Tea research!

Completely off the Topic of Tea

Tea research!

Postby wanna-be buddha » Jun 11th, '07, 10:26

Hey guys! I'm a grad student, and I was wondering if anybody could help me with a potential thesis idea.

Obviously, tons of books have been written about tea "culture," ranging from gong fu brewing to chado to English high tea. This aspect of tea culture largely concerns the "finished product," though. I'm interested in researching tea culture for my thesis, but from the other end of the tea process. I'd like to conduct an ethnography of life on tea farms, primarily in places like Fujian province, northern Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan.

Do you guys know of any good contacts who are in the tea industry in South and Southeast Asia that might be willing to talk to a bumbling grad student for a topic like this?

Thanks for reading!

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Postby Space Samurai » Jun 11th, '07, 18:30

I reccomend contacting TransfairUSA (http://www.transfairusa.org) or Fairtrade Labeling Organizations (http://www.fairtrade.net/). These companies handle all the Fair Trade certification, and I am sure that they have much information.

The Makaibari Estate has a website that might be helpful, http://www.makaibari.com/. Also, Anupa Mueller, the sister in law of Rhaja Banerjee, who owns the estate, owns and operates a tea room in New York. Her website is http://www.silvertipstea.com. I've spoken with her, and she is very friendly. I think she could help you out.

Another option would be to contact Rishi-Tea. You've seen the travelogue for Yunnan. If you email them, you have a good chance of getting a reponse from Benjamin Harrison or Sean O'leary, gentlemen who have been there.

And Kevin from http://www.o-cha.com can probably give you a ton of information about Japanese tea gardens.

I'm not sure what aspects of life on a tea farm that you want to focus your thesis on, but I'd sugest thinking about the effects of Fair Trade.

Hope you find what you're looking for.

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Postby wanna-be buddha » Jun 11th, '07, 22:16

Thanks for the reply, samurai. I've actually already contacted Rishi about this, and they were very helpful. I haven't tried o-cha yet, though, so I'll certainly give that a go.

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Postby xine » Jun 12th, '07, 13:42

Hey Wanna-be-Buddha! I met Mary Lou and Bob Heiss, who debuted their book, The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide at the WTE. It's a pretty thick book, with lots of pictures and information- apparently it is the most recent and comprehensive guide to tea. It is not out until October of this year, but here is the website that has more info on it:

http://www.cooksshophere.com/


The Rishi guys are really awesome, btw! I met them this weekend, and I have to say they are the most down-to-earth and friendliet people ever. I met Shawn and Joshua on Sunday night. I will look through my business cards and see if I can find you some more contacts. Lots of brains to pick in the tea industry!

<3xine

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Postby tomasini » Jun 12th, '07, 16:53

i wanted to meet the rishi guys...
blasted rules and tax id regulations.
the mans keeping me down. the tea beauracacy.

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Postby wanna-be buddha » Jun 13th, '07, 11:37

xine wrote: I will look through my business cards and see if I can find you some more contacts. Lots of brains to pick in the tea industry!

<3xine


Hey xine, thanks for the response! This project is a daunting one, especially since I haven't yet identified an issue on which I'd like to focus. I can use all the inside help I can get!

Honestly, at this point, I'm really just using this thesis idea as an excuse to go live on a farm in Thailand.

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Postby xine » Jun 13th, '07, 12:01

I could imagine, Buddha! The idea of even applying to grad school is daunting to me. GAAH.

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Postby wanna-be buddha » Jun 13th, '07, 12:59

xine wrote:I could imagine, Buddha! The idea of even applying to grad school is daunting to me. GAAH.


Oh come on. If you earned an undergrad degree, you're automatically qualified for grad school. Besides, if an idiot like me can get in, you've got nothing to worry about.

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Postby Mary R » Jun 13th, '07, 14:45

wanna-be buddha wrote:Oh come on. If you earned an undergrad degree, you're automatically qualified for grad school. Besides, if an idiot like me can get in, you've got nothing to worry about.


Even though I'm certain you are not an idiot and your comment wasn't addressed to me at all...that was oddly reassuring. Thanks!

[Currently wailing about GS apps...]

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Postby wanna-be buddha » Jun 13th, '07, 23:41

Mary, don't sweat it, you'll get in. What are you going to study?

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Postby Mary R » Jun 14th, '07, 09:19

Short answer? English literature.

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Postby xine » Jun 14th, '07, 10:24

Mary- good luck on your grad school apps! I haven't even taken then GREs....and I keep putting them off....aaaand I don't even know what I want to study anymore. I think...

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Postby wanna-be buddha » Jun 14th, '07, 11:50

Mary, I was English Lit as an undergrad. Trust me, you'll do fine.

xine, the GRE is surprisingly similar to the SAT. I was up until two the night before I took mine, and I didn't study, and I scored pretty high-- and I hasten to point out that this is NOT because I'm a good student. It's just an easy test. Get a full night's sleep before you take it and you'll be golden.

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Postby Space Samurai » Jun 14th, '07, 14:59

xine wrote:The Rishi guys are really awesome, btw! I met them this weekend, and I have to say they are the most down-to-earth and friendliet people ever. I met Shawn and Joshua on Sunday night. I will look through my business cards and see if I can find you some more contacts. Lots of brains to pick in the tea industry!


I am quite envious, Xine. I have had the pleasure of emailing back and forth a bit with Sean about teapots. That guy knows his stuff, and he's an amazing photographer.

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Postby teanow » Jul 4th, '07, 09:56

I had the pleasure to met a C.E.O of the Walters Bay & Co. (pure ceylon tea) from Sri Lanka. He gave a presentation on the processing of his teas, lots of inofo. (This was at a Let's Do Tea event, June 2005)

you may want to contact him: Sanje Widyarante. Just send me a PM and I can give you his e-mail address or phone numbers.

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