March 23, 2019
In the morning we traveled towards Hangzhou and had lunch at a delish restaurant that was right next to the Houtu tea factory, museum, and tasting room. We did a tour of the factory and it was very nice to see. The head of the Houtu factories was nice enough to transport, feed, and lodge us for a night in Hangzhou. There were about two dozen people and we were able to see West Lake.
The first four pictures are on the way to the restaurant. The next three are from the restaurant. The features picture is of Kyle taking a picture of our appetizers. We had two rooms for our group. You can see a bit of our second room in the featured picture.
I have a few pictures of the Houtu Tea Factory, Museum, and Tasting Room which I will show next week and the week after some of my photos of West Lake. West Lake really deserves two posts for all the lovely pictures.
March 22, 2019
We were busy in the meetings all day. We were going to go to another tea farm, but it got canceled so we were deciding if we should go to Shanghai. We were about to go there, but the owner of the Houtu graciously decided to host about 2 dozen people and to see another of his tea farm and factory. He also gave us enough time to see part of West Lake. Not too many pictures, but did have fun that evening. The Thai delegation was great at doing the reggaeton.
March 21, 2019
Well, this was a busy day. I mentioned the morning last week and this week I will do the afternoon and evening. We went to the 2019 Zhejiang Longjing Tea Stir Fixation Competition. It was really nice to see. We were lucky because some of us were able to try pan-firing (fixating) the dragonwell or Longjing green tea. I have tons of videos from the event and even was able to purchase some high-grade Longjing at the Festival. We were also able to get behind the ropes too. We were also able to really get to see a tea farm. This was the most extensive of walking and being with the tea plants. I enjoyed it immensely. The welcome dinner was this night. I did not take as many dinner photos, I guess I was too busy enjoying myself. Also please click on the links to shorter videos I took. Most are under a minute long,
The first photo is someone in the competition. The second and third photo are pictures of the head of the English tea association. The fourth photo is finished longjing. The fifth photo is fresh tea before it becomes longjing. The sixth photo is comparing the fresh with the finished product. The rest are pictures of our visit to the tea farm.
March 21, 2019
After eating breakfast we took shuttles to Houtu Tea Factory in Shengzhou. They showed us the factory, gave us a talk, set up a mid-day snack, and a tour of there tea museum. It was a pretty rainy morning, so it was nice that we were inside for it. This is a place that produces gunpowder green tea. Not really in a writing mood today, but it was a lovely day. The afternoon will be talked about next week. Thank you for reading my blog and my trip to China.
March 20, 2019
The last day in Yibin was filled with exploring the place we had the 1st Confederation of International Tea Smallholders (CITS) Meeting. The place had a greenhouse and tea gardens. We took a tour and were entertained until the meeting. The meeting was informative because we were shaping the documents and the tone of the CITS. Afterward, we had lunch and went to the airport to get on Tibetan Air to Hangzhou.
Was a little sad because we had to say goodbye to some really nice people who were not going to the First International Green Tea Conference in Shengzhou with us. Once we got to Hangzhou we took a bus to Shengzhou where our hotel was. When we arrived we went to our rooms and went to a dining hall to eat a late meal.
The last two photos are the inside of Yibin Airport.
March 19, 2019
The Raabs and I did go to the Specialty Tea Exhibit again on the morning of March 19, 2019. We were able to see the whole exhibition, the day before we were only there for about a half hour to hour. When you have about eight people it is harder to a quick look at all the exhibitors. We just really went to one booth and only looked at 2 -3 booths. The Raabs and I were able to see all of the booths and taste many, many teas. Later on, we had to get back for the business side of our trip. Learning about tea trends across the world from the heads of the tea industry for each country. It was interesting hearing from the supply side and the demand side. Also, it depends on the wealth of the country what they were looking for too.
One thing I can definitely say is we did not have to worry about having enough food or tea. The dinners pictures below combined, plus add twice as much food. This does not include meals between meals and for the tea as much hot water and tea as you could drink. This was the going away dinner, but all dinners had at least double the amount of food pictured in both photos for 10 people per table. They had to stack the dishes on top of dishes because there was no room on the tables.
The afternoon and evening of March 18, 2019.
After lunch, we were shuttled to Mingwei Tea Factory to witness the Shouting Ceremony and visit Mingwei Tea Fields, Museum and Tea Factory. You can watch the videos, but understand I am definitely not a professional videographer and these are just snippets of the ceremony. They closed the roads so our motorcade of shuttles could drive without stopping. We had so many pictures taken of us, interviews for tv & newspapers, and they even offered to peel oranges for us. After the ceremony, we were shuttled to the Mingwei Tea factory and Museum.
When we got back we had a huge dinner. There was a vegetarian table where I was sitting with a few people from Nepal, Sri Lanka, and a lady from Germany about 7 people in total. It was nice because whenever there was a vegetarian table Tuba the lady from Germany and I would look for each other to make sure we were sitting at the correct table.
Tea Tasting Ceremony at the Yangtze River Park
After a good night’s rest on March 17, 2019, woke up and ate a lovely breakfast. After breakfast, we were shuttled to a Tea Tasting Ceremony at the Yangtze River Park in Yibin near the site where two rivers form the Yangtze River.
It was a little drizzly so we got ponchos, but I did not wear one. Since I was one of the VIP’s we got nice close seating to the festivities. There were dance numbers, different stories and myths, water transported by a drone to tea tasting ceremony, and a grand spectacle.
Afterward, I was given a formal invite to speak with tea gardens to sell their tea from China and abroad. This is where I met some Nepali people (fellow vegetarians so I followed them through the buffet) they had a person tell them what was vegetarian and what was not.
Walking to Yangtze River Park for the Tea Tasting Ceremony.
Tasting some tea from the local vendors before the ceremony
There also were a few dance numbers. Below is a picture of the drone carrying water from the Yangtze River to be used in the tea ceremony shown in the second to last picture. The last picture is me and my tea. It was refilled with water several times.