Teamaster Rie here checking in.
Just kidding. (Give me another 2 lifetimes or so…)
This weekend, I got to do one of the most exciting things so far in my tea journey: make tea completely on my own, from start to finish.
Here’s what happened: My tea family let me pick a batch from their old, 100-year-old tea garden, then let me take the leaves to Taipei to process them myself.
No guidance, no oversight. Just me calling the shots.
It’s the tea equivalent of putting an intern in charge of a Michelin Star restaurant.
As much as I’m around the tea farms, it’s not every day that I get to handle raw tea leaves.
For people like us, making tea may seem romantic and fun, but for tea producers it’s all business.
It costs a TON of money to grow, maintain, harvest, and then process tea. We’re talking $10k – $100k+ USD sometimes for a single day’s harvest, after you factor in farm work, tea pickers, factory workers, etc.
And a single decision can make or break a whole batch.
To be fair, the garden I harvested from is mostly abandoned, so it wasn’t too much of a gamble to let me process from there. But I’m still amazed they trusted me not to make a big mess of it all. While I’ve seen and done some tea processing before, to go from start to finish is a whole new level.
I’ve since finished the batch. On my own, it took me 30 hours of work to make 30 grams of finished product.
I’ll take the tea back for my friends to try, and I just hope they won’t think it was a waste of leaves and time. 😉