Camellia for Foliage, Flowers, Fruit & Tea
Japan is famous for its own teas and produces some of the most expensive teas from the most expensively paid labour force. Extra-fresh tea is needed for processing which should take place within 3 hours of picking, as colour is of key importance. Rumours are circulating suggesting that C.japonica is being analysed for tea production using new processing techniques, but most tea analysts agree it is an unlikely scenario.
Oil production is decreasing due to economics.
Japanese supermarkets stock hundreds of different varieties of ready-to-drink cartons/bottles which are drunk cold. There are vending machines on every street corner selling ready-to-drink teas both hot and cold.
It is perhaps appropriate here to quote the labour cost per hour for tea operatives in various countries:
Country Labour Cost £/hour Australia 6.00 China 0.30 India 0.50 Japan 7.25 Malaysia 0.30 UK 6.8 USA 5.8 Vietnam 0.40
By and large I learnt surprisingly little during my visit to Japan. This was because their domestic market was almost entirely for sencha tea which has a fishy taste which would not be acceptable to the UK market.
7) China and Taiwan
Tea has been cultivated in China for thousands of years. Until the 1880s China dominated the global tea trade and huge quantities of tea are still produced in many provinces in the country.
It is the least regulated of the world's markets. The tea in China is hand picked. The varieties do not seem to have such tight timing at the processing stage as those of the Japanese. Smaller quantities can be processed, whereas the Japanese process requires volume for efficiency.