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  The Earliest Chinese Tea Growing Districts  

The tea growing districts in China have show new development in recent decades. The Chinese people have been enthusiastic at tea farming particularly since the birth of the People's Republic of China. Tracts of suitable land have gradually been reclaimed for tea plantations such as those found in Anhui, Shandong and the Hainan Island. Even some regions in Tibet with more equable climatic conditions have unprecedented attempted tea farming. The latitudes of the tea growing districts in China 10°122°E. The regions embrace over one thousand counties in eighteen provinces which include Zhejing, Human, Anhui, Sichuan, Taiwan, Fujian, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangdong, Guangxi, Jiangsu, Shanxi, Shandong, Gansu an Tibet. The gross tea growing area in china is the biggest in the world.
  Tea plant were originally grown in the subtropical forests in South China, They flourish in acidic soil under warm, humid conditions. An average daily Tempe rapture over 10
is a prerequisite for the germination of tea trees combined with a relative humidity above 70%. The soil should be acidic or slightly acidic, with a PH value in the region of 4.56.5. Neutral, alkaline or strongly acidic soil conditions will inhibit the normal growth of tea plants.
  The yield and the quality of tea trees hinge on three factors: the natural habitat, the species and the processing method. The most decisive factor is Whether the physical conditions are suitable for tea plants or not. Soil will be alkaline in severe cold or in drought and it will block the growth of the plants. Good climate and soil are essential to the healthy growth of the plants. Under favorable circumstances, tea plants are stout and rich in nutrients. A bumper quality crop is hence guaranteed.
  The mean annual temperature in the regions south of Qinling Shan is between 1
5 and 22. The annual rainfall amounts to more than 1,000mm. Stretches of acidic and slightly acidic soil are widely distributed in the territories. The physical environment suits tea plants. The tea growing districts to the south of the lower and the middle courses of River Yangtze, in particular, witness the early germination of the tea plants because of high temperature and plentiful rainfall. The growing season there is long, about seven months per year, yet still shorter than that in South Fujian and Guangdong, which lasts for eight to nice months. The production of tea can be raised considerably if the plants are handled with care and expertise. The yield in many extensive farms is about two hundred to three hundred jin per mu while it soars up to six hundred to seven hundred jin per nu in intensive tea farming. The maximum output can reach over one thousand jin per mu. These figures illustrate amply that the tea plantations in China have great potential in boosting productivity.
  The landscape comprises deep river canyons to high mountains on the expansive tea growing areas in China, with streams and rivers crisscrossing this territory of considerable physical diversity. For instance, the Sichuan Basin is bordered by mountain ranges while fascinating precipices emerge in the hilly regions in the southeastern parts of the country. The Y
unnan Guizhou Plateau rises to over 1,000 m above the sea level. Taiwan province is located in between the East China Sea and South China sea. Because of the variation in structure, relief, climate and soil, the trees grown in different districts have their own characteristics, differing from one another in terms of height, quality, leaf size, leaf shape and leaf color. Besides, the leaves of some species are thoroughly clothed with fine hairs whereas the others are not. The plants also vary in the length of their growing cycles and in productivity. Some germinate earlier than others. Certain species contain more nutrients. There are more than five hundred species in China, forming a rich tea reserve full of variety. The availability of a spectrum of species in conducive to the popularization of seed selection and breeding. As a result, more new species can be nurtured to raise production and improve quality. Different types of processed tea with their unique flavour can also be reined by extracting the essences of the tea plants. For example, the large leaf variety of Yunnan is high yielding strain rich in polyphenols. It is most suitable for making crushed black tea which has strong refreshing fragrance and flavor. This processed tea earns double the foreign earnings than that of the smallleaf variety. Other notable tea species with specifies qualities are the precious' Ti Kuan Yin' species grown in Anxi; the Zhengan Narcissus tea made from the Narcissus variety in the Wuyi Mountain and the West Lake Longjing green tea etc.
  Plants of the same species may differ in quality if they are fostered under different conditions. A saying known among farmers goes like this, 'Quality tea is produced on highlands'. It states the influence of physical setting on the quality of tea, The tea growing districts in China produce a wide range of precious tea species; for example, Lu Shan Mist tea, Maofeng tea in Huangshan, Yellow Bud tea of Mountain Meng and Wuyi Oolong tea. These varieties are all grown on the wooded highlands at over 1,000m above the sea level. Tea plantation in the mountainous areas are favored by the luxuriant vegetation, thick fertile soil, drizzles, persistent mish, short duration of sunshine and radiating rays. The physical conditions facilitate the formation and accumulation of caffeine, amino acid aromatics. Therefore the bud leaves of the tea plants are fresh and tender as well as rich in nutrients. The tea leaves are processed to become quality green tea characterized by strong fragrance and delicate flavor. Famous spots producing quality tea are widely distributed throughout the Chinese tea growing districts, which are exclusively endowed with favorable physical conditions.
  Since the tea growing areas in China are to extensive, a proper delimitation of the regions is necessary coin for the efficient management of tea production in the individual districts. Scholars hold diverse views on the issue. In the past, the tea growing districts ceded with the administrative regions. It is proposed that the six administrative zones should be regrouped into three big tea growing zones: Huadong region, Zhongnan region and Xinan region. The Huadong region covers Shandong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian and Taiwan. The Zhongnan region includes Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Guangxi. The Xlnan region embraces Sichuzn, Yunnan, Guizhou and Tibet. Some suggest the total area under tea cultivation should instead be divided into eight big zones on the basis of the physical environment; viz ShanxiHenan region, the hilly country south of Hiver Yangtze, Southwest Sichuan, Southwest Yunnan and Taiwan. These two ways of marking the boundaries of the growing area still leave much to be desired. The former is advantageous to efficient administration, yet pays inadequate attention to adapting the production techniques to the specifics environment of the respective regions.
  The latter takes into account only the climate and the relief but ignores the distribution patterns of the tea species and the spacing of the tea plants. The weakness of the second approach might impede regionalized production. The consensus subsequent to a series of researches and discussing is that natural environment, plant species and the types tea products to be processed (e. g. green/black tea) should be considered in any demarcation of the growing regions. A scheme considering the above three factors can help the flexible application of production techniques to meet local needs, the launching of scientific researches, the popularization of quality species and the proper spacing of the tea plants, realizing the goal of regionalized and modernized production a
s well as better both the quality and productivity of aviators species. The proposal is in flavor of a boorfold division of the gross Chinese tea growing area.

