese Tea Garden – Chá Camélia

Wenzhuo Liu

German Nina Gruntkowski moved to Portugal 15 years ago as a Portuguese journalist of German radio broadcast. In an interview in 2011, Peter Oppliger, who initiated the Swiss tea garden in Ascona, gave her a tea tree. She has always dreamed of making more real and touchable products than radio, so she came up with the idea of planting tea trees. Nina first obtained 200 asexually propagated tea seedlings from Peter and planted them in her garden. In 2013, she transformed an old family vineyard into a tea plantation and cooperated with a Camellia expert. They used tea seeds for sexual reproduction and cuttings of mother trees of different small leaf species found in Portugal for asexual reproduction, and successfully developed 12000 clumps of tea trees on the land covering an area of 1 hectare. After more than 10 years of careful cultivation and management, some tea trees can be picked. They mainly produce steamed green tea, and the output is also increasing year by year. In 2019, 12kg, 2020, 50kg, 2021, in addition to 85kg steamed green tea, Nina also began to try to produce a small amount of Oolong tea.

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Online Tea Class – UK Tea Academy

Wenzhuo Liu

Jane Pettigrew, who has 39 years of experience in tea industry, tea practitioners who are familiar with her and the British tea associations organizations, gradually realised the importance of professional tea training in the food and beverage (service) industry. In 2015, Jane launched her influence in the tea circle for many years to form a team, established the UK Tea Academy (UKTA) with investor funding, and successfully operated in the UK. Since 2017 UKTA has had licenced tutors teaching the UKTA courses in Italy, Spain, South Korea, France and Germany. Soon after the start of COVID-19 in 2020, UKTA adapted its work to online classes, and now teaches students from all over the world.

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Tea Hiker on the Ancient Tea Horse Road

Wenzhuo Liu

Jeff Fuchs, who has lived in Shangri La, Yunnan for ten years, has 17 years of experience in recording and exploring trade routes in the Himalayas and visiting trade participants. He always takes tea and teapots when traveling. His photographic documentary book <Ancient Tea Horse Road> has recorded that he and his team walked along the ancient tea horse road on the Yunnan Tibet line. Based on his book, the documentary of the same name made by Canadian director Andrew Gregg won the documentary award. Jeff has organized and participated in more than 30 Himalayan expeditions, and he has won many Explorer awards such as recently as one of the “100 greatest explorers in Canada” by the Royal Geographical Society of Canada.

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Tea Podcast – Tea, Mud and Hope

Wenzhuo Liu

As the owner of Windy Hollow tea farm in Scotland, Monica Griesbaum explored and learned how to grow and make tea on 24 acres of broad-leaved forest land in Perthshire, in order to further understand tea planting, production and processing, new tea planting methods facing climate change, organic ecological tea industry and biodiversity of tea industry. Monica started the podcast “Tea, Mud and Hope” in 2019, hoping to inspire and encourage more people to pay attention to relevant topics through her podcast.

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Tea Podcast – Shernelle’s Tea Talk

Wenzhuo Liu

Today is undeniably the era of visual media, short video, Vlog and other we media have become popular all over the world, Podcast we media as network broadcast audio, compared with video shooting, podcast post production is relatively simple. Many European tea people choose podcasting to chat about tea. The audience does not have to sit in front of the computer or listen to it in real time. They can open the podcasting anytime and anywhere, especially when they are drinking a cup of tea. They are far away from the bombardment of visual media and the rest of vision, they are more focused on the enjoyment of smell and hearing. Because of this, the tea podcasting is very popular with tea audience.

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What did ancient Chinese people drink tea with?

After the Han Dynasty, until the Tang Dynasty, there was no strict boundary between tableware and drinking utensils. In most cases, they were shared. However, as a ceramic tea set, after the development of the Western Jin Dynasty and the southern and Northern Dynasties, to the Tang Dynasty, Lu Yu’s <tea classic 茶经> contains 20 kinds of tea sets, which shows that the Tang Dynasty tea set has complete shape, complete supporting facilities, and special tea sets have been established. Book Workshops
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What Tea did the Ancients drink?

Based on historical data, there are 67 tea producing areas in Tang Dynasty, 8 tea producing areas mentioned in Lu Yu’s <Tea Classic 茶经>, 43 states (counties), which are equivalent to 13 provinces today. In Tang Dynasty, there were more than 50 kinds of famous tea, most of which were steamed green cake tea, and a small amount of loose tea, including green tea and yellow tea. At that time, Guzhu Purple Bamboo Shoot tea from Wuyue (Jiangsu and Zhejiang) and Mengshan Purple Bamboo Shoot tea from Xishu (Sichuan) were the most popular products of the Tang emperor. Tang tribute tea producing house is located in Hutou Cliff on the side of Guzhu mountain, Changxing County, Zhejiang Province, which was founded in 770. It is the place to supervise the production of tribute tea Guzhu tea in Tang Dynasty, it is also the first tea processing factory in Chinese history. Read More

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Tea and Alcohol – Part II Tang Dynasty

In China, there has always been a saying that tea and wine compete for merit. But in the minds of Chinese literati, the status of tea is still above wine. Throughout the status of tea and wine in the poets’ minds, there is a process, a leading wine poetry first, tea and wine on an equal footing, to the tea dominating position. In the early Tang Dynasty, the poets used wine to boost their spirits. With the emergence of tea drinking groups such as Lu Yu and Jiao Ran, more and more poets of Tang Dynasty became associated with tea. The tea loving monk, Jiao Ran not only knew, loved and enjoyed tea, but also wrote many charming poems about tea, he thought that wein was far from tea “The elegance and purity of this tea is unknown to the world, people relying on drinking alcohol is to deceive themselves and others. 此物清高世莫知,世人饮酒多自欺 – <饮茶歌诮崔石使君>”. Jiao Ran discussed the art of tea drinking together with Lu Yu, the sage of tea, and advocated the tea tasting atmosphere of “replacing wine with tea”. He made great contributions to the development of tea culture in Tang Dynasty and later generations. Bai Juyi’s attitude towards tea and wine is more typical, “when there is no alcohol for guests to drink, 聊将茶代酒 for the moment, make do with tea instead of alcohol – <宿蓝溪对月>”, “We can know the strength of an alcoholic drink when we drive away the sorrow, we can see the effect of tea when we break the drowsiness 驱愁知酒力,破睡见茶功 – <赠东邻王十三>”, it was Bai Juyi who added a large amount of tea into the poetry world and made tea and wine keeping abreast of the world of poetry. From his poems, we can see the gradual rise and transformation of tea among literati.

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Tea and Alcohol – Part I Song Dynasty

Offering tea to guests is a virtue left over from ancient China in the land of rites, and it is a kind of noble etiquette in daily life to offer tea to guests. “山居偏隅竹为邻客来莫嫌茶当酒This is a couplet describing how to treat guests with tea. The meaning of the couplet is: I live in seclusion in the mountains, and the bamboo forest next to my residence is my neighbor. When relatives and friends come to visit, please don’t dislike me to treat you with tea instead of alcohol. This group of tea poem written by master Zhu Xi, the famous confucianist honoured as Zhu Zi in Song Dynasty, also known as “Tea Immortal 茶仙“, the couplet was inscribed in front of Sanxian temple in Shuilian cave, Wuyi Mountains. It shows Zhu Xi’s daily life of being close to nature and entertaining guests with tea when he lived in seclusion in Wuyi Mountains. At the same time, his “以茶喻学 analogy of his theory from tasting tea” was brought into full play, and his combination of “tea” and “theory” together created a different spark.

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