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Home 台美人台加人 台灣烏龍不是茶 茶葉大使誓言重振茶產業(Tea ‘ambassador’ on a mission to revitalize Taiwan’s tea sector) ◎中央社(CNA)...

台灣烏龍不是茶 茶葉大使誓言重振茶產業(Tea ‘ambassador’ on a mission to revitalize Taiwan’s tea sector) ◎中央社(CNA) 2017-11-12  

台灣烏龍不是茶 茶葉大使誓言重振茶產業

2017/11/12

台灣茶葉大使許正龍(右)與太太潘掬慧(左)在美國經營茶葉生意,關心台灣茶葉產業的發展,每年舉辦「台灣烏龍茶學習之旅」,帶國際專業茶葉人士來台認識烏龍茶。(潘掬慧提供)中央社記者石秀娟傳真 106年11月12日

台灣茶葉大使許正龍(右)與太太潘掬慧(左)在美國經營茶葉生意,關心台灣茶葉產業的發展,每年舉辦「台灣烏龍茶學習之旅」,帶國際專業茶葉人士來台認識烏龍茶。(潘掬慧提供)中央社記者石秀娟傳真 106年11月12日

(中央社記者石秀娟台北12日電)台灣曾是茶葉大國,如今進口量比產量高一倍,茶園比巔峰期少一半,茶產業在台灣失去舞台,「台灣茶葉大使」許正龍誓言從國際上找回來。

經過多年穩定國內供應鏈、打響國際知名度的努力後,他已準備與茶農合作進攻全球商業用茶市場,重振茶產業。

今年64歲的許正龍,24歲就到美國從事茶葉貿易,目前與太太潘掬慧在洛杉磯經營JT & Tea。由他們創辦、供國際茶葉專業人士參加的「台灣烏龍茶學習之旅」(Taiwan Oolong Study Tour, 簡稱TOST),至今年已舉辦十屆,課程在10月26日結束。許正龍夫婦10月30日接受中央社專訪,暢談他們的理念。



台灣烏龍茶學習之旅學員拜訪石碇的白青長茶作坊,接待學員的茶農及製茶廠都有獲得ISO22000安全規範認證。(潘掬慧提供)中央社記者石秀娟傳真 106年11月12日

台灣烏龍茶學習之旅學員拜訪石碇的白青長茶作坊,接待學員的茶農及製茶廠都有獲得ISO22000安全規範認證。(潘掬慧提供)中央社記者石秀娟傳真 106年11月12日

出身新竹關西製茶世家,形容自己是「喝茶長大的」許正龍說,台灣的茶產業在1970、1980年代起開始衰退,「對我的衝擊很大」。

他回憶,當時茶藝館被波霸奶茶店取代,大街小巷隨處可見的泡茶文化、家家戶戶和公司行號都有茶具的日常現象「被連根拔起」,只剩茶席表演,茶席藝術家要餵飽自己容易,「但是只有保留住茶產業才能養家活口」。

台灣製茶公會2007年任命許正龍為「台灣茶葉大使」,這個無給的榮譽職帶給他無比的責任。他說,當時他回台灣,行政院農業委員會和台灣製茶公會找他討論「茶產業到底還要不要保存的問題」,開啟他為茶產業找出路的思考。

許正龍表示,當時有人主張台灣內需的茶葉靠進口就夠,比起其他國家,台灣已經失去種茶的「比較利益」,「還種茶做什麼?」,連農委會、製茶公會對此都沒有定案。他說:「當時我和我太太就一直想,我們能做些什麼?」

許正龍經常受邀到各地演講或教學,他時常要學員想想「台灣烏龍不是茶」的道理。他說,這句話的靈感來自「法國紅酒不是酒」,一方面除了表示台灣烏龍無可取代的特殊性,也希望大家能重新看待茶產業。

許正龍指出,茶產業不只是茶產業,它的發展與台灣歷史緊密連結,又孕育豐富人文風俗,它是文化產業;就像日本將抹茶運用於烘焙、美容,發展茶的副產品是生技產業;茶關係全民喝的安全,是食安產業;過去工業化、都市化造成茶園遭濫墾、濫建,從還原耕地、永續環境的角度來看,它也是生態、景觀產業。

