Rule #3 - Organic Is Good, Wild-Grown Is Even Better
I’m a pretty calm guy. Ask anyone. But if you want to see me get excited here’s what you do. Take me to a third-world country, some place with really crappy roads. Put me in a beat up old vehicle of some kind, the more decrepit the better. Hire a driver who thinks he’s Mario Andretti. And send me on back roads from point A to point B.
Then, somewhere along the way, just when my fear of dying in a high speed crash with the local livestock has been dulled by repetitive near-death experiences, sweltering heat and monotonous bouncing…drive past a field of fully mature wild growing tea.
I will shout “stop!” in languages I don’t even speak. I will grab the wheel and try to drive us into a ditch. I may even kick open the handle-less door and do my best James Bond style tuck and roll in the mud in front of bemused locals. Because I must, do you hear me? MUST, taste that tea!
I know, I’m kind of strange…
Some of my most sublime tea drinking experiences have been hidden gems like these. It happens more often than you might think. Some ambitious entrepreneur decides to grow tea in some remote locale, convinced that he or she has found the perfect place to grow gourmet teas. Then they run out of money, or the weather is bad for a few years or whatever and the project is abandoned.
A few years go by. Locals routinely harvest and dry the tea, after all, why let it go to waste? And someone like me comes along, makes a deal with the locals and has there own private source of amazing wild-grown gourmet teas.
Not long ago one of my suppliers whom I know and trust finally got tired of my organic mantra and said to me, “You know, Ralph, in my country ‘organic’ is pretty much synonymous with ‘poor quality.’” I refuse to accept this premise. I know that great teas are possible with minimal human intervention. I’m committed to find those teas for you.