Our “shrinking world” has been a catchphrase used for quite a few years now. It basically means that communications and travel have gotten faster and cheaper. Both have certainly made tea a truly global experience. Tea shipments are faster, and you can tweet about them on Twitter, post about them on Facebook and your blog, email about them to friends and family, and even Skype about them with the folks who grew, processed, and shipped that tea to you.
If that isn’t a global experience, then what is (short of a long, tiring plane ride)?
Once upon a time, I visited Greece (this was long before their current situation arose). While there, I did some of the typical tourist things, such as visiting the Acropolis. To touch those columns, to feel the stone, the grooves carved thousands of years ago by skilled hands — it’s like a connection with those hands and with that time. Drinking tea can convey a similar feeling.
Maybe I have a more vivid imagination than most. Maybe not. I just get a really close feeling when sipping tea from Taiwan or other tea growing countries, or wearing an item of apparel made in Hungary, or reading a book written by an author I’ve connected with online. The key is knowledge — knowing about the tea garden where the tea was grown and about the folks who processed and packaged and shipped that tea; knowing about the sheepherder whose wool was spun into the fibers that were woven into the cloth that a seamstress cut and sewed together into a jacket or skirt; or knowing that the author had spun into a thrilling novel her true life adventure traveling to another country to meet and hug and take back home the young child who has grown and is now a part of her life and her heart.
Someone asked a foolish question a little while back about whether some political position on the part of the tea company made the tea more enjoyable. Physically, no. Tea is tea and is going to taste the way it tastes no matter what. A better way to state this would have been to ask if the feeling created by knowing about the company and its politics made them feel better about buying that tea. It still wouldn’t affect the taste, on a strictly physical level.
Well, I have found myself feeling differently about the tea I’m drinking when I know how dedicated and honest the people are who bring that tea to market. Being dedicated to and honest about tea myself, that’s only natural. While it doesn’t change the flavor, it does make me feel closer to those people. And that is part of the global experience of tea, too!
Have your own global tea experience by learning about various tea gardens and sipping on a tea from that garden when you get the chance. You’ll feel more connected!
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