Magazine

IoT for Tea: Change Is Brewing

Cecilia Flores, cofounder of Webee

Camellia sinensis – the tea plant – is extremely sensitive to rainfall and soil acidity, two of a whole number of factors that affect flavor and crop value. Now, after nearly two millennia of human cultivation, experiments are underway to harness IoT to enhance growing and perhaps even harvesting of the tender leaves that billions of people consume as part of their daily routine.

For instance, Seeed Studio, a Chinese technology company, has been testing its SenseCAP, a wireless IoT sensor network. The gateways and sensors gather the environmental data at the local tea plantation, which helps growers manage the farm more efficiently. In a deployment in the high altitude Mengding Mountain of Sichuan province in 2018, the project was predictably nicknamed IoTea…

We can avoid fungus by predicting its growth with the help of IoT.
Cecilia Flores, cofounder of Webee
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Cecilia Flores, cofounder and head of marketing at Webee, an IoT technology supplier, says the most pressing tea cultivation challenges are fungus diseases, insect attacks, and soil acidity. One solution is a leaf wetness sensor that mimics a real leaf to understand its behavior and monitor its activity and humidity levels at all times. “This can help avoid infections by predicting the growth of fungus, improving crop spraying, and predicting unexpected events,” she says. But time will tell just what these new tea leaves auger for an industry steeped in so much tradition.



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