Monday, March 29, 2010

World Of Tea 12

The United States is not well-known as a tea-producing nation. The few experiments in this area thus far - in Hawaii, Washington and South Carolina - have been on a relatively small scale. Now tea is coming to California, courtesy of Roy Fong of San Francisco's Imperial Tea Court. More about his budding tea farm here.

Speaking of places where you wouldn't expect to find tea grown, there's New Zealand. The World Tea News recently reported that Zealong is planning to produce a line of oolong tea there.

And even though tea is an ingrained part of British culture, they've typically had to go abroad to get their supplies. With its modest output, Cornwall's Tregothnan Estate won't do much to change that, but as this article reports, they've recently begun exporting their tea to Japan, of all places.

From the Nepali press, here's an interesting and informative article about tea production in Nepal.

Last up, here's an interesting article from the English language version of China's Xinhua, about the discovery of tea leaves at a famous Chinese tomb.

Stay tuned for more World of Tea, an occasional feature that gathers tea-related dispatches from around the globe.

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Alex Zorach said...

Based on what I know about climate, I think there are numerous locations (such as New Zealand, Australia, milder parts of the UK, and in the US, the Pacific Northwest and Southeast) suitable for growing tea which historically have not grown much tea. But the existence of small tea gardens in all of these areas proves that it could work.

I think there's an ugly economic and human rights side of the issue though. Tea picking requires lots of manual labor. Our global economic system and our laws which provide minimum wages and human rights protections in most wealthier countries, but which allow importing from countries where similar wages and rights are not guaranteed to workers creates an incentive for us to import most of our tea (and lots of other things) from countries that have lower wages and weaker human rights protection.

This in turn is not sustainable, as we are now consuming things produced far away that could be produced locally.

I think exploring the question of why more tea is not grown in countries like New Zealand and The United States is a wonderful thing because it starts the brain churning. Inevitably, the process brings to light deep problems of social and economic justice. And then these issues turn out to be intimately tied the question of sustainability.

The TeaHawk said...

That New Zealand ooloong... I'll be interested to try it, even though it's hard to wrap my head around. I've noticed some oolongs coming out of Japan lately, too, though I think I'l stick with Formosa.