In the tea sommelier certified lesson this week, we again touched the critical issue about what is our primary responsibility as a tea sommelier. Is it just limited to the knowledge of knowing how to make a good cup of tea? or much more?   Students were very enthusiastic and asked for more information about the bitter taste of fair-trade and organic tea.
As promised, here is the link of The Bitter Taste of Tea: A Journey into the World of Fair Trade which I think people who like to support the concept of fair trade tea should all take a look : 
I first saw this video few years ago and I think the course and intention of these reporters who dared to report this matter deserve respect and support.
From the free pre-review I am sure it would give you an idea about the bitter taste of so-called fair trade in reality. Finding a good balance is indeed a unsolved struggle to find a good balance between
  • Policies vs. Reality,
  • Development vs. Preserve Nature Harmony
  • Economy Development vs. Culture Development
I follow the philosophy of fair trade and the basic concept for organic and pesticide control started from 1995. For years I follow the quality management and best practice, because I believe actual actions are more important than slogans or stamps.
It was great to embrace questions from enthusiastic tea lovers:
Q: How do you know these people are really following the principals?
A: Honesty is the key and trust is something people need to learn to earn but don’t expect to obtain blindly by telling fancy stories.  When people are willing to tell you truth not only good and beautiful stories, but also honest to share all hinder information that might influence the harvest and quality; when they are equally persistence in believing in Nature, Quality, Traditions and Morals. That laid down the corner stone for trustful friendship. 
Of course, there is a risk for people to change their course when facing the financial challenges and/or attractions. That’s why how to sustain and to revalidate trust is an on-going task for “BOTH” parties.
The cost of ‘fair trade’ and ‘organic tea’ labels are simply too expensive for me and those friends for years, who are either small individual tea farms and/or tea producers, can afford.  Instead of talking or putting the label, we simply put these fundamental believes and philosophies in actions.  Our common goals are
  • Promote and introduce the pure and good quality tea to the market
  • Help more people to have the right attitude about healthy life style, know how to brew tea correctly
  • Help more people to have the correct knowledge about how to distinguish quality
Honesty and trust are essence in business ethic, particularly in the tea world.