With some in the U.S. pretty much declaring the pandemic is about over, that's really the case only for those vaccinated—and it's far from true in many other places. The staggering toll that COVID-19 is visiting upon India is sobering. It seems petty to even talk about tea when so many people are suffering. But what … Continue reading The World’s Tea Industry: May 2021 Snaphots
Mr. Takatomo Katagi comes from a long line of tea growers in Japan's Asamiya region of the Shiga Prefecture. The seventh-generation head of Katagi Kokaen tea garden, Mr. Katagi is building on his family's legacy. Some forty years ago, his father converted the garden to organic production. As Mr. Katagi explains, "Unlike vegetables, tea leaves … Continue reading Making Houjicha with Tea Grower and Tea Master Takatomo Katagi
Increasingly exciting results are coming out of research into tea as a beverage and/or medicine—even as tea as a plant is becoming embattled in many regions of the world. First the Good News: Tea Is Great! Against antibiotic-resistant bacteria— Current headlines tout the efficacy of tea's main flavanol, epigallocatechin gallate or ECGC, in working synergistically with the … Continue reading TEA: New Benefits Being Discovered, Yet the Plant’s Sustainability Is in Question in Some Regions of the World
Although few knew it at the time, a seismic shift took place when botanist Robert Fortune spirited high-quality tea plants out of China in the mid-1800s. Transplanting them into Himalayan soil, he opined that “a boon will have been conferred upon the people of India” if that country’s poor could be provided with an affordable tea, … Continue reading Nepali Teas Come into Their Own
What tea drinker wouldn't click on the headline "'Tea Industry Gasping for Survival,'" recently posted in The Hindu? It practically screams eminent demise! A Tempest in the Tea Cup? Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be merely a case of sensationalism. Rather, it's potentially a looming crisis. India's Consultative Committee of Planters’ Associations (CCPA)* contends that … Continue reading Is India’s Tea Industry Really at Risk?
So much about tea is actually really depressing, both now and historically. There are conflicts over land, wages, profit, quality, quantity. Issues of weather and natural disasters. Combine those problems with how tea has been used to wield power—during times when tea is highly esteemed and even when it's disparaged—and you quickly realize how a … Continue reading Tea in South Korea Had a Circuitous History
There's long been some suspicion about whether all "Darjeeling Tea" is really from Darjeeling. After all, Nepal tea gardens are a short hop from Darjeeling and if they are blended or substituted, how many of us would know—especially when we assume our tea is what the label claims? For tea gardens that produce high-quality tea, … Continue reading Why Fingerprinting Tea Is a Good Idea
What Happened to My Favorite Tea?! If you've ever discovered that your all-time favorite tea is out of stock or—even worse—just gone, you are in good (although not happy) company. Three of my go-to teas are no longer available and, in my mind, they aren't really replaceable! Sadly, there are many reasons why a particular … Continue reading Some Reasons Why Your Favorite Tea Isn’t Available
TEA. Once relegated to the Poison Garden—then confirmed as providing multiple health benefits—and now with toxic contaminants? Troubling, and more than a tad ironic. However, this has been an ongoing problem, brought back to public attention whenever a new study comes out or another headline plays to your emotions (not unlike the headline of this particular … Continue reading Poison in My Tea?
The health benefits of tea make almost daily headlines these days: Lose weight! Loaded with antioxidants! Fight cancer! But what about the health of those who work in the tea industry? Here the proclamations are not always so glowing. Take the Nilgiris District of southern India, for example. Their Tea As a whole, southern India … Continue reading The Plight of Tea Workers in Nilgiris, India