Tea And Pesticide - Pre-Industrial Farming Without Insecticide?

by Chris

A quick question and tea and pesticide. I was curious to know, how farmers protected their tea crop from insects in the days before chemical insecticide? Any ideas?


Chris, this is a big question that can fill an entire book. Let's proceed by stages.

I can't speak for all the tea gardens, but the best tea plantations in China or other parts of the world would use only a small amount of pesticides, or none at all, especially in season.

For HQ's Dragon Well tea, for example, the highest grade is harvested at the first dawn of spring, so not even the insects have started to multiply yet.

These leaves are very high in caffeine content, which protects them from insects. In fact, compared to other crops, tea plants are much more resistant to insects.

Small amount of insects can be tolerated. Hu regularly peddles some wild cultivated Taiping Houkui tea (Monkey Chief) grown from his mountain, which does not use any insectide at all.

Same for all those wild tea plants that have been growing all these year ...

Insects only become a problem in low quality, high yield tea farms, typically those situated at lower altitudes.

i.e. most of the teas consumed in the world these days.

For green tea, especially, the best are only harvested once a year. That is the standard of HQ's and Hu's tea. This is the reason why these low yield tea gardens in centuries-old villages have the highest quality green tea in the world. Besides China, and probably Japan, I am not aware if this is practiced anywhere else in the world.

More to add in the next post...

Tea and Pesticide

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