..and the ladies were forgotten inconveniently by me when I stood up to address the house on the morning of November 7th, the second day of the International Tea Forum 2015 in the city of Chi bi, China. In fact, I had been fuming all along the first day hearing about all the pesticide residue in teas from all the speakers from all over the world.
Barbara Dufrene pointed out my faux pas later, to which I apologised but blurted out something about residue again, and I remember I said something like that “they brought the pesticides in the first place, and now they talk about residues, and next they’ll put together a sort of certification against the residues earning them the money all over again.”
Without pests, oriental beauty is not possible to make in Taiwan, which goes on to prove pests can be good too. Thiodan is such a nice-smelling pesticide that doomed pests probably enjoyed its smell too in the tea fields of Darjeeling, as were we the young managers supervising the spraying, to keep the teas growing after the much prized second flush. Peter Goggi mentioned that only three chemicals were allowed initially, which has been raised to sixteen now, a statistic that is worrisome.
The annual 2 billion kilo crop by Chinese growers certainly has needed pesticides to reach that level, which has double in ten years despite a large tea area getting converted to the coffee crops needed to satiate the thirst of the Western culture. Sex hormonal change of pests as an answer to pesticides was submitted by a Chinese scientist, which was quickly lost in the simultaneous translation for us English-language speakers and was probably misunderstood by a few as a joke.
Louise Roberge was the saviour of the day when she changed the topic from residues to fairy tales (and this made me cool down a bit) to subtly inform the most energetic and pretty CFNA moderator that there is a large, hidden, and untapped market for Chinese jasmine green tea in India. An award was given to Louise for being one of the ten most active tea masters (or 茶人), probably because she did not mention residue at all–that made my day. Being the lone Indian there, I was a much sought after soul and was made to speak from the podium at the end of the symposium.
After all was said and done, the ultimate outcome of the Forum was simply that there should be an International Tea Day.