What is “Good” Plantation Tea? - Translated Article

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Oolong_Nug
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Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:21 pm

Hello Everyone. I'll throw a blog that I am part of out there starting with a translated article I put up here. I like to find articles on topics I am interested in through Chinese blogs and forums, and translate them into English for others to see. I'm an advocate for promoting access to a larger circle of the tea world that some folks here may not have convenient access to. Our other currently active member, Alex, has some interesting posts on storage as well as other topics. Hopefully people may find something of interest. Thank you for your time!
Last edited by Oolong_Nug on Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tillerman
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Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:36 pm

Oolong_Nug wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:21 pm
Hello Everyone. I'll throw a blog that I am part of out there starting with a translated article I put up here. I like to find articles on topics I am interested in through Chinese blogs and forums, and put translate them into English for others to see. I'm an advocate for promoting access to a larger circle of the tea world that some folks here may not have convenient access to. Our other currently active member, Alex, has some interesting posts on storage as well as other topics. Hopefully people may find something of interest. Thank you for your time!
Thanks - this is a great effort!
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Oolong_Nug
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Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:57 am

Tillerman wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:36 pm
Thanks - this is a great effort!
Thank you very much!
chofmann
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Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:37 am

Thanks Nug.

Just wanted to add that your translation of 'wild tea' seems accurate to me. Most tea that we've come across that is perceived as 'wild' is still owned by somebody in a 'garden', it just isn't cared for in the same way as 'not wild' tea (i.e. no pruning, fertilizer, pesticide, etc.).

Additionally, I will not pretend to know much about Pu'Er as it is not our focus area, but in other teas you do see a similar theme that 'plantation teas' are low quality. In the end, it really depends on how the plantation is being run. I've seen several large operations (not sure what the exact definition of a plantation is) that care for their teas and produce a better, safer, and cheaper product than other much smaller, family run operations. I still believe that smaller operations have the potential to produce better tea... they have a higher ceiling, if you will, but they also can be much much worse.

Mathematically, I would say that plantation teas and smaller, family run operations probably produce the same quality tea on average (same mean), but the family-run operations have a much wider distribution with a significantly lower kurtosis and fatter tails.

Just my 2 cents.
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Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:24 am

chofmann wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:37 am

Mathematically, I would say that plantation teas and smaller, family run operations probably produce the same quality tea on average (same mean), but the family-run operations have a much wider distribution with a significantly lower kurtosis and fatter tails.
I often think I am getting smart about tea & what people say about it & then "kurtosis and fatter tails." ends a post making me realize I know very little. No dictionary handy but I'll look it up. cheers
chofmann
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Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:29 am

Ethan Kurland wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:24 am
chofmann wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:37 am

Mathematically, I would say that plantation teas and smaller, family run operations probably produce the same quality tea on average (same mean), but the family-run operations have a much wider distribution with a significantly lower kurtosis and fatter tails.
I often think I am getting smart about tea & what people say about it & then "kurtosis and fatter tails." ends a post making me realize I know very little. No dictionary handy but I'll look it up. cheers
Don't worry, it isn't a tea thing. Just a statistics thing.

Image

Think of it like this graph. If the x-axis is the quality of the tea and the y-axis is the probability that a particular farm falls into that quality:
Tea plantations are like the blue line --> all very similar in quality.
Small family farms are like the yellow line --> Some can be very far to the right, very good, but some are far to the left too, very bad.
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Oolong_Nug
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Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:56 am

chofmann wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:37 am
Thanks Nug.

Just wanted to add that your translation of 'wild tea' seems accurate to me. Most tea that we've come across that is perceived as 'wild' is still owned by somebody in a 'garden', it just isn't cared for in the same way as 'not wild' tea (i.e. no pruning, fertilizer, pesticide, etc.).

Additionally, I will not pretend to know much about Pu'Er as it is not our focus area, but in other teas you do see a similar theme that 'plantation teas' are low quality. In the end, it really depends on how the plantation is being run. I've seen several large operations (not sure what the exact definition of a plantation is) that care for their teas and produce a better, safer, and cheaper product than other much smaller, family run operations. I still believe that smaller operations have the potential to produce better tea... they have a higher ceiling, if you will, but they also can be much much worse.

Mathematically, I would say that plantation teas and smaller, family run operations probably produce the same quality tea on average (same mean), but the family-run operations have a much wider distribution with a significantly lower kurtosis and fatter tails.

