China in midsummer!
Since 2003, my travels in China have been mainly in the spring during the tea harvest. Over the years, the scenes of China in the spring have become familiar to me. There are fields of brilliant yellow canola flowers, the magnolia flowers on bare branches, and naturally, all the new tea shoots giving a beautiful tender green to the tea gardens. In the latter, a horde of pluckers are busy harvesting while in the factories tea transformation is in progress. I have also visited China later in the year for the fall harvest, but I had never set foot there in the heart of summer.
So it was with a fresh excitement that I flew to Shanghai on July 24 at the request of a film crew from Radio-Canada's 'La Semaine Verte'. My mandate for this trip was not buying but to introduce to this dynamic film team (and soon you!) the China and tea scene of my many years working there. We visited the province of Zhejiang and Yunnan to meet several tea producers, scientists, a potter, in addition to visiting tea houses and Chinese tea markets. It was for me and the producers a very different context of meeting to our spring meetings. In the spring, we run through comparative tastings, discuss climate and transformation, negotiate purchases and arrange transport, while in summer, with no harvest in the gardens and nothing to buy, we had only to talk and drink tea together!
We were made completely welcome by the Tang family, producer of our Long Jing Shi Feng in their beautiful home, by scientists from the Tea Research Institute, by Mr. He who produces Huiming who treated us to the superb food in Jingning, by Mr. Yan and the great art of his celadon, by Ms. Wang, with her wonderful humour and great Pu Er and by Mr. Chan, specialist in the ageing of Pu Er, with his infectious laugh.
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