No matter the product, greater demand means a larger market, faster production, and greater profit. But agricultural products are not industrial products, and can’t be made in seconds by a machine; instead, they require time to grow. But because of the strong demand for convenient tea beverages, the tea industry doesn’t want to forego the huge potential profits of constant tea sales while waiting for the next crop or otherwise constrained by limited supply. One consequence is that people have felled huge swaths of forest to accommodate gigantic tea plantations at the cost of the survival of myriad animal and plant species, which now face extinction. And then, because this kind of unsustainable tea plantation is in operation, the ecological balance has been disrupted. When pests threaten the crops of tea plantations, people resort to pesticides to make sure the pests don’t ruin their crops, and thus their bottom line.
Furthermore, due to the use of pesticides and other chemicals, this kind of unsustainable tea can be harvested many times a year in large quantity. Then because the yield is huge, machines are required to process the entire output. When machines process tea, the benefits of mass production increase for the producer, as the more tea produced, the lower the cost per unit.
In this way, high demand spurs faster, more mechanized production – as the more and the faster the companies sell, the greater the profit.
But the hidden, long-term costs to ourselves and our environment are staggering:
1. More and more tea farmers are losing their traditionally sustainable ways of growing food, tea, spices, and other crops. Instead, they have become employees who have to do whatever those big companies or the government ask them to do. Millions of farmers are now spreading pesticides and other chemicals on tea plantations without any protective clothes year after year. Yet, the same big tea companies or tea factories that own these tea plantations are able to obtain “organic” and “Fair Trade” certification. If you’re interested in learning more how this broken system works, please stay tuned for my forthcoming new course, Global Tea Business.
2. There are many consumers who simply love to drink tea. However, due to the increasingly convenient methods of tea consumption available, people are drinking teas that are grown, produced, and brewed in less and less healthy ways. In the end, they develop devastating health problems without any idea how they got there. (Tea has been touted as a healthy beverage, but that all depends on how it’s produced and drunk. If big companies produced quality tea and promoted it being drunk in a healthy manner, it would cut into their profits).
3. Another consequence is that 30%-60% of the forests on this earth have been lost due to clear cutting and chemical use over the past 30 years. Even with chemicals, it’s getting hard to produce at a rate that keeps up with demand. With the deforestation, we’ve lost millions of species of wild plants and animals, many of which we hardly knew in the first place.
Some people have already started to worry that we might not be able to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the near future because the soil of the land will be depleted of nutrients so that nothing can be grown anymore. What are we going to do after that – resort to eating food produced on a 3D printer??
Drinking tea in artisanal way and brewing your tea using traditional Chinese tea brewing method by following healthy principles will actually force you to drink tea slower and in lower quantity.
The amazing thing is that by drinking tea in this artisanal way, you’re not only inviting health into your life – your shift in demand shifts the entire tea industry toward health and sustainability.
A person only actually needs about three to six grams of dry, loose leaf tea per day to keep the body in healthy balance.
Your slow tea lifestyle will spur the true tea artisans to produce high quality teas using their amazing, artisanal methods passed down from their ancestors. You’re not only protecting an ancient tea culture, but also encouraging a more biodiverse environment, protecting original forestland, demanding truly organic teas, and voting for actual fair trade for tea farmers and artisans.
The Freedom of Tea
In our current life, lots of things we think we need are things society made us believe we need. You think you need a job so that you have money for survival, but what is money? Money is a human trap that locks you into this society. You think you can't live far away from human society, because of there are lots of dangers in nature, and you would probably die within a few days on your own because you don’t how to survive in nature. But this is exactly the point, they don’t want you know how to survive in nature. You think you can’t get far away from human society, because of when you get sick, you won’t able to survive. But this is exactly what modern society is doing to us. They make you eat and drink unhealthy food, force you to work very hard, make your immune system far more deficient than a person who lives in nature. And you are trapped in that system.
By following this endless, vicious circle, most of things you need are actually an illusion this society made you believe in. Most of us have lost the ability to maintain independence of thought. We became weak, we don’t know how to heal ourselves from physiological to psychological diseases. We have to rely on somebody else to help us and do things for us. We have become very lazy and we don’t even want to know the truth, because knowing truth is painful and exhausted work as you have to face reality. So we choose to escape into this society, living in this illusion that society has made for us. We’ve become like a little white mouse that does whatever they want us to do.
Therefore, we lost basic aesthetic sensibility. We don’t know anymore what real beauty is. We also lost our ability to judge clearly. We rely on powerful figureheads to tell us what is and isn’t good. Furthermore, we start following this invisible energy, walking into a path of living death.
“A long legged beautiful woman just walked out from a five-star hotel, holding a fancy cup of tea. She walks into a sports car, wearing a sunglasses, and drives away in front of you.” This is could be an advertisement for Gucci sunglasses, or for a cup of Starbucks tea, or for a Rolls Royce sports car, or a five-star hotel…Like a hungry little mouse, we are ready to jump into this trap!
Normally, poachers only use the cheapest tools to make the trap, but the lower quality trap they use, the bigger the animals they can get. That is because low-quality traps are not easily found, but they are the most lethal. Anything that has been covered with greater complexity and looks more beautiful on the surface is the most dangerous of traps. But nowadays, in our society, this kind of trap is found everywhere.
The cup is beautifully packaged and gives off aromas of flavored tea. Except its full of nothing more real and natural than artificial flavors, excessive fragrances, tea leaves that have already expired, water with E. coli and artificial cream, but you just like this taste. Two years later, you find that you have cancer, you go to the hospital, and the doctor is not clear why you are sick.
The tea blending master who made this cup of flavored tea is still tirelessly preaching her/his “Art.” That cup of flavored tea in your hand right now – is it real art? Or is it a trap?