Freelance contribution by: Leonard Nima
Imagine for a moment a future full of enlightened people, educated with the times and having developed a fine temperament between one another. One where all bright minds can always have a cup of tea at the ready, in whatever form they wish. This, along with many other variations and details, is a world all people can hope for.
We educate, hold seminars, and host tea-tasting sessions and spend lots of energy getting out there in the world in hopes of showing even just one person that there are better choices out there, and not to be content with sacrificing quality for convenience. If it isn’t a farmer or wholesaler showing their superior leaf against a retailer’s existing dust and fannings, it’s those specialty retailers then showing their customers the value they learned from their wholesaler. And when that customer teaches another friend or family member, we can finally start moving towards that ideal future.
Though there are two flaws with that process: the willingness to teach or be taught, and the desire for earning (seller)/saving (customer) more money. Even if you put the world’s finest leaf in front of someone that doesn’t care or appreciate it, it becomes a wasted chance. Inversely, if the consumer is taught to pinch every penny on tea in hopes of spending the same on premium loose leaf as bagged fannings, the industry would surely collapse.
So what do we do? Well, the only solution this author can come up with is to start from the bottom up.
We stop shoving ideal temperatures, terriors, and steep times into the amateur’s head and focus on why they should drink and how they can find a good cuppa with relative ease. We agree on a centralized place to showcase all companies, broken down by things like price, specialty, distribution ability, and wholesale ability – just to name a few. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to share information between tea lovers of all skill levels and give much-needed exposure to future manufacturers and farms.
Then, we take the idea of tea and run with it. The more people realize it goes beyond the cup and into things like food or cocktails, the more chance there will be for someone to innovate and create a new culinary norm. We focus on the feelings and experiences associated to it, and empower them into wanting to experiment on their own terms (because if Americans can invent Candy Corn, there’s nothing we can’t bring to the table with tea). After all, it’s okay to put too little or too much leaf; they can steep it for a longer or shorter amount of time. The beauty of tea lies in the paradox that it is both simple and complex, yet still so flexible.
With so many teas out there, there’s a leaf for every person, every emotion, and every moment. Personally, I dream of the future when tea becomes fully integrated into people’s lives, able to be consumed in any way they wish across all levels of knowledge, and for them to reap all the health benefits it has to offer.
Leo is the owner of Ruby Lion, a premium brand of loose leaf tea that uses inspirational blends to deliver a deeper, more emotional experience. Its goal is to help people find the strength to start their own legend, and we do that through the medium of tea and the power of storytelling.
Visit us at www.rubylioninc.com