The Story of Tea Farmers of Yunnan 云南茶农的故事

美国作家LISA See是《纽约时报》的《雪花花》和《秘密迷》等畅销书的畅销书。她的小说《蜂鸟巷的茶姑娘》(The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane)于2017年出版后登上了报纸的畅销书榜首。阅读本书后,超过1500名读者在亚马逊和Goodreads上发表了评论。


它讲述了一个从1980年代开始在云南省种植普洱茶的茶农的故事。在一个偏僻的山区村庄,李艳和她的家人一年四季的生活就是以种茶农为业。对于阿卡族人来说,生活的规律和礼仪都是祖传从不更改的。


独立好学的李艳成为村里唯一会说普通话的人。随着中国改革开放的到来,来自香港的商人设法到达云南山区,在那里他们发现了传统的普洱茶。李艳与村民抓住了这个机会,因此她就成为茶叶行业的女企业家。


为了撰写这部史诗小说,Lisa See 采访了与中国从事茶叶贸易的美国商人,并多次访问了云南,在那里她对普洱茶及其贸易有了第一手的资料。因此,这本书被视为云南普洱茶农的传记。


故事讲述了中国茶产业发展最重要的30多年时期。


中国的农村土地承包始于1978年。从那时起,农民就根据各自家庭的户口数获得了分配给他们的土地的管理权。但是,李艳故乡的贫瘠土地不适合种植其他农作物,并且由于交通不便和地理条件的限制,种植茶是一项费力费钱的工作,很少有人会选择。与该国其他地区发生的迅速变化相反,李艳村在1980年代末甚至没有电,穷人没有足够的衣食。


在1990年代,新建的民营茶叶企业如雨后春笋般出现,外国投资者也被允许进入茶叶市场。来自香港和台湾的商人和茶叶评级者出现在茶叶生产地区。来自云南古树的普洱茶因其稀缺性和独特性而成为人们热销的消费品。每年,在收获季节,茶叶商人都会留在山区,监督从采摘和加工茶叶到包装并运送到世界各地的整个过程。因此,农民的收入随同他们的生活水平的提高而增加。


但是,暴涨的价格诱使经销商囤积茶叶,等待更高的价格。普洱茶因此成为分销商和消费者争相购买的稀有资源。李艳的公司忽视了对产品质量的监督,不久就有大量有缺陷的茶叶流入市场。假普洱茶被媒体曝光,导致茶叶价格暴跌。


村民再次陷入贫困。李艳重申了其祖先对阿卡族人民的守则,并要求他们严格遵守诚实信用,保护天堂的礼物-历史悠久的普洱茶树。茶农被禁止使用农药,他们必须自己喝一杯新生产的茶,以确保茶达到质量标准。这样,当地的普洱茶业得到了保存和复兴。


这是一个很有里的,关于普洱茶的故事。该书描绘了一个难忘的地方及其人民的画像,当地传统文化与外部全球化世界之间的碰撞与交流,稀有的中国茶被广泛传播,因此唤醒了妇女的独立意识和自我发展,以及跨越距离和大陆的母女般的纽带。



来源:China Today


讨论问题:

  1. 您觉得这篇文章那些地方让您感兴趣?

  2. 您对普洱茶知道多少?您以前尝过普洱茶吗?您最喜欢的是什么茶,哪里出产的?

  3. 您喜欢读书吗?您喜欢读什么样的书?

  4. 请问您会推荐哪一本书、哪一位作家?为什么推荐这些呢?




www.salt-and-light.org/Audio/TeaFarmers.mp3

LISA See, an American writer, is the New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and many other popular books. Her novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, topped the newspaper’s list of bestsellers after its publication in 2017. More than 1,500 readers have written their reviews on Amazon and Goodreads after reading the book.

It tells a story of tea farmers who plant Pu’er tea in Yunnan Province starting in the 1980s. In a remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family aligned their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, entrenched in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations. 

Struggling alone, Li-yan became the only person who can speak Mandarin Chinese in the village. As China’s reform and opening-up rolled out, businessmen from Hong Kong managed to reach the mountainous area of Yunnan where they discovered the traditional Pu’er tea. Li-yan seized the opportunity with the villagers and became a female entrepreneur in the tea business.

To write the epic novel, Lisa See interviewed businessmen in the U.S. who engaged in tea trade with China and paid several visits to Yunnan where she got first-hand knowledge about Pu’er tea and its trade. This is the reason the book has been seen as a biography for Pu’er tea farmers in Yunnan.

The story spans over 30 plus years, the most important period of time for the development of the Chinese tea industry.

China’s rural land contracting started in 1978. Farmers have since then acquired the management rights of the land assigned to them according to the head count of their respective households. However, the barren land of Li-yan’s hometown for tea plantation is not suitable to grow other crops, and because of the inconvenient transportation and geographical condition, planting tea was a laborious and poorly paid job that few people would choose. In contrast with the rapid changes that happened in other parts of the country, Li-yan’s village didn’t even have access to electricity in the late 1980s and the poor had no adequate food and clothing.

In the 1990s, newly-built private tea enterprises mushroomed everywhere and foreign investors were allowed to enter the tea market. Businessmen and tea raters from Hong Kong and Taiwan appeared in the tea production areas. The Pu’er tea from ancient big trees in Yunnan, because of its scarcity and uniqueness, became a hotly sought-after consumer goods. Every year, during the harvest season, tea businessmen would stay in the mountainous area to oversee the whole process from picking and processing tea leaves to packing and delivering them to many places around the world. Farmer’s income thereby increased along with their living standards.

However, the skyrocketing prices enticed dealers into stockpiling tea and waiting for a much higher price. Pu’er tea thus became a rare resource that distributors and consumers all scrambled for. Li-yan’s company overlooked the supervision of product quality and soon a large number of defective tea leaves flowed into the market. The fake tea was exposed by the media which consequently led to a plummet in tea leaf prices.

Again, villagers fell into poverty. Li-yan reiterated the code of her ancestors to the Akha people and asked them to strictly abide by the good faith, protecting the Heaven’s gift – the time-honored tea trees of Pu’er. Tea farmers were forbidden to use pesticides and they must ensure that the tea met the quality standard by drinking a cup of the newly produced tea themselves. The local Pu’er tea industry was thus saved and revived.

It is a powerful story about Pu’er tea. The book paints an unforgettable portrait of an obscure place and its people, the collision and exchange between the local traditional culture and the outside globalized world, the wide reach of a rare Chinese tea, awakening of women’s independence consciousness and self-development, and the bond between mother and daughter across distance and continents.

Source:  China Today


Discussion questions:

  1. What did you find interesting about today's article?

  2. What do you know about Pu'er tea?  Have you tried Pu'er tea before? What is your favorite tea and where does it come from?

  3. Do you read for fun?  What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

  4. What is a book or a writer that you would recommend others to read?  Why do you recommend this book or writer?