Ningbo leads the way in China's colored tea industry

TAGS: | UPDATETIME: 2024-02-20

A pink tea tree variety, newly developed by Ningbo, has recently been granted a national plant variety rights certificate by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, marking the addition of a new member to the city's vibrant colored tea tree family.

The city's germplasm innovation journey began in 1998 when the Ningbo Colored Tea Tree Germplasm Innovation Team serendipitously discovered a naturally occurring yellow tea bud in a tea garden near the Tianluo Mountain site. Since then, Ningbo has cultivated 30 colored tea tree varieties, with 27 of them officially recognized as new plant varieties at the provincial level or higher.

Ningbo's strides in the evolution of tea tree varieties, transitioning from a uniform green leaf species to a diverse spectrum of colored tree species, have positioned the city as a global leader in the tea tree breeding domain. The city has also established the country's only germplasm library for colored tea trees, solidifying its leading role in domestic research and development of colored teas.

The impact of these developments has been substantial, elevating prices of high-grade tea in Ningbo, with estimates indicating a two to fivefold increase. In 2023, colored tea gardens covered a total of 25,000 mu (1,666.67 hectares) in the city, generating 300 million yuan ($41.68 million) in annual output, according to official data.

Yellow tea varieties developed by the city have gained widespread adoption, spanning beyond Ningbo and into over 20 provinces across China, with a cumulative plantation area exceeding 300,000 mu and generating an annual output value of nearly 3 billion yuan, delivering significant economic benefits.

Colored tea resources have also expanded into the food and oil sectors. Under the guidance of the Ningbo Colorful Tea Tree Germplasm Innovation Team, a local tea garden has successfully developed colorful tea powder for use in pastries, beverages, and other food products.

Source: China Daily