The Big Picture

Homeland of tea

According to a legend, tea was first discovered by the legendary Chinese emperor Shennong in 2737 BC. Today, China is the world’s biggest tea producer, selling many varieties of tea leaves such as green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea and yellow tea. It is the most highly consumed beverage in the world. China still boasts many teahouses, particularly in cities with a strong teahouse culture such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Chengdu. Different regions are famous for growing different types of tea. Hangzhou is famous for producing a type of green tea called Longjing or the Dragon Well tea. Tea tastes also vary regionally. Drinkers in Beijing tend to prefer jasmine tea while in Shanghai prefer green tea. Processing raw tea leaves for consumption is a time and labor-intensive activity and still done by hand in many areas in China. The Chinese tea industry employs around 80 million people as farmers, pickers and sales people. Tea pickers tend to be seasonal workers who migrate from all parts of the country during harvest time. The pickers work from early morning until evening for an average wage of around 120 RMB (around 16 euros) a day. Tea can be sold from around 80 RMB (around 11 euros) to over 4,000 RMB (around 525 euro) per kilogram. In 2016, China produced 2.43 million tons of tea. Chinese people believe that the practice of brewing and drinking tea can bring the spirit and wisdom of human beings to a higher level.--By EPA
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Seasonal workers harvest Longjing (Dragon Well) tea at a tea plantation in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, April 13. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Chinese tourists walk in a tea plantation in ‘The sea of the tea trees’ tea garden, near the city of Zunyi, Guizhou province, China, April 29. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Lu Shuihua, a seasonal worker from Shangrao, Jiangxi Province, poses for a portrait at a tea plantation in the Longjing village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, April 14. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Seasonal workers pour out newly harvested Longjing (Dragon Well) tea leaves after a working day at tea plantations, in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, April 13. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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A building which looks like a tea pot placed over other houses in the city of Zunyi, Guizhou province, China, April 28. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Zhu Chaorong, roasts newly harvested Longjing (Dragon Well) tea leaves in an electronic pan at his home, in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, April 13. Zhu Chaorong and his family have around 300 meters tea plantation and he hires seasonal workers for picking up tea. After the whole process of making Longjing (Dragon Well) tea, Chaorong with his family sell it. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Seasonal workers harvest Longjing (Dragon Well) tea at a tea plantation in the Longjing village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China ,April 14. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Chinese employees work at ‘Spring snow tea company’ near the city of Zunyi, Guizhou province, China, April 29. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Wang Yuebao shows Longjing (Dragon Well) tea boxes which she sells, in the Longjing village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, April 14. Wang Yuebao has 17 seasonal workers. After the whole process of making Longjing (Dragon Well) tea, Yuebao sells it. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Zhu Chaorong, roasts newly harvested Longjing (Dragon Well) tea leaves in an electronic pan at his home, in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Tea plantations surround a village near the city of Zunyi, Guizhou province, China, April 29. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Seasonal workers harvesting Longjing (Dragon Well) tea walk past a tea house as they have a break for lunch in the Longjing village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Wang Yuebao stands with Longjing (Dragon Well) tea leaves next to her small family tea factory in the Longjing village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, April 14. Wang Yuebao has 17 seasonal workers. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Chinese people ride a small tourist train next to a tea plantation in ‘The sea of the tea trees’ tea garden, near the city of Zunyi, Guizhou province, China, April 29. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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A tea art master waits for visitors during the Tea Expo in the city of Zunyi, Guizhou province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Seasonal workers walk through a tea plantation in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Seasonal workers wash their clothes after the working day at tea plantations, in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Seasonal workers sitting next to newly harvested Longjing (Dragon Well) tea leaves have dinner after the working day at tea plantations, in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Visitors taste the tea products during Tea Expo in the city of Zunyi, Guizhou province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Seasonal workers harvest Longjing (Dragon Well) tea at a tea plantation in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Workers have dinner after the working day at tea plantations, in the Meijiawu village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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A worker harvests Longjing (Dragon Well) tea at a tea plantation in the Longjing village, outside Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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Tea art masters prepare tea for visitors during the Tea Expo in the city of Zunyi, Guizhou province, China. (Roman Pilipey/EPA)
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