Are their environmental and industry impacts associated with big tea companies?
High elevation tea farms are, for the most part, remote plots of mountainous terrain that are cleared, landscaped and developed for agricultural purposes only. This is where the controversy lies. Only a small percentage of farmers live on their high mountain tea farms. So the development of this pristine environment is strictly based on an economic prospect. This development of high mountain real estate is the result of the high demand for quality tea that occurred during Taiwan’s economic boom in the 1980’s. Corporations developed high mountain tea farms to meet this demand and further market a (then) new trend of “green” High Mountain Oolong.
This has caused the invention of a new type of tea through the commercial promotion and popularization of High Mountain Oolong Tea. A greener, less oxidized type of Oolong that requires less processing skill, care, and labor to produce. The big-dollar marketing of this tea has been successful in creating a popular demand and has diminished the value of traditional Oolong production by small, family-run farms