ma hou pao – 马后炮
A friend told me today of some news from Lao Ban Zhang and He Kai: “Ban Zhang and Hekai have decided not to pick summer tea.” It seems a little disingenuous since we’re already into the autumn tea season, but it’s a step in the right direction, as long as they haven’t changed their minds by next year. Or is it?
The issue of over-picking tea, particularly on old tea trees is important, and not that straightforward. There are some seemingly common misunderstandings about exactly what ‘over-picking’ implies.
Not picking summer tea, the least sought after/cheapest harvest of the year, is not going to suddenly make everything right if other issues aren’t addressed. Ban Zhang autumn gu shu is on the market at 1,500 yuan/kilo, so the cynic might say they can afford not to pick summer tea, but whilst it would have given trees a chance to recover a little had it happened, it won’t necessarily improve next spring’s harvest.
Over the next few posts, I hope to explore this issue further and try to get to a deeper understanding of what the issues are, and how they would best be resolved.
* ma hou pao, is an expression that translates as something like ‘Firing the artillery after the horses have charged.’ Rather like ‘shutting the door after the horse has bolted’.