If, like me, you use online search tools to plan tea experiences when you travel, you would be as mislead as I was when you consider China. And if you have an opportunity to visit Shenzhen don’t be fooled into thinking that it is like most other large Chinese cities. China has selected and supported Shenzhen as a model modern city. This creates an environment where an organization like Huajuchen (HJC), organizers of the Global Tea Fair, can offer an almost unimaginable international tea event. So I will quickly add that they offer two of these events a year in Shenzhen plus twenty-five more in other cities throughout China, between May and December. The best way of sharing the experience is to share the HJC promotional video.

Global Tea Fair, December 12-16, 2019

This is one of the nine halls from an overhead view before the show was open to the public. Each of the halls is filled with booths like these and all sell products that are related to tea.

Filling the massive convention center, there were nine different tea-themed buildings organizing 1600+ booths and hosting more than 50,000 people over five days. This is “tea” on an unimaginable scale that seems almost irrelevant here in the U.S. where we look with pride at our tea events, festivals, that draw between 1000 and 4000 people. As one of these organizers, I went to Shenzhen with that question in mind. What do the HJC Global Tea Fairs mean to us?  During this series of articles, I’ll address this in several ways.

But first, I’ll share a series of my favorite photos that illustrate the scope, diversity, and elegance of this show.

Major brands of tea from regions all over China offered tastings of their teas in beautiful booths, with information about how they are grown.

Many of the booths brought members from some of the ethnic minorities for whom tea is an important part of their way of life.

And, of course, there were some wonderful tea vendors throughout the show.

So, what do the massive tea events like HJC Global Tea Fairs mean to us?

This is something I’m still considering and about which I will continue to explore in this series. My first thought is that we begin to see our relationship with tea purveyors in China differently. Our understanding of tea culture is expanded beyond the leaf in the field to high art in several forms.

Images provided and copyright held by author