I am extremely privileged to have met so many wonderful tea friends over the years from the States, Canada, China, UK, several countries in Europe, India and Australia and I often reconnect with these friends through the world of Social Media.
With a large group of tea friends though, there is bound to be a falling out. Whilst we all love tea many questions are poised with accompanying bold statements and at times we often forget that our own opinions may not be held by others. I was brought up in a working class background; my parents didn’t have two pennies to rub together. I was also brought up in a Chinese household which meant no hoighty-toighty-ness; simple as you like with no fuss. These two influences have also lent themselves into my business. Whilst there are temperature controlled kettles, thermometers, special teaware like Yixing Teapots, gaiwans and English bone china, I’m just as comfortable with a flask of hot water, tea leaves sitting at the bottom of a cup which is topped up with hot water through-out the day as and when required.
But that doesn’t mean I turn my nose up at tea enthusiasts who took classes to understand mandarin in order to understand Chinese tea tasting terms which do not have an English translation. I shouldn’t be dismissive of those who have a different tea making ritual for each type of tea; and I should welcome those tea lovers who are fans of herbal infusions as well as flavoured teas (as long as they are not artificially flavoured of course!)
As tea lovers, we need to be mindful of each other and embrace each other’s differences. I have been involved in heated exchanges in the past about tea. It’s difficult not to get on that soap box when one has so much passion for something, but rather shout first and regret later, maybe we should respectfully wait until that opportune moment to speak up.
It is easy to get passionate about tea, talk over others and mow others down with one’s words and our strongly held convictions but let’s remember that as passionate as we are in tea, there is a big world out there that is unaware about our beau-tea-ful beverage so tea lovers, let’s unite, get into that big wide world and raise awareness about good tea together. Let’s not fall out with each other, be mindful of each other’s differences, and embrace our differing thoughts over a good cup of tea.
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