記者問到政府官員近年來對茶產業的看法是否改變?許正龍未正面回答,以「高手在民間」帶過。他說,希望民間先做出成績,再因勢利導。

為推動台灣茶葉進軍國際,許正龍有兩個策略:在國際市場創造出對台灣烏龍茶的需求,同時也要建立台灣能以合理價格,提供品質穩定,能滿足市場需求量的供應鏈。而他的目標只有一個:希望每間製茶、賣茶公司的目錄、菜單都有台灣烏龍茶,「量少沒關係,但一定要有這個特殊品項」。

台灣烏龍茶學習之旅學員在台灣期間,參觀各種烏龍茶的主要產地,認識烏龍茶的自然環境和種植技術。(潘掬慧提供)中央社記者石秀娟傳真 106年11月12日

台灣烏龍茶學習之旅學員在台灣期間,參觀各種烏龍茶的主要產地,認識烏龍茶的自然環境和種植技術。(潘掬慧提供)中央社記者石秀娟傳真 106年11月12日

許正龍一方面舉辦TOST,讓國際茶葉專業人士到台灣認識烏龍茶,列入TOST學員拜訪對象的茶園、製茶廠等,都要符合ISO22000安全規範,以引導茶葉界重視食安與衛生標準,帶動產業正向發展;一方面則安排台灣茶葉專業人士參加每年在美國舉行的世界茶葉大展(World Tea Expo),打響名號。

許正龍說,最初辦TOST時,只能找自己認識的人參加。他曾在去年結業式對學員說,辦完第一屆時「不知道應不應該繼續下去」。

TOST今年已順利辦完第10屆。許正龍說,往年學員多來自美國、加拿大,今年則有來自科威特、巴西、阿根廷、澳洲、尼泊爾的學員,「讓我們很興奮」,希望TOST學員能成為推廣台灣烏龍茶的「種子大使」。

參加TOST的學員都自費,許正龍鼓勵他們回國後舉辦分享會,他更利用世界茶葉大展的盛會,請學員現身教學。他說:「這時候就很過癮了,別人都是賣茶的人自己賣,我們則有一群不同國籍的人幫忙,他們是我們的大使。」



農委會茶葉改良場研究員兼茶作技術課課長蔡憲宗告訴中央社記者,台灣茶產業的全盛時期在1946年至1982年,種茶面積達3萬3000公頃,有8成以上外銷,每年約2萬噸;之後因經濟發展帶動薪資及土地成本,加上其他國家競爭,轉為以供應內需為主,產地僅剩約1萬2000公頃,年產量約1萬4000噸,不到全世界產量的1%,出口量只有約3000噸,進口則有約3萬噸。

許正龍說,現在台灣茶葉的產量少,必須走特殊化路線,茶的品種可能被偷、製茶技術可能被學走,但土壤、氣候等影響茶葉品質的生產環境卻是無可取代的。

許正龍過去就已首創台灣烏龍茶的分類。製茶公會賦予許正龍「台灣茶葉大使」頭銜,除了肯定他長年在美國介紹台灣茶及喝茶文化,也是因這套系統建立了認定台灣烏龍茶品質的國際標準,貢獻卓著。

依照製茶過程的氧化程度、揉捻技巧、烘焙技術等工藝,烏龍茶目前已有文山包種、清香烏龍、傳統凍頂、琥珀烏龍、東方美人、台東烏龍,及台灣美人(Formosa Bonita)等七種,他稱之「七美人」(Seven Beauties from Taiwan)。

許正龍說,中國茶是用品種命名,有了這套系統,台灣茶則是用「科學命名」,2012年的世界茶葉大展,他曾有大膽嘗試,讓消費者命名,「例如Thomas Shu Tea」(Thomas Shu是他的英文名),不管怎麼命名,茶的品種、產地、產季,以及使用怎樣的製茶工藝,都有一清二楚的資料。

