On a Trip to Rediscover His Heritage, Roy Finds Some Tea Plants Doing the Same

Days and hours seem to flash by at breakneck speed. I am not even sure how long I have been here in China! Every day seems to end with a big meal and I waddle back to my hotel room, check email, and get some work done online. Then I wake up early the next morning and start the whole cycle again.

A few days ago I went to Hong Kong. In addition to taking a break, because I was born there I can apply for a Hong Kong resident's ID card, which allows me to move in and out of China without a visa. The application process was fast and painless. Then I met up with my friend Joe Kong and we decided to visit our parents’ home towns, Kaiping and Tai Shan.

Tai Shan actually has a reputation for tea unknown to most of the Western world, a "miracle" tea called bai yun cha that is said to reduce blood sugar levels. Joe swears by it, claiming his sugar level dropped some 20 points after drinking the tea. I’m not one who worries too much about the health effects of tea, although it is undisputed that tea offers many health benefits. However, the fact that wild tea abounds in Tai Shan does pique my interest, so we made the five-hour bus journey.

Several big meals later, after meeting with Joe's government official friends, we found Mr. Wang, who acquired rights to rehabilitate the Gu Duo Shan area with wild grown C. sinensis. I found it fascinating and arranged to accompany him on a trip to his mountain hideaway. Mr. Wang (pictured above with me) has been planting seedlings all over the mountaintop, where wild tea used to grow. The original wild tea trees were pretty much decimated by people who chopped them up and brought them home for their medicinal properties. Mr. Wang also produces tea from wild tea orchards, which he farms organically. He has been doing this for over five years. Since he is a rich man and doesn't need the money, it’s a perfect project for him.

Although I don't agree with some of his opinions on tea (such as, all puerh is fake), I do admire his actions. We exchanged addresses and agreed to meet up again next time I visit. I didn't buy any tea from him due to his small quantity. Secretly, I feel that he needs to work on the production techniques a bit, but I wouldn't dare to express this to a proud tea farmer like Mr. Wang.