Growing Your Own


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Growing Your Own

Postby jayinhk » Dec 16th, '13, 06:45

Has anyone here experimented with growing tea and processing it themselves? How did it turn out?
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby Genushumanusali... » Dec 16th, '13, 08:52

My parents have a tea plant but I moved away from their city before the spring so didn't get a chance to make any. I think the plant really needs to be quite mature to make tea? The one I had access to was 30 odd years old. If I'm visiting my family at an appropriate time of year I'll try my hand at tea making. I wouldn't expect much in terms of quality but think it could be a really fun activity.
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby Poohblah » Dec 16th, '13, 10:45

Hi Jay,

I apologize for not being able to find any example threads at the moment, but this topic surfaces periodically on this forum. Usually the consensus about growing tea trees for tea seems to be that it isn't worth it because:
  • The tea trees require 5+ years of maturation before the leaves and buds can be harvested for tea
  • Creating processed, ready-to-drink, drinkable tea from the raw leaves takes a lot of experience and effort
  • It takes quite a bit of raw leaf to make a worthwhile quantity of dry tea leaf
That said, there are a few people who have managed to grow/harvest/process their own. Hopefully they will surface to share their advice/experience :)
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby jayinhk » Dec 16th, '13, 11:05

Thanks guys, I know where there are illegally-planted tea bushes here in Hong Kong and the local villagers harvest and drink it (green). Might be worth attempting to grow my own organic green tea just for the heck of it. :) It also may be worthwhile drinking younger leaves to see how they differ in taste.
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby Drax » Dec 16th, '13, 12:42

Nico (ChinesePottery) posted a number of pictures of making his own tea from wild growing tea trees in China while he and he wife lived there. You can find the thread right here. I got to try some of it, and it wasn't too bad!
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby MEversbergII » Dec 16th, '13, 15:19

Jay, in what way are they illegally planted?

I've considered planting tea trees / bushes at my house, but my intention is mostly symbolic and decorative, not to produce anything serious. Years down the line maybe I'll mess with it, but I'm mostly after some greenery.

M.
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby Poohblah » Dec 16th, '13, 16:14

Drax, that's one of the threads I was looking for! Thanks for pulling it up :)
jayinhk wrote:... the local villagers ...
I find it hard to believe that there is anything near HK, Macau, Guangzhou, or Shenzhen that could be called a "village"... :P
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Growing Your Own

Postby mcrdotcom » Dec 16th, '13, 19:19

Reading that post makes me ridiculously jealous! That's it, I'm moving to yixing and making tea for the rest of my life! XD
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby jayinhk » Dec 17th, '13, 02:47

Some fun facts about Hong Kong for you guys--around 40% of HK is govt. protected land. Even plucking a leaf on that land is a violation of the law, but people go ahead and plant stuff anyway since there is a very small team responsible for enforcement in the country parks. There are even dead spots that are outside the reach of our cell phone towers, which is pretty crazy since we have pretty much perfect coverage everywhere in urban HK. My cell phone even works in the elevator!

The biodiversity in HK's forests would absolutely blow you away, even the forests that were heavily bombed by the Japanese in WWII.

We're at the same latitude as Jamaica, so the jungle here is absolutely thriving with life. We had tigers here up until the 1940s, when the last one was shot dead. We still have native civets, barking deer, king cobras, Chinese cobras, kraits and probably over a thousand species that are as of yet unknown and unclassified.

This species, thought to be extinct, was rediscovered in the 2000s. The frogs are as small as your thumbnail when fully grown!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romer's_tree_frog

The cultivated (and wild, native) tea plants found in HK are often in areas that aren't really legal to plant on. Our indigenous sinensis varietal that is only found here and in Guangxi.

http://www.hkherbarium.net/Herbarium/PD ... 204_LR.pdf

I believe Marshal's tried the wild stuff and said it wasn't much to write home about, but I have to give it a try myself. :) I may have to take a cutting too...

As for villages, you'd be amazed. There are quite a few villages in HK, some of which are entirely closed off to outsiders with fences and guard dogs. Even some of the larger villages have no vehicular access whatsoever--you have to walk in. Many are controlled by the local villagers who set up a gang of sorts, and if you're foreign and want to park your car you need to pay protection money or you'll find some (not-so) mysterious damage to your vehicle. Even the police don't go in and bother people in certain villages unless there's a murder or something (it's like being on a native American reservation).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vi ... _Hong_Kong

There are abandoned villages in a few places too...people have simply boarded up their homes and moved on.

http://hongwrong.com/kuk-po-abandoned-village/

Certain indigenous families of HK and their descendants have land rights--they are given plots of land with which they can build on (although due to laws they can only build a maximum of a three-story, 2100 sq ft home). Many of the descendants now build homes to rent to gweilo (foreign devils, aka white people) and the descendants then pocket the rent to fund their cushy lives, often overseas!

Between Christmas and New Year's I'm going to go on a tea hunt out in the mountains of Lantau with my mountain bike. :)
Last edited by jayinhk on Dec 17th, '13, 03:22, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby Poohblah » Dec 17th, '13, 03:02

Oh wow. Thanks for the very informative post, Jay!! :mrgreen:
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby jayinhk » Dec 17th, '13, 03:18

No problem! When I was a kid, some of these villages were so old school and remote you couldn't even take pictures of the residents or they'd freak out at your devil machine! :evil:

Sadly the government has seized much of the old village land and continues to do so today...when people just want to live their lives. Typical HK. Some of the most beautiful, wild trails have been concreted over and 'sanitized.' Crying shame...
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby chrl42 » Dec 17th, '13, 03:24

Can the Kowloon Walled City (九龍城寨) be counted as a village?

Love that place (next destination) and Kong-fu Hustle :mrgreen:
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby jayinhk » Dec 17th, '13, 03:30

The Kowloon Walled City was completely destroyed--there's a nice park where it used to stand now. Again, HK govt sanitization...

http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/parks/kwcp/en/index.php

http://www.chinatourguide.com/hongkong/ ... _park.html

It's a beautiful park, and I have worked out and practiced my pencak silat there on a few occasions.

Kowloon City is where most people go for Thai food and Thai cooking supplies now. lol. There's a good tea store there and lots of dining options. I used to work right by it, but seldom explored it when I worked there since I had so much going on.
Last edited by jayinhk on Dec 17th, '13, 03:35, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby chrl42 » Dec 17th, '13, 03:30

mcrdotcom wrote:Reading that post makes me ridiculously jealous! That's it, I'm moving to yixing and making tea for the rest of my life! XD

Yixing was actually China's greatest tea-producing place before teapot. During Tang-Song, tribute teas came from Yixing, Jianzhou, Huzhou and mt. Wuyi. Longjing's Hangzhou only got its fame after Qing dynasty..

No doubt they have wonderful teas, Yang Xian Xue Ya is still very famous
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Re: Growing Your Own

Postby chrl42 » Dec 17th, '13, 03:32

jayinhk wrote:The Kowloon Walled City was completely destroyed--there's a nice park where it used to stand now. Again, HK govt sanitization...

Kowloon City is where most people go for Thai food and Thai cooking supplies now. lol. There's a good tea store there and lots of dining options. I used to work right by it, but seldom explored it when I worked there since I had so much going on.

Ah, it's destroyed :(

It could have made for land-mark! Thanks for informing :)
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