Tea - hero crop

IMG_00000201Last month, some of the biggest names in the tea business released a report titled "Tea 2030".  The goal of the report is to transform tea from a commodity into what it calls a "hero crop".  It describes tea as a product that improves the lives of everyone involved and helps the world.  It included comprehensive statistics to outline tea's impressive growth from 1993 to 2010 and pointed out that each day, three billion cups of tea are enjoyed.  Although tea is global and ubiquitous, the report pointed out that tea is in trouble.  Growing countries represent some of the poorest in the world and are extremely susceptible to the vagaries of climate.  We know this first-hand of course.  Right now, South India is waiting for rain.  In Darjeeling, the first flush has still not begun.  I recall 15-20 years ago, first flush Darjeeling samples would be in my hands by the 3rd week of March and that includes a week for the courier to deliver the samples.  To become a hero crop, the report concluded that large tea companies have a major role to play but the specialty tea merchants will be the catalyst.