  (1)Jiangnan Tea Growing Zone

  The district covers the tea growing districts in some provinces south of the lower and the middle courses of River Yangze; namely Zhejing, Hunnan, Jiangxi, Anhui and South Jiangsu. The physical condition in the zone are relatively favorable. The mean annual temperature varies between 15℃ and 18℃. The total yearly rainfall is 4001600mm and may reach 1890 in some places. Most parts of the region are suitable for growing tea plants, rendering the Jiangnan Tea Growing Zone the most productive among the four big zone. In case of the intrusion of the cold air currents from the north, temperature may plunge to below 0℃ in winter. Therefore the climate is not conducive to the growth of the largeleaf variety. The tea plants in the region are mostly medium leaf species from which green tea is made. The region produces various types of green tea; for example, the famous Pingshui gunpowder tea and Liuan Slice tea. In addition to  these are some other precious green teas such as West Lake Longjing tea. Lushan Mist tea and Nanjing Scented tea. Gongfu Black tea is produced in some areas within the zone. The Anhui Qimen black tea has established a worldwide reputation for a
long time. The black tea manufactured in Inching, Hubei and that produced in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, are unique in Their own ways. The brick tea made in Hunnan and Hubei is mainly consumed by the ethnic minorities in northwest China.

  The zone sweeps across the tea growing districts in Shanxi, South Gansu, Anhui, North Jiangsu and East Shandong, all of which are situated to the north of the lower and the middle reaches of River Yangtze. The region is 2℃3℃ cooler than the Jiangnan Tea Growing Zone. The annual temperature range is greater, too. The absolute temperature can decline to minimum of below10℃. The tea plantations in the zone are usually found in the lowlying Sheltered form winds and facing the east. The most Common Species region shecies are the largeleaf and the mediumleaf varieties resistant to both cold and drought. Green tea is the principal tea of the zone. Some brick tea is produced in Shanxi and South Gansu.

(2) Xinan Tea Growing Zone 

  The region stretches across Sichuan, Guizhou and several paces in Tibet. Tea plants were frost grown in the Sichuan Basin and the YunnanGuizhou Plateau, the so called' native places of tea'. The climate in the two places in equable: it is higher severely cold in winter nor unbearably hot in summer. There is a rich reserve of wild tea species. The mean annual temperature stands between 15℃ and 19℃. The total annual rainfall is within the range of 1,0001,700mm, Climatic conditions vary a great deal because of the intricate physical relief. The warmer climate in southeast Sichuan and southwest Yunnan are suitabld for the growth of the Yunnan largeleaf plants. The choicest Yunnan black tea and Sichuan black tea have long been wellreceived in overseas markets. The plants in the cooler regions of the zone are largely of the mediumleaf variety suitable for making tea. Some remarkable green tea produced there are the Mengding tea and Emei tea fronm West Sichuan and some varieties from Guizhou. The districts in the southwest and those neighbouing the QinghaiTibet Plateau are the chief breeding grounds of brick tea intended for consumption in the border areas. Besides, the renowned Yunnan Puerh tea is selling well.

3) Lingnan Tea Growing Zone.

  The zone embraces four provinces: Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and Teiwan. A warm, wet climate, long summer and short winter are characteristic of the region. The mean annual temperature varies between 18
and 22. The average temperature stands above 10 throughout the year. The region has most plentiful is about 1,500mm average and the maximum can reach 2,500mm. The growing seasons are relatively long lasting for eight to nine months has been put in the selection and breeding of tea species. The zone is abundant in a wide range of quality tea plants. It is the principal producing area of choice tea. Fujian Oolong tea has been wellreputed in international markets. The supply of the celebrated "Ti Kuan Yin'; in particular, is unable to meet the demand. Wuyi Oolong tea, Guangdong phoenix Narcissus tea and Taiwan Oolong tea are the most remarkable of all Oolong tea. The favourable physical environment in most tea growing areas is Guangdong and Guangxi is suitable for cultivating the Yunnan largeleaf variety. Abundant in largeleaf species, the Hainan Island has potential in processing crushed black tea. In recent years, Yingde black tea and Hainan black tea have been exported overseas. They are comparble to the  products from India and Sri Lanka and may well surpass then in quality.

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