From May 25-26, Pu’er City played host to the 2013 International Tea Convention, organized by the Fifth Edition of the China Chamber of Commerce, welcoming, among others, a large delegation from America. Since 2005, when it was first held in Hangzhou, the Convention has been alternately held in Changsha, Chengdu, and again in Hangzhou in 2011, where it was combined with the Fujian Jasmine Tea Festival in Fuzhou. Later, the Convention, in conjunction with Wuyishan University, promoted global cooperation in the area of scientific research.
From May 27-30, Convention organizers also held a three-day Tea Sourcing Tour to the remote areas of the Simao, Lancang, and Xishuangbanna prefectures dominated by the Wa, Dai, and Lohu communities.
On May 2, the International Tea Committee had a change in its leadership. Convention organizers invited both past and present chairmen, Michael Bunston and Norman Kalley, respectively, to the event. It was nice to have them both since Mike has been a presence in the organization for almost 20 years.
Since this year’s Convention was held jointly with the Pu’er Tea Festival, I discovered many new facts and trends after attending the Pu’er Tea Forum and visiting their Pu’er Institute. In my opinion, Pu’er tea is the answer to the high sugar diets consumed by many Indians that lead to various ills.
Tea is a naturally growing plant in this region and these particular Pu’er varieties possess unique qualities when their leaves are preserved and mature with the passage of time, unlike other teas of the region, which have much shorter shelf lives. These teas have a medicinal quality and are highly prized among the local population who have enjoyed them for centuries.
I think you’re absolutely right about it being particularly healthy and ideal to switch the Indian drinkers away from their milk/sugar black teas. Truth is, as you know, black tea has lots of health benefits as well – it’s the addition of milk/cream and sugar that detracts from this otherwise healthy beverage. I realize this is the same issue that the British have. Perhaps the next generation can be introduced to high quality black teas which stand alone quite nicely. I do realize that changing the culture around tea can be challenging and that an introduction to a new tea into an exciting culture -such as pu’er- might be a good way to go. Once the masses come to enjoy the taste of pu’er, they might be more inclined to experiment with their black tea without adding anything. Us humans are indeed creatures of habit and old habits are slow to die.
I had attended the Chinese tea convention in Beijing many years ago. The vendors didn’t speak or understand English so the event was quite disappointing for me. It sounds like many changes have been made and that current tea related conventions in China are more accessible and geared to English speaking foreigners. Have a wonderful time at the World Tea Expo in Vegas. They do a wonderful job of creating an outstanding industry event.
So nice to have spent time with you, Rajiv, at the World Tea Expo, and yes, even nicer to hear of your new love for pu’er and how much better you are feeling since drinking it!