Ancient tea variety of Guangxi province finds new markets

A village in Wuzhuo Guangxi Province named "Liubao" is famous for red tea with a history of 1500 years. 

Its popularity exceeded its peak from the Ming Dynasty ( 1368-1644) and entered the modern era.

A picture from China

During most of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Liubao tea is offered as tributes to Emperor Jiaqing as representing the best in the region.

In the latter part of the 19th century, when Chinese migrants went to Southeast Asia, they used the tea as herbal medicine to fight the hot, humid weather. It has gained special popularity among Chinese miners.

In 2019, Wuzhou produced more than 17,000 metric tons of Liubao tea, valued at over 2.55 billion yuan ($363.5 million). It is also a cornerstone industry for developing the economies of poor regions.

For instance, in Shanping village, a Yao ethnic group, veteran tea grower Zhu Xuelan helps her neighbors develop their planting techniques and promote their black tea to a wider market.  The average annual income per capita is now nearly 10,000 yuan. Zhu is not only a veteran tea cultivator but also a deputy to the National People's Congress.

Wei Jiequn and her daughter Shi Rufei an ancestor of intangible cultural heritage, stick to traditional handmade techniques when processing tea in nearby Tangping village, including drying, baking and fermenting the leaves.

They operate a workshop in the region in which, by witnessing the production process, tourists know about the culture of Liubao tea. Growing e-commerce is helping to open the old tea to new drinkers.

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