這個分類也有助研發不同茶葉的「拼配」,他表示,讓各種茶樹品種的特色與香氣滋味能做不同的變化,「這才是台灣的生機」。

經過多年努力打出台灣茶的形象後,許正龍指出,國際市場對台灣茶已有一定認識與接受度,在國內的供應鏈逐步穩定後,下一步要進軍商業用茶市場,「我常跟茶農第二代、第三代講,讓我們一起來做事」,把茶產業結合文化、食安、生態、環保和科技,茶產業就是很大的產業,「我們已經準備好了」。1061112

台灣茶葉大使許正龍(前中)及太太潘掬慧(前左)創辦「台灣烏龍茶學習之旅」(簡稱TOST),帶國際茶葉界專業人士認識台灣烏龍及茶產業。今年有來自科威特、阿根廷、巴西、澳洲、尼泊爾,以及美國等國家共11名學員參加。(潘掬慧提供)中央社記者石秀娟傳真 106年11月12日

台灣茶葉大使許正龍(前中)及太太潘掬慧(前左)創辦「台灣烏龍茶學習之旅」(簡稱TOST),帶國際茶葉界專業人士認識台灣烏龍及茶產業。今年有來自科威特、阿根廷、巴西、澳洲、尼泊爾,以及美國等國家共11名學員參加。(潘掬慧提供)中央社記者石秀娟傳真 106年11月12日

Tea ‘ambassador’ on a mission to revitalize Taiwan’s tea sector

2017/11/12

Thomas Shu (許正龍, back center)

By Shih Hsiu-chuan

CNA staff reporter

Taiwan’s tea industry has faltered in recent decades, plagued by stiff global competition, a steep fall in the acreage devoted to tea cultivation and the number of people interested in growing it, and quality scandals.

Thomas Shu (許正龍), honored as an “Ambassador of Taiwan Tea” in 2007, has been intent on changing that, hoping to revitalize a sector that to him represents the country’s historical, cultural, ecological, social and economic “backbone.”

In his own eyes, success will not be measured in sales or numbers but rather his ability to keep the industry viable and leave a promising future for the younger generation.

Shu’s years of effort to achieve his rather ambitious goal started with his steadfast commitment to the product itself.

“Taiwanese oolong is not tea,” Shu told CNA in an interview on Oct. 30, a statement reflecting his belief that local oolong is so “unique” it deserves its own brand instead of being categorized as just another tea.

It’s also an attempt to highlight its importance to Taiwan and prevent it from being seen as a commodity that Taiwan should no longer produce because it can’t do so competitively, Shu says.



“If you look at how the tea industry has evolved in Taiwan, it is inextricably intertwined with the country’s history; it is a cultural industry,” Shu said. “Value-added by-products from tea plantations also make it a biotechnology industry.”

Tea was one of Taiwan’s most valuable exports before its agrarian economy was gradually replaced with light industries under an import substitution policy in the 1950s and a policy to promote exports of manufactured goods in the 1960s and 1970s.

Between 1946 and 1982, up to 33,000 hectares of land were used to cultivate tea, and 20,000 metric tons of tea, or about 80 percent of Taiwan’s production, were exported a year, Tsai Hsien-tsung (蔡憲宗), a Council of Agriculture (COA) Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES) official told CNA on Nov. 1.

Since the 1980s, however, Taiwan has experienced a sharp decrease in tea production because of industrialization and urbanization, and only 12,000 hectares of land in Taiwan are now devoted to tea cultivation, producing 14,000 tons a year.

Of that 80 percent is for the local market, with exports dropping to around 3,000 metric tons a year, Tsai said.


A tea plantation in Guanxi, Hsinchu County

For Shu, the third-generation of a tea-planting family from Guanxi in Hsinchu County born in 1953, the decline of Taiwan’s tea industry shook him to the core.

Shu emigrated to the United States in 1977 and later set up his own tea business in California, JT & Tea, but he was compelled to take action back in Taiwan after being honored by the Taiwan Tea Manufacturers Association (TTMA) as a tea ambassador in 2007.

Taiwan’s tea industry was then at a crossroads, Shu recalls. “I had discussions with the TTMA and COA. They were uncertain that the industry ought to be preserved,” given the issue of comparative advantage, Shu said.

