Tea leaves

They smell good, they taste good, there are so many of them and everybody knows them. You got to love them, those leaves. Every good tea garden is a biotope, where Camellia Sinensis bonds with jasmine and mallow. Trees as well, like the camphor tree, belong to this biotope, together with insects, birds, worms, et cetera. All together in perfect harmony and depending on earth, wind water and sun. Mankind has been living and working there for thousand and thousand years. Traditionally there is no place for chemistry, insecticides or (artificial) aromas. Traders, with extensive mandates, travelled the world to look for new land, new products, with prosperity ahead. The level of shortage determined the price. Tea was and still is such a product. Good quality tea is scarce. Market forces created mass production. Mass production conflicts with good quality tea. Mass processing can result at the moss in a mass product. Dust, fannings, broken leaves, all are names for the appearance of bulk tea, for bags, or for the one that gets hidden in a dark tea pot. The beauty of full leaves, buds/tips and twigs is the story they tell. A story about passion, necessity, sharing and carefulness. Co-operation, sharing of knowledge and trust. From the first hand that touches the leaves till the glass, cup or pot, or till the mouth. Water, mother of tea, turns around immediately the careful harvest and drying process: clean cold water and about 8 hours of patience give the infusion a very natural taste. Boiling the water first is more efficient: the water gets disinfected and hot water speeds up the infusion process. After that it only takes a little patience before you can actually drink your tea. What is your cup of tea? ©Rogier van Apeldoorn Published in KTC magazine, march 2013