I don't know how to start this article. I am very familiar and use to this kind of lifestyle. My parents were farmers and I grew up in the tea farm village. Picking tea was my job when I was a elementary and junior high student where as Americans kids delivered news papers to make their allowances.
Tea business supported many families including my family and improved their lifestyles. As time went by, Taiwan became more westernized. There are more young people now drinking coffee rather than traditional tea. Also international competition has suppressed the Taiwan tea market because low cost Vietnamese tea and Chinese tea are imported to the marketplace.
|Spring tea and winter are the best tasting tea. This is spring tea.|
The standard picking technique is to pick no more than 4 leaves
per stem because the new leaves makes better quality tasting tea.
|Picking tea leaves is performed by women|
who are more than 60 years old.
They spent most of their time in the tea farms.
|Emptying their baskets after weighting.|
|Collected tea leaves were ready to deliver to the tea factory for|
processing. Kids were excited for the country side slow and short
Economic competition has changed agricultural patterns. Hiring these female workers to pick tea is too costly, so sometimes tea farmers will have someones to cut tea leaves by machine. It will save time and money but the quality of tea won't be as good as the hand picked tea. Because the machine cut tea leaf stems will be too long, too short, or broken tea leaves, the quality will be effected by these reasons. On the other hand, it offers an affordable price for some consumers who cannot afford to pay for high quality hand picked tea.
|Cutting the tea leaves mechanicly|
|Some old ladies have lost their job of picking tea because of this |
machine. They are still responsible for supporting their families.
|The hand picked tea would take 1 or 2 days to finish but the |
machine picked only take 2-3 hours to finish this entire field.
|The tea farmer only employed three people for cutting the tea.|
|This picture was taken by Jeff who was the owner of a tea farm a couple of years ago. |
These tea leaves were ready to be sent to the factory for processing.
|This picture was taken by Jeff, the tea farm owner. |
This gentleman was from Poland. He went to my hometown which
was in Songbao Lin area, Nantou County with his friends. He
enjoyed experiencing his day at the tea farm.
|This picture was taken by Jeff.|
It was nice to get wet in the hot weather.
Jeff, the tea farm owner, enjoys people especially foreigners (so he can improve his English) to visit his tea business in Songbao Lin and learn about the making of good quality tea. He has entered many tea competions and has won many award for his prize winning tea.