DSC03561From 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.

DSC03718On 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.