It's an interesting phenomenon to me that in North America (and maybe Europe as well?), significant amount of serious tea drinkers (not to sure how to define it, maybe "frequent tea drinkers who are constantly curious about and mainly focus on loose leaf tea"?) are very, very young! I have the impression that most serious drinkers in China are in their late late 30s or above, who are lucky enough to have had a childhood free of coca cola or McDonald, who have got stable jobs, a little leisure time and kids beyond infant stage. However, in America, again and again I am amazed how some young people are seriously involved in tea drinking culture. I remember seeing from TeaChat a high school student collecting many dozens of puerh cake in his bedroom closet. On Steepsters, college students talk about organizing tea clubs on campus. Oh my goodness! This never happened when I was in a university!
A quick look on my blog list (the list I keep in the right column of this blog) lead to a conclusion that most of the Chinese bloggers are older than me (I somehow know most of their approximate ages) and most of the western bloggers are younger than me (some of them, although I don't know their ages, simply look so young!). I am in my mid-30s (I put myself on the watershed just for the convenience of a quick comparison).
I wondered why, and my partner's comment is, young people are naturally adventurous and curious about various cultures. In China, curious young people explore Coffee and in the western world, curious young people explore Tea! I would add to it that tea is a perfect wonderