Happy Birthday Teas Etc and China Update
July is a month marked by celebration starting with the 4th commemorating our independence from British rule and the birth of our nation, in which tea played a major role.
July also marks the birthday of Teas Etc., nine years old today! With little more than an idea, and a lot of determination, my life in tea began July 6, 1998.
Today we celebrated with tea, chocolate cake, tons of “remember when” stories and a lot of laughs. The last nine years have been filled with firsts, new friendships, fond memories, adventures, and learning. Teas Etc. has evolved in a way I could have never imagined and has been life changing both personally and professionally. At the risk of being overly sentimental, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported our journey. Giving us not only your business but also generously sharing your ideas, time and friendship has meant a great deal to us all.
An issue that I have been following in the media over the past couple of months concerns the safety of Chinese imports. While I know that our tea supply is safe and secure it became apparent to me while chatting with one of my best girlfriends that people are uneasy and it’s a topic that I needed to address.
Let me begin by first stating that we drink our teas; and without any hesitation serve them to our family and friends.I am 100% confident in the quality and safety of all of our products not only from China but from all of the growing regions we work with.
Knowing our growers is what gives me that confidence. Standing in the gardens, plucking the leaves among the workers, and participating in the production at the factories gives me first-hand experience. Our teas are grown with great pride in some of China’s most remote, pristine regions where farmers have been cultivating high quality teas for generations. As the world’s foremost farmers, China’s introduction to chemical pesticides and fertilizers comes primarily from modern western techniques, not from their own ancestors. Tea leaves themselves naturally ward off pests due to the high levels of caffeine present in the dry leaf, significantly minimizing the need for chemical substitutes. Growing methods that have existed for centuries have seen little change and all of the teas we sell are still harvested by hand, with many processed in small batches.
Questions about pollution in China and its effect on our teas is another safety issue I will address. My experience traveling throughout China is that the highest concentrations of pollution exists in the densely populated and heavily industrialized areas, having little affect on the remotely grown teas we are selling. China is a country undergoing great change and with a shift in thinking and attitude. Like all of us, the Chinese people are becoming increasingly more aware of the need to live “green.” Financially motivated and masters of supply and demand, China’s tea farmers are acutely aware of the increasing demand for organically grown teas not only for export but also within its own borders.
We live in a society where many of our attitudes are formed by the excessive media coverage of an incident i.e., Paris Hilton. I have traveled throughout China and have never seen trucks running over tea as reported in the Wall Street Journal. I am not suggesting that the reporter did not see it or that it did not happen; it is certainly not the norm. While I can’t speak for everyone, although I know many specialty tea suppliers, I believe that Chinese teas are safe, and tea in general continues to be one of the best ways to improve your health, not only from the internal perspective but also from a spiritual one.