Just my 2 cents.
Thanks for taking a look! Like most things, I'm sure there is a considerable amount of variation from garden to garden! I really find the perceptions and ideological camps that are created in tea culture to be absolutely fascinating, which is why I seek out articles like these ones. It seems that in the West, the consumer focus seems to be very heavily concentrated on single origin gushu/arbor teas (in pu'er). With Western health/quality concerns being as they have in our consumer mindset for quite some time now, It would be nice if there was more information available to people. I'm not here to say that the "trend" in the West is bad, either. There is amazing plantation tea out there, and producers that very much know what they are doing. I would just hope people try more than one or two teas of a category before deciding it isn't for them, or that all of it is inferior quality.
chofmann
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Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:52 am

Oolong_Nug wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:56 am
chofmann wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:37 am
Thanks Nug.

Just wanted to add that your translation of 'wild tea' seems accurate to me. Most tea that we've come across that is perceived as 'wild' is still owned by somebody in a 'garden', it just isn't cared for in the same way as 'not wild' tea (i.e. no pruning, fertilizer, pesticide, etc.).

Additionally, I will not pretend to know much about Pu'Er as it is not our focus area, but in other teas you do see a similar theme that 'plantation teas' are low quality. In the end, it really depends on how the plantation is being run. I've seen several large operations (not sure what the exact definition of a plantation is) that care for their teas and produce a better, safer, and cheaper product than other much smaller, family run operations. I still believe that smaller operations have the potential to produce better tea... they have a higher ceiling, if you will, but they also can be much much worse.

Mathematically, I would say that plantation teas and smaller, family run operations probably produce the same quality tea on average (same mean), but the family-run operations have a much wider distribution with a significantly lower kurtosis and fatter tails.

Just my 2 cents.
It seems that in the West, the consumer focus seems to be very heavily concentrated on single origin gushu/arbor teas (in pu'er)... I would just hope people try more than one or two teas of a category before deciding it isn't for them, or that all of it is inferior quality.
They've tried many teas in the category and loved them! Unfortunately, they don't realize it and they think it is all gushu/single tree tea. Don't need to tell you that though, haha.
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Bok
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Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:05 am

That was another topic I recently discussed with a vendor - even if you have a very old wild tree whatever, the tea can still be bad if the owner doesn’t know how to make tea or lacks talent and experience. On the other hand plantation tea in the hands of a skilful master can become very nice tea. Apart from the obvious health issues and pesticides.

The truth is in the cup, the rest are dreams and marketing!
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Oolong_Nug
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Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:22 pm

Bok wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:05 am
Apart from the obvious health issues and pesticides.
Sounds like you didn't read the article. Not to say you're not absolutely correct in some cases - however this is precisely the "common knowledge" about plantation teas in Yunnan that the author wishes to address. To what extent reform has been made may vary from place to place, but I would say it is dangerous and harmful to consumer perception to blanket all plantation tea as pesticide ridden and harmful to health.
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Bok
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Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:52 pm

Oolong_Nug wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:22 pm
Bok wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:05 am
Apart from the obvious health issues and pesticides.
Sounds like you didn't read the article. Not to say you're not absolutely correct in some cases - however this is precisely the "common knowledge" about plantation teas in Yunnan that the author wishes to address. To what extent reform has been made may vary from place to place, but I would say it is dangerous and harmful to consumer perception to blanket all plantation tea as pesticide ridden and harmful to health.
I was not referring to the article but that aside from health issues, what is important is that the person who I actually tending to the leaves and making the tea is very important no matter if plantation or small operation.
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Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:10 pm

Oolong_Nug wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:21 pm
Hello Everyone. I'll throw a blog that I am part of out there starting with a translated article I put up here. I like to find articles on topics I am interested in through Chinese blogs and forums, and translate them into English for others to see. I'm an advocate for promoting access to a larger circle of the tea world that some folks here may not have convenient access to. Our other currently active member, Alex, has some interesting posts on storage as well as other topics. Hopefully people may find something of interest. Thank you for your time!
I'm a little late to this thread, but it's interesting article. Thanks for posting!
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Oolong_Nug
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Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:16 am

I'm a little late to this thread, but it's interesting article. Thanks for posting!
Thank you for having a read!
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