Unfair Tea Practices

A cup of tea is often an affordable source of comfort. Or is it? In China, family farms in prestigious areas are thriving, but those in non-prestigious areas face tremendous price pressures. Tea growers are found to have the most disadvantageous position in the supply chain – where small, family tea farms in China often struggle against the favoured, larger chains.  Moving on to other tea-producing countries such India and Malawi, tea there is grown by farmers and workers who are being paid ‘poverty wages’. According to the Ethical Consumer, poverty wages are “are often blanket rates that hover around the producing country’s legal minimum wage or the World Bank’s poverty line.” In India, all tea plantations pay the same wage, which is well below the minimum wage. And while they are also supposed to provide and maintain adequate housing and sanitary conditions, an investigation by the BBC and an audit by the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman found that the living

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Fake Teas

The history of tea spans centuries and the history of fake tea is almost as long. As far back as two hundred years ago, British tea drinkers had to deal with the unscrupulous dealers seller used tea leaves and “smouch”, a fake tea made from ash tree and treated with sheep’s dung (among other things). And that’s not including the fact that legal teas were often dyed green to be more aesthetically pleasing. While the fake tea problem we face today is not as serious, it still exists. Currently, fake tea can be divided into two categories. The first is origin-obscuring fraud, such as the Taiwanese farmer was found to have passed off Vietnamese oolongs as Taiwanese oolongs last year, allowing him to mark up his prices by as much as eight times. And in 2014, Guangzhou police seized eight tons of fake Da Yi Puer, which were actually made in a different location than claimed. Since that tea can

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