How can I learn the tea business?


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How can I learn the tea business?

Postby Charles » Jan 19th, '10, 13:13

I've written an article on how to get an education in the tea business (http://www.tearetailer.com/article_30.html). I'd love to hear any recommendations from you on training that you have found valuable or consultants that really have proven helpful in the development of your business plans.
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Charles
 
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Re: How can I learn the tea business?

Postby Ian Bersten » Feb 6th, '10, 21:34

If you want to learn about tea, ask every person who tells you something that sounds like a fact, ask them to prove it. You will find that practically everything in the tea business is opinions. Everybody has a different opinions. Insist on facts. When someone tells you that a certain Chinese tea should be brewed at 80C ask for proof. If you cannot get the proof do teh following test, make the tea at 80 and 100 and see if you can tell the difference blindfolded.

If someone tells you that BOP is a better tea than some other grade ask for proof. If they give it to you, you know they a fraud. Size grading relates to size not quality.

Brewing time should vary with size of leaf.

Ian Bersten
Sydney Australia
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Re: How can I learn the tea business?

Postby Charles » Feb 8th, '10, 11:19

Ian Bersten wrote:If someone tells you that BOP is a better tea than some other grade ask for proof. If they give it to you, you know they a fraud. Size grading relates to size not quality.


Technically you are absolutely correct. And technically a CTC tea is not inferior in quality to a whole leaf tea. You CAN chop up silver needles into little pieces and the "quality" of the tea will be the same. That said, it is rather uncommon. BOP teas are usually a lower quality of tea. Two common reasons are 1) they often include more than just the top leaf or two and unopened bud, and 2) whole leaf teas sell for more and so the best leaves go into whole leaf teas.

I'll offer an analogy to demonstrate my point.... you CAN find a hamburger made from top quality prime beef. That said, the vast majority of hamburgers are made from lower quality cuts because ground beef will sell within a relatively narrow and relatively low price range whereas cuts of Sirloin, Filet or Ribeye will sell for a premium.

At the end of the day, whole leaf teas are more difficult to pick, more difficult to process, and are rarer. Because of this they are more expensive. The best tasting teas tend to be the newest leaves. The moral of the story is that in the real world there is a strong correlation between whole leaf teas and quality. But the correlation is not absolute. Moreover, if you're looking for a strong brew that stands up well to milk and sugar you are probably better off with a BOP regardless. :)
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