Growing a Small Tea Company The Grassroots Way

October 30, 2020

Growing a Small Tea Company The Grassroots Way

My mission in the tea business has remained the same from Day One. It is to bring those teas that have not been discovered by nor available in Western markets. I have found in my time living and traveling throughout China that the best teas never get exported. So-called “premium teas” available in supermarkets or specialty stores in the West are mass produced stuff that the true connoisseur would turn his or her nose up at. Even the USDA Organic symbol means nothing anymore as the regulations are so lax and so easily circumvented by the large companies that the “good housekeeping” seal is almost meaningless.

What we have had to do as a company is grow our business from the grassroots level. That is how we began, and this is how we plan to move into the future. We work together with all types of farmers. We prize quality above quantity and cheap prices. To those customers who ask me for cheaper teas, I give them the same answer, “you get what you pay for with tea.” There are no shortcuts.

The Chinese are willing to pay good money for good tea just like Americans and Europeans are willing to pay good money for good wine. Once you have a real good tea like a Wild Snow Oolong, you would never want to drink a standard cheap oolong again. Most low quality oolongs are loaded with heavy duty fertilizers and pesticides. I personally don’t even drink 99% of Tie Guan Yins because Anxi, where they are grown, is infamous for using super heavy amounts of pesticides and fertilizers. I know many Chinese who have stopped drinking Tie Guan Yin as it hurts their stomachs and upsets their digestive systems.

I have seen large companies with deep pockets promoting teas that simply should not be drunk. Most of these tea buyers representing these large food companies have never even been to China, yet they label themselves tea experts. Book knowledge is empty without experience. What about the tea farmer who was raised to be well-versed about every aspect of tea cultivation, but is ignorant of scientific terms? Do you consider him a tea expert or a tea master when you compare him to a person who received tea master certification through an online course but has never held a fresh tea leaf in his hand or even seen a tea tree other than in a pretty photo? Who is the real master here?

Don’t get me wrong. I respect the fact that people are taking the initiative to educate themselves, and I support this type of education completely. I have friends who own these certification companies. My point is not to degrade them nor devalue them. My point is that our new society of tea drinkers needs to look beyond just learning the vocabulary and the scientific terms that every tea professional and lover should have a command of. They should instead dive into the actual experience of feeling the tea and to respect the knowledge of the true tea masters who are decreasing in numbers. These genuine tea masters are not valued for their efforts nor are they appreciated for their artistry, as they are being sidelined by the large companies interested only in selling vast quantities of inferior tea.

I spent countless hours on innumerable tea plantations learning every thing I could about growing tea, harvesting, processing and nuances of the tea culture before I finally felt I had grasped it. I have read many books on tea and reviewed tea courses, but they only touch on one aspect of learning about tea. In my view, mastering the art of tea is about experiencing it with the right teachers.

My point here is there are many tea companies that are marketing junk as gold, and many people are calling themselves tea masters just because they completed one online seminar. The tea business is filled with charlatans and low quality teas I don’t take seriously. If you are in the tea business to make a quick buck, go back to drinking gunpowder green as it is cheap. If you are a serious tea enthusiast, then get to know what is truly behind the cup.

- Wild Tea Hunter

For more informations. Please check

ITA Certified Tea Sommelier Training

• Tea Book Wild Tea Hunter

• Tea Book The Wild Truth of Tea

• Tea book 5 Element Tea

• Tea Book Tea Poison

 ITA Certified Online Tea Courses

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