In DepthAgricultural Research

Reading the tea leaves for effects of climate change

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Science  29 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6238, pp. 953-954
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6238.953

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Summary

The complex mix of phytochemicals responsible for the taste of tea may be far more sensitive to climate than the yields of commodity crops. An ideal place to study the relationship is China's Yunnan province, known for an oxidized and fermented black tea called pu'er, one of the country's most prized and already being touched by climate change. Earlier this year, scientists embarked on a 4-year project that examines the linkages among climate, tea quality, and farmer livelihoods. What they find could have implications for scores of other crops, from coffee to chocolate to cherries, whose taste and value also depend on local climates.

  • * in Xishuangbanna, China