In the tea industry we are only as strong as our weakest link. Our chain is growing as our numbers are growing. If that chained is pulled though, where do you think we could snap?

It is a proven fact that a chain is indeed only as strong as its weakest link. Yes, we know this metaphor as it is used quite frequently in our modern-day society. When I was researching the origin of this saying, I was inundated by information and clips from the television show, The Weakest Link.  Since by choice, I have not owned a television in the past five years, I suffered through watching some of the video clips posted on the Internet.  For some reason we delight in witnessing the weaknesses of others. The ‘success’ of “humiliation television” in this early part of the 21st century leads me to wonder about our sad state of affairs in this so-called ‘advanced’ society of ours. I find there is little difference between now and the days of blood-thirsty gladiator sports, but this is simply my perspective.

Just for your information, we adapted the saying about the weakest link from something written in the 18th century. Thomas Reid’s, Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, 1786, included this line: “In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest.”

For me, in this country, I believe our weakest link in the tea industry is in educating the teagirl3 001public about tea. I feel that I am personally attempting to do something about strengthening this link. Nothing gives me more joy than teaching people about tea – especially while they are enjoying it!

I commend those in our industry who are teaching the upcoming teachers because every one is needed to fortify this chain of ours. I am grateful for those who have taught me, and appreciative of every audience I encounter, no matter what their walk of life.

Speaking of links, are you LinkedIn?

In the last six months, I have utilized the power of LinkedIn to introduce myself to a wide variety of people. I am so grateful to those in the tea industry from all over the world who have introduced themselves to me, as well. Not only have they introduced themselves, their country, and their passion for tea, but they have also sent me their products to share with others.

Most of you know that I am taking tea into our senior communities in San Diego and I cannot tell you the utter joy I have received from doing so. I don’t sell tea, so that is not really my mission.  I am blessed to bring light and enthusiasm to those we called our Greatest Generation – who since have become our forgotten generation. When I have a senior who says to me after a presentation, “I have learned more about tea in one hour than I knew in the 80 years I’ve been alive.” Then I know I am doing my part to strengthen a wink link in our industry.

art10I am introducing the teas I receive from my LinkedIn friends to our San Diego Tea Meetup group.  Just as exciting, is that last month, I introduced tea to the culinary students at the Art Institute of California. They were blown away by all the things we are doing with tea in kitchens and bakeries around the world! After I’d heard about their botched attempt to make green tea ice cream – they didn’t want to tell me exactly how they had endeavored to mix the two together – so instead of embarrassing them, I simply handed them several packages of matcha that I had received from Hidehiko Satoho of EC Connection and assured them that this was the ‘missing link’ for their ice cream, and thus, enhanced a link in our chain.

As we ‘link in’ from all over the world, our chain becomes much stronger. We each serve as a vital link in that ever-growing chain, so let us support each other. There is no future in pointing out our weakest links unless we are attempting to provide solutions. And let us not derive in any sort of demented, competitive, blood-thirsty satisfaction as we witness a link break or crumble in a tough economy – we are in this together!

I’d be curious to hear from any of you as to what you believe to be the weakest link in our industry.  

“In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest.” (Reid).


Image 1 and Image 2 provided by the author.