What is your vision of a Chinese tea farmer? Is it a happy, friendly person who lives a simple life in a remote village, and cares only for their tea? Or, is it a young 28 year-old who only recently got into tea as a way to make some money?
While both versions of farmers do exist, on my travels I am seeing more and more of the second type, especially as the first type starts to age into retirement.
Tea drinkers in Europe and the US tend to have this idea that every farmer that makes tea is a highly skilled craftsperson who cares deeply for the tea leaves and the final flavor. While there are many farmers like this, there are also quite a few who are not. I want to take this time and introduce you to a few types of farmers who may not fit the romanticized simple farmer image, but make up a large part of the market today.
The internet is changing the game for tea farmers. In the past they had to rely on someone to be a middle man, coming to them and buying their tea to sell to others. With the internet, they can sell directly themselves, giving them more control over the asking price.
What you are starting to see also is younger generations moving out of the village and into a nearby large city to sell their family’s teas. Sometimes they go back to their old home and help make tea during the season, or sometimes they can be solely in charge of wholesale for their extended family.
This Article was written by me but originally published on Radii China, you can read the whole article at