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Growing tea

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Tea becomes available to grow in mountain villages after a tea master arrives. It is a valuable cash crop for the village, and comes in two forms: ordinary tea and first flush tea. Tea loves the high mountain air and thrives in heavy rainfall. However, growing it is a little bit different from other crops.

Before you can start to harvest tea, you have to plant tea trees, forming a plantation. This land is then unavailable for other crops; the tea trees become a permanent fixture of the landscape. Trees can be planted in either virgin land, or in dry fields that have already been cleared. The former option is more labour intensive, so it is often worth giving up some of your dry fields if you can spare them. Tea trees can only be planted in spring.

New trees that you have planted take five years to mature, so there is a bit of a delay between putting the effort in to start your plantation and being able to reap the rewards. However, if you keep planting trees every spring, youíll be rewarded with a steadily growing plantation.

Now to harvesting. You can allocate workers to the tea plantation in exactly the same way as you would send them to work any other crop. The only difference is that tea harvested in spring is first flush tea, whereas tea harvested in summer is just the ordinary stuff that all villages can buy at the market. Yields for first flush tea are lower than those for ordinary tea, but it is much more valuable. The villages will not drink it, as they prefer to send it straight to market, taking advantage of the high price is commands.

Overall, nurturing your plantation and steadily increasing the villagerís tea picking skill will create a valuable asset for the village over the long term which more than makes up for the poor rice growing conditions of the mountain climate.