Welcome to the Global Tea Renaissance. With a single sip from a humble cup, together we embark on the most exciting, healthful, delicious and revolutionary journey of discovery in our lifetime. Tea is experiencing a massive shift in consumer awareness that will fundamentally change how every one of us views this glorious infused beverage. Tea is the new wine.
Comparing tea and wine is not a novel notion; more precisely, today we can explore this experience with tea because of our past, passionate experience with wine. Wine has served as our sipping apprenticeship.
In 1976, it was widely known that the world’s best wines were made in France. This was a fact deeply etched in our consciousness. Wine enjoys an ancient history and occupies a powerful place in the lives and rituals of humans in cultures throughout the world.
In contemplating wine, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Germany quickly come to mind, but nowhere more than France. In early days the wine world was dominated by connoisseurs and wine geeks, sommeliers and snobs. The near universal consensus: the best wines were Grand Cru, a French label for “best of the best.”
A British wine merchant, who sold only French wines, organized the Paris Wine Tasting. The event promised to be a celebration of the mastery and domination of the French. Dozens of experts and leaders in the field were scheduled to gather and drink these wonderful wines. The eleven judges were all French with impeccable credentials.
Two premier categories of varietals were judged: a white chardonnay and a red (Bordeaux from France and Cabernet Sauvignon from California).
This event is now known as the “Judgement of Paris”. In blind tastings the California wines were judged to be superior to the greatest wines from France. Little-known California vintners placed far ahead of vintages from Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and Chateau Haut-Brion. It was a shock. To the French it was a horror. To the Americans, it was seismic. It was the dawn of the wine world we live in today. We can directly trace to that very moment in Paris how attitudes and perceptions about American wine changed, and more specifically when our love affair of food and wine had its “bud break.”
Think of your personal relationship to wine – when you first discovered wine and how you learned to appreciate it. Most importantly, retrace how you learned about wine and why a particular wine became your favorite. Do you drink wine with meals? Do you gift wine to friends? Do you have a collection in a wine fridge?
Imagine reliving and rediscovering that awakening, education and discovery (without a hangover).
Similar to that seismic moment in Paris, this is the “no going back” moment for tea; The Golden Age of Global Tea. We can trace it to specific events like the emergence of fine tea vendors and the explosion of options online, compounded by our own readiness (thanks to our wine education).
Today superior teas exist but are scarce, produced in finite quantities. From the most respected tea producing regions of the world, these are teas so exquisite and rare they never leave the town where they are produced (or get past the highest levels of government). There has been no need for big budgets to market these teas or deep-pocket multi-national corporations to bag and box them for grocery shelves. There was not sufficient demand.
Prior to the Judgement in Paris and sadly, for a long time afterward, the best wine was scarce. Much of the wine commercially available to the consumer at this time was comparatively inferior to the finest Grand Cru. First, sips of wine piqued an interest. Then came tasting, education, exploration and passion. Along the way, quality was discovered and served as context for all other sips.
An exciting, remarkable tasting journey lies ahead. Discover passion in a cup, a new favourite tea, the very ones that Tea Journey will feature for you to select, source and prepare for less than $2.50 a cup. Everyone has sipped tea: hot or cold, black or green, sweet or unsweetened. With few exceptions, you will discover that these sips have been nothing at all like the Grand Cru Teas awaiting your discovery. You can snag a charter subscription to Tea Journey Magazine through Kickstarter.