Snow in Hangzhou - disastrous at best
In happy anticipation of our first trip to China this spring, we phoned Ms Lee in Hangzhou to let her know our date of arrival, April 3rd. "If you're looking for green tea fields" she said " you won't find them here, here, they're all black. It snowed and the trees are dead." This was shocking and unexpected news. Apparently, there was a devastating snow storm just a couple of days ago, and Xinhua news says there was approximately 10 cm of snow in Hangzhou. Ms Lee said At LEAST 30% of the Dragonwell tea harvest is completely lost, if not 50%. Some estimates say 4/5ths of (specifically) Qing Ming Dragonwell tea will be lost.
Snow is horribly damaging to tea plants. When the plant experiences freezing temperatures, it can literally kill the plant overnight. Leaves shrivel and turn black and the plant dies at the root. When that happens, it means the loss of up to 35 years of work a farmer has put into cultivating their farm. When a tea plant dies, it must be replaced and it can take 3 - 5 years before the harvest can resume.
This is the first we have heard of this terrible news. We'll update you on the status of the tea harvest as we learn more, and of course our trip to Hangzhou is still going forward as planned. Stay tuned!