02 June 2009

Tea Tuition

The Elder told a friend of mine recently that he was afraid that I was getting ripped off on some of my tea buying trips.  He was concerned that I was paying way more for tea than it was worth.  Granted, we often have different tastes, but he knows pricing better than anyone.

My reasoning to him has always been quite simple:  tuition fees.  I learn a lot from many of the people whom I buy tea from.  Their pricing may be a bit more, but I am confident that their products are locally-made with top-quality ingredients and good labor, and they are generous with how they educate me.  It's not out of stupidity or naivete that I pay a premium sometimes, it's my way of repaying some of my teachers for allowing me to spend days or weeks learning from them.

One thing that I firmly believe in is showing gratitude to the people that teach me or share with me - regardless of what I think of their product.  If I spend a considerable amount of time at a tea store, I never leave without making a purchase; I have a lot of tea strainers and jars that make great gifts. 

dans les mains humides de HK #16

Teahouses don't generally make a ton of money. They serve you samples hoping that you'll like something enough to buy some.  Every teahouse has stories of the usual freeloaders that may buy something for every 10 times they stop by for a free cup and conversation.  Please tell your friends to support their favorite tea spots with some business; freeloaders aren't so good for that.

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