International Tea Day & Economics

Last month the United Nations General Assembly voted to designate May 21 as International Tea Day.

While International Tea Day has graced the calendars of tea lovers globally for years, we have always recognized it as a December “holiday”. According to World Tea News, the UNGA has been petitioned for a few years to move the day from December to May, when most tea producing countries are in the throes of processing the finest tea they will produce all year with leaves from the spring growing season.

One of the hopes in changing the date is that more emphasis can be placed on the growers. For a long time there has been a global push on fair trade items and a concerted effort to help make consumers aware of the conditions under which their favorite products are created. The tea industry is no different. With efforts to “know your farmers” coming along side an increased desire to purchase ethically sourced and sustainable tea, a change in focus with the date of International Tea Day feels only natural.

While the vote was overwhelmingly approved, I couldn’t help notice that three countries cast a vote of “no”.

Initially I was shocked to see my country, the United States, on the nay list. However, in seeing Australia and Israel also cast votes against the resolution, I understand the move.

For Israel, I believe the decline comes from a religious perspective, as a national and Jewish holiday begins at sundown on May 21. And being a strong ally of Israel, the United States voted no for political purposes.

Politics aside, I believe this vote also shows the US’s lack of understanding of tea and the impact it has on our economy. While the tea industry is still in the beginning stages of regrowth, the US is no stranger to the brew and we would be best to remember our roots.

Our country began to truly take a stand at what has become remembered as The Boston Tea Party, where colonists dressed as Native Americans tossed tea into the harbor. Why? Because their beloved tea was taxed in a manner in which was not proportionate to nationals living in England. And why was the tea taxed so heavily? Because it was one of the most demanded imports.

I would argue that tea still is being heavily imported into the US. If it wasn’t, it would have never been on the list of goods requiring 20% tariff in the trade war between the US and China last year.

Whoever voted on behalf of the United States very well may have chosen to vote the way they did to show a strong political alliance with Israel. Sadly, their vote also showed just how ignorant they are to the cost of tea in the United States and the rapidly increasing demand of specialty tea. Over time, we tea lovers will change economies – and the world – through focusing on the plant, the grower, and all the hands involved, and by taking steps to improve the entire process. One cup at a time.


Cuppa the Day:

Taurus by Adagio

A smooth oolong and white tea base blend with peach and stone fruit flavors.


From celebrities who are asked audacious questions about their bodies to hearing how our friends speak about themselves, the subtle queues of comparison are all around us.

By and large, when we listen to how we speak about ourselves, the words and tone we use are negative. We know that we ought not compare ourselves to others, but we cannot seem to help ourselves. If you listen closely, you can hear a hidden language. This language betrays the self conscious and tells how we compare our current selves to the vigors of the youth we once held.

It is to this, which I contemplate today.

I am beginning to think that one ought not compare themselves with their former self. Not to say that we should do away with #transformationtuesday or any other day in which we could – and rightly should – celebrate our progress.

Merely, mind how you look at yourself.

Life is short. We are not promised today. We are not promised tomorrow. And even if tomorrow comes, there is no guarantee that it will be like the day before. Things we take for granted today, like the ability to walk, to sing, to feel the warmth of the mug in our hands, can be gone in an instant.

The only thing that stays the same in life is that everything changes.

We were different people yesterday. We have been made who we are today by all of our collected experiences, up to and including yesterday. If we were to compare ourselves as we are today with our former selves, we are not making a fair comparison. It’s like trying to compare a ripe piece of fruit to an unripe one. They are both the same type of fruit, but only the one further long in its journey will be sweet enough to eat.

Therefore, we ought not to compare at all. Not to others or to our yesteryear. Take today as it is. Accept yourself as you are in this moment. Resolve to chose the best things at this moment, choosing to be the best you possible for today.