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Personal interview with wholesaler, 11 Dec 2020
The name of the tea leaf depends on the region in which it grows and the season time in when it is picked.
Depending on the region in which it grows, there are two types of tea leaf namely “Ah-twin-taung” tealeaf and “Ah-pyin-taung” tea leaf. The tea leaf which is manufactured in Namhsan, Mang Ngao regions and their nearby villages such as Taung gyaw village, Lwekhan village, Taungma village, Zayangyi village, Manlei village, and Nantway village is known as “Ah-twin-taung” tea leaf. Taungpae village and its environs where King Falangist obtained tea leaf seeds are called “Ah Twin. The tea leaf which is manufactured in Moe Meik and Mong Lon region are called “Ah-Pwin-Taung” tea leaf. “Ah-Pyin” means a remote area from Namgsan region.
“Shwe Phi” tea leaf, “Kha Kant” tea leaf and “Hnin Tet” tea leaf are named according to the season. In March and April before the rainy season, tea leaf is picked for the first time. Thus, it is known as “Shwe Phi OO” or “Shwe Phi MoeLut” tea leaf. It is picked until the month of May. Then it begins to rain. Tea leaf is picked for the second time from June to October. It is called “Kha Kan” tea leaf. “Kha Kan” tea leaf means middle. It is harvested in the middle of the tea leaf season. After that the cold season starts in November. It is the time when dew begins to appear. The tea leaf which is picked during the months November and December is called “Hnin Tet” tea leaf. The tender tea leaves emerge from the stem with the help of dew by the time the coarse leaves begin to fall.
Since “Ah-twin-taung” and “Ah-Pyin-taung” tea leaves have good taste and quality, they were in great demand. However, since the year 2012, because of the civil war, tea leaf production has been decreasing. Tea leaf trading almost ceased. It is difficult to trade the best tea leaf which is famous with reference to the region. The type of tea leaf which is called with reference to the season is known by only the growers and merchants. The retailers and consumers do not usually mention the names. They always ask for the tea leaf at a cost one thousand five hundred kyats or the beautiful spring or tender leaf which is good for pickling. Only few people know the terms of the type of tea leaf and they are about to disappear.