Saturday, February 20, 2010

Zealong Tea

This very informative write-up  about New Zealand tea is from a news article (“OneNews" 14 april 2009').

"Zealong Tea is ready to export after having taken the bold move of developing the first plantation for an ancient variety of Chinese tea in New Zealand.

The 4,000-year-old Oolong tea is grown in the Waikato - the first time it has been grown outside of Asia.

"The Waikato region is good for agriculture because it's not that dry, the moisture is all right and so the plants grow here is quite good, and tea likes foggy [weather]," says Zealong Tea general manager Vincent Chen.

New Zealand's clean, green image also serves as a unique selling point.

"I think in Asia, in China or in Taiwan everyone says New Zealand is the last piece of clean land of the world," says Chen.

China consumes around $NZ13 billion of tea each year, and this amount is expected double within the next 10 years.

With prices ranging from $600 to $11,000 dollars a kilo, Oolong tea is not only seen as a sign of prestige, but it also plays an important role in Chinese business practice, serving as a conversation starter at business meetings.

Zealong Tea grows, processes and sells the tea from its Waikato base unlike China where each part of the process is usually carried out by different parties.

However, because of the specialised skills required in tea production, overseas talent has had to be brought in order to ensure quality control.

"We invited our tea maker to come from Taiwan who specialised in producing this tea to make sure that we are as close as the China market and the quality," says Zealong Tea marketing manager Gigi Crawford.

With over 10 years of fine tuning behind it, the company is finally ready to launch into the market.

"We are basically doing the packaging right now, and then we will be going to China to do a trade show," says

Crawford says the company is also talking to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise about launching the product in different parts of China."

My thoughts are that this new zealong tea will have its own unique taste due to different soil, climate conditions when compared to Taiwan or China oolongs. Yes, the overall characteristics of this oolong  tea will be similar, but it will have its own tea admirers and critiques.  I would love to have a sample of this tea. 

Above pix is that of the famous Taiwan  Ali-shan high mountain oolong tea.

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