Mechanization, specialization, homogenization (MarshalN on tea production in Taiwan then and now)

At the risk of being a bit curt, this is only one part of a very large tea industry in Taiwan in which there are many different ways of thinking about production. Naturally if you go to flat land places like Mingjian and Zhushan where the majority of tea is made for mass production, mixing with higher grades of tea, and even export, then you are likely to find this type of multi farm production, but I have met many, many small land holders in Taiwan who grow, harvest, and make their tea by themsleves with the help of their family.
It seems whenever I read Mrs. In's blog that she is complaining about this and that being not traditional, and at the same time, only highlighting small parts of the tea community in Taiwan without looking at parts which are inconvenient to her argument. It strikes me as somewhat of a "let me tell you kids, things ain't as good as they used to be."

On the other hand, before machine harvesting in Mingjian (the main place that uses combine style machines), about 30-50% of the tea was left fallow because time constraints did not allow for the tea to all be picked with the small number of hands available at the time.
There is no evidence that hand or foot rolled tea is any better than tea made with machines, and certainly machine made tea is much more hygenic than tea rolled by foot! The OP says that tea in Taiwan is becoming homogenous, but this will only be true if you are trying to buy homogenous tea. If you take Fushou shan as a point in case, tea grown on different sides of the mountain taste dramatically different from one another. I don't think the excessive harping on certain aspects of the business is going to help tea in Taiwan move forward. on the other hand, if one takes the approach that they want to only deal with farmers who make special products, use either traditional or innovative methods of production, and so on, then you are more likely to be happy with your tea experience.

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