Let’s be transparent about transparency: Example of a tea farmer Let’s be transparent about transparency: Example of a tea farmer Teazaar | Natural Environment, Healthy Tea

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Let’s be transparent about transparency: Example of a tea farmer

by Renco Verhoef |

One of the foundations of Teazaar is transparency, both ourselves and the tea farmers we work with. I would like to use this opportunity to elaborate on that since the tea market is more complicated than what the eye catches on. Spending almost a decade sourcing fine quality sustainable tea caught me in a position where understanding more makes the situation more complicated. 

How well do you know your tea?

For most tea drinkers and even tea buyers, the situation is relatively straightforward: A tea farmer grows tea and sells this to a tea shop, this tea shop sells the tea then to the tea drinker. The same structure as the Teazaar platform!

If you are not concerned about the origin and the quality of your tea, then this is a relatively simple way of doing tea business. Your teas have the right name, and the price seems to be reasonable, the grower and the seller can both make money - everyone's happy.

Teazaar is not about making money, but about making the change. Our mission is facilitating the tea world with the tools to change at least 10% of the tea world into sustainable tea. Therefore we have to run the extra mile.

Let’s take the example above. Based on this example, we have to ask the following questions:

  • How do we know where the tea is originated?
  • Who picked the tea (was it a real tea farmer)?
  • Who processed the tea?
  • Who is the owner of the tea garden?
  • How can we guarantee that the leaves are not from another area?
  • From which area of the tea garden are the leaves picked?

The list goes on...

If we talk about transparency, then this needs to be transparent as well! To guarantee the quality, the initial response would be to monitor every single step and close it all up with certificates. However, with Teazaar we believe in trust and reasonability. Since Teazaar is the tea community for sustainable tea, we suddenly have the tools in our hands.

When a tea farmer pretends to be selling good quality tea, but sell poor ones, then this tea farmer will be removed from the Teazaar platform. When a tea shop pretends to sell Teazaar teas, but sell poor ones, this tea shop will be removed from the Teazaar platform. How do we decide this? The Teazaar community decides this. At the same time, we take care that the trustworthy tea farmers and shops can make a good living, only then will we be moving in a direction that just wouldn't be worthy to cheat with tea.

Working together with the tea farmer

When we work together on changing the world of tea, together we will know almost everything. We can taste teas and taste when there’s a problem with the tea, we can visit tea gardens nearby where we live, to find out if there’s something wrong, we can talk to others in the industry and find out when people try to join Teazaar just for the money, we can talk to tea pickers and ask them if there’s something wrong.

The more we find out and the more information we share, the more we know. At the end, the knowledge of the Teazaar community will let us feel secure that people without passion for tea won’t try to sell their tea to us.

Then when I go back to the tea farmer, for example, I do wonder who the tea grower is. At the moment, the growers of Teazaar, therefore, can be divided into many types, for example:

  • The owner of the land organizing harvest and process
  • The tea pickers organizing the land (paying the landowner for picking the tea leaves) and organizing a tea master to process the leaves
  • The tea master organizing buying the tea leaves from tea pickers (who paid the land owner) and processing the tea
  • A village group, who owns the land, and where picking, processing, and selling is all organized by the villagers themselves
  • A professional tea factory buying good quality tea leaves from the area, processing these leaves and selling the tea
  • The tea estate, where land ownership, tea picking, tea processing and selling is organized by one company

Teazaar currently does make the decision per area, based on the outcome (high-quality sustainable tea). Sometimes the owners join, sometimes the tea master, and in other cases a tea company. However, we cannot decide this for the Teazaar community. Anyone who has any suggestion, please send us an e-mail.

The more we understand, the more transparent the whole process is, the better we can make the change.

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