Since seeing the very survival of Taiwan’s tea sector threatened 10 years ago, he and his wife Josephine Pan (潘掬慧) have “felt a strong sense of duty” to uncover sources of future market growth for Taiwan’s tea industry.

He has only one goal in mind, he said — for any company that manufactures, distributes, or sells tea products, including bubble tea shops, to have a category of “Taiwanese teas” displayed in its catalogue or on its menu.

Only recently has he been able to say with confidence that “we are ready” to explore niche markets worldwide, Shu said.

For the first five years of his endeavor, he simply hoped to get Taiwanese tea farms and manufacturers to raise their standards and secure ISO 22000 certification, the internationally recognized standard for food safety, to dispel food safety concerns.

The industry has been plagued by unscrupulous vendors passing off cheap imported tea leaves as “Taiwanese tea” or using excessive amounts of pesticides in locally grown tea, and Shu is hoping to bring such practices to an end.

Only more recently, he said, have local tea vendors been capable of “supplying affordable and available teas that produce constant character.”

Shu has adopted a two-pronged strategy to build the reputation of Taiwan’s tea overseas — arranging for Taiwan’s tea connoisseurs to showcase premium Taiwanese teas in an exhibit he sets up at the annual World Tea Expo, the leading tea trade show in the U.S., and conducting a “Taiwan Oolong Study Tour” program, or “TOST,” in Taiwan every year.


Thomas Shu (front row, third left) and his wife Josephine Pan (front row, first left) with the group of TOST 2017.

Under the annual TOST program launched in 2008, Shu and Pan give tea professionals from around the world the chance to experience Taiwan’s tea culture through visits to oolong tea farms, the hands-on processing of tea, discussions with tea scientists at TRES, participation in tea cupping, and visits to tea shops and tea bars.

Only holders of “ISO 22000” certification can be included in the study tour’s itinerary to promote and ensure food safety.

“It literally sows the seeds for ambassadors of Taiwanese tea,” Shu said, noting that his exhibit at the World Tea Expo was “the only one to have a mix of nationalities demonstrating Taiwanese teas.”

The 10th annual TOST program just concluded on Oct. 26, and one of the participants, Tania Stacey, the owner of Cuppa Cha in Australia, described TOST to CNA as an educational program of the highest standard “and the tea industry should be very proud.”



Ahmad Aleidan, owner of Bayan Artisan Tea in Kuwait, told CNA in an email exchange on Oct. 31, that he was impressed with the scientific research conducted by the TRES and the effort people in the tea industry made to get ISO certification.

“This portrays the Taiwanese tea industry in a very positive way to the international market,” Aleidan said.

People in Taiwan’s tea industry also find they benefit from the visits because they rarely have the chance to receive so much feedback from people involved in overseas markets, Shu said.

To ensure that the program’s itinerary is based only on each host candidate’s merits, TOST remains an entirely self-funded program without any government support, Shu’s wife Pan said.

“We haven’t done this for the money. And there were times when we weren’t able to make ends meet,” she said.

The passion and support tea farmers and manufacturers have shown TOST members is also a driving force in the continuation of the program, Shu said.


TOST members visit the tea plantation owned by Wang Hung-cheng (王宏誠) (front row, first right) in Chiayi.

Wang Hung-cheng (王宏誠), who grows high mountain oolong tea in Alishan and Meishan townships in Chiayi County, was introduced to Shu by TRES researchers, and he has hosted TOST visitors for about five years.

He praised TOST as “an opportunity for potential foreign customers to get to know our products” and introduce high mountain oolong tea to the visitors because of the unique qualities of Alishan natural elements, or terroir.

But Wang acknowledged that to expand his business overseas will require more than exposure; it will mean overcoming the even more daunting challenges of the lack of capacity and funds.

Even with such obstacles, Shu remains undaunted.

“We are not doing this for any individual but to help the entire tea industry,” Shu said, because keeping the industry viable can also help create jobs, restore degraded land, ensure food safety and lead to a promising future for younger generation.

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