Ethan, I have several friends that export tea to Russia and they have witnessed first hand how tea culture has blossomed there. If I am not mistaken, it is a huge segment of the Chinese tea export market.ethan wrote: One of my nephews has tried to enjoy life to the fullest & his earliest foray into the world of "good" tea was at Teavana where he was told he needed such & such teaware to go w/ his teas. His wife proudly served me from a cast iron pot in which the tea leaves were remaining throughout our session. I told them one cup of their tea was so delicious that I was satisfied. I did not watch their reaction to a second pour of the tea which has steeped for 20 minutes or so. (It was Lapsang Souchong).
My point is what we already know & has been said, most people want to add water to a cup w/ a teabag or a pot w/ leaves & be done thinking about it.
Attitudes to tea can be changed, and I think just sharing our hobby with others can make a huge difference.
So I would not lose hope. That said, what a tragic example You have given of the sales clerks going for the sale and not for a life-long customer...
That said, a good tea cannot be killed even by a long seeping, says I, drinking some nice sencha grandpa style on my couch!