There was no doubt that Tea would make an appearance at The Olympics. Just how China would choose to grow their tea market in The World at these games has been the mystery. The question was not whether she would feature Tea, but how.

With a little help from her friends, apparently. According to an article published in the August Issue of “Tea Muse,” China decided to showcase Pue-rh. With the help of Coca Cola, 50,000 cakes of this very special tea were manufactured in Hunnan, each beautifully wrapped and sporting a label printed in one of the five colors of the Olympic rings, the international symbol of the Games. These have been on sale since July 1.

More exciting though, is that Lochan Teas Limited, from Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, made up special gift packages, including Darjeeling and Assam teas, for VIPS attending the games. In a further show of cooperation, Indian tea is served alongside Chinese tea throughout the contest.

Much as I am trying to develop a taste – and a pocketbook! – for Pue-rh, there is some distaste for the involvement of Coca Cola. On the one hand, they certainly have the advertising budget and the name identification advantage covered. These are excellent attributes if the product you are trying to sell is relatively unknown or new. On the other hand, it IS Coca Cola, and just how good is the Pue-rh contained in those pretty packages? There is sweet irony in the fact that Lochan Teas was chosen to impress the impressarios.

Bravo, Lochan Teas!

But wait, there’s more evidence of tea and cooperation happening in Bejing this August.

Beijing Olympic organizers selected twelve teas to be designated “Olympic First Teas.” Thousands of teas were submitted and two of the winners were actually from Taiwan and are organic, to boot! Who would have thought this could have happened? I applaud the Chinese organizers for their willingness to include Taiwan in their selection process.

The two winners from Taiwan were the premium “Yipaohong” black tea and “Yipaolong” oolong, which was produced by Fofashan Organic Ecology Tea Farm in Taichung, central Taiwan. They defeated several thousand Chinese and Taiwanese farms in the “battle of the teas,” winning the right to be displayed and served along with ten other teas at the Beijing International Media Center during the Olympics.

I would imagine that the Chinese Olympiads drink tea throughout their training ritual. Given its powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities, tea is an asset for any athlete. Perhaps this tradition will be recognized by other athletes during their experience in China. As the rules become more and more restrictive regarding ingestion of performance-enhancing drugs and chemicals, tea represents a healthy, natural alternative to the athletic community.

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