To The People Who Make My Tea

To The People Who Make My Tea

Have you ever wondered who makes your tea? To answer this question, blogger Hannah Theisen travels to Assam, India to see inside the country’s largest Fair Trade tea estate where Numi black tea is sourced. This is her ode to the hard workers who make your tea.

This is an ode of appreciation for the hands that produce my tea. During my recent trip to visit Tonganagoan Tea Estate (owned by Chamong, Numi Organic Tea’s production partner in India), I developed an even greater appreciation than I previously had for the hard work and dedication that goes into each cup of fair trade, organic tea goodness. When purchasing goods that are fair trade, it’s easy to pat ourselves {consumers} on the back thinking that we’re the ones that the farmers and workers should be feeling grateful for.

Really, it’s the other way around.

Fair Trade Tea

I want to say thank you to the tea pickers, who head to the tea fields each morning with woven baskets carefully balanced on foreheads, umbrellas rigged over their heads to protect from sun exposure. These women painstakingly hand-pluck only the perfect leaves from each tea plant, their trained eyes easily sizing up each plant. The work is calm but tedious, a harvesting system in which not much has changed in hundreds of years even as many other agricultural endeavors turn to machines and automation.

I want to express my gratitude to the farmers, who tend the tea plants carefully, ensuring that the conditions are just right for the tea gardens to thrive. Organic tea is harder to grow than conventional tea, and I’ve seen the extra amount of work that it creates! Weeding row after row of young plants by hand to avoid spraying them with harmful chemicals. Dealing with insects and other pests the hard way instead of just taking them out with a bath of pesticides.

Fair Trade Tea

I want to offer thanks to the factory workers, who are tasked with coaxing the perfect flavor out of each tea leaf though the process of fermenting and drying and sorting. There are also factory workers who mix and package and ship finished tea bags + loose blends and I’m grateful for the work that goes into those tasks as well.

I want to encourage the tea estate managers, who deal with all of the daily stresses that come along with the balancing act of keeping thousands of employees and their families healthy and happy, keeping production moving along, and ensuring that the business stays profitable and sustainable.

I’m sure that, in the same way that I sometimes feel so far away and disconnected from the people who make the products that I enjoy, that you can feel disconnected from the people who drink the tea that you tend and pluck and process. I know it can feel as though your effort isn’t valued when consumers like me don’t want to pay a higher price, and thus, fair wages for our tea… I hope you know that many people are grateful for your work, and that you feel the support of both fair trade companies and conscious consumers who are committed to doing business and making purchases in a fair and ethical way.


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