Tea has changed Laoshan, and Mr. He believes that tea has changed his home for the better. In his own words, Mr. He explains how he believes tea has improved the life of his family and the future of the region.
Before tea came to Laoshan, most in the small town beneath the Daoist holy mountain were fishermen or worked together in agricultural communes growing root vegetables, cucumber, cabbage, corn, and soy beans. As Mr. He explains, this work didn’t provide enough for everyone to eat, and their labor was essentially worthless.
Tea has improved everyone’s lives immensely. The craft of tea – both from the perspective of agriculture and finishing tea in the workshop – allows families the opportunity to earn living wages (and better!) from their work. The unique microclimate of Laoshan produces an equally unique tea, which is now enjoyed all over China and the world. The rising demand for the region’s hand made tea, combined with the small size of the growing region, means that the value of their tea increases every year.
This year, for example, the price of fresh picked leaves has increased by about 23 rmb per jin ($3.33 per 500g) for early spring tea protected by greenhouses, and 12 rmb per jin ($1.74 per 500g) for the classic Da Tian (uncovered) harvests. This increase is substatial, especially when you remember that it takes 5 jin of fresh leaf to make 1 jin of finished tea: that’s an increase of $8.75 to $16.65 per jin on the value of leaves alone, not including the labor it takes to finish the leaves in the workshop.
The rising value of tea is also working to protect the environment of the region. Recently, the local government has been placing tighter restrictions on the kinds of industry in the region with the goal of preserving Laoshan’s unique water, weather and soil and protecting the tea growing region from pollution.
In all of these ways and more, tea has changed the region.
None of this would be possible without the support of tea lovers like you. You’ve fallen in love with Laoshan tea, and your support of the He Family’s work is a large part of why the region is now being protected for future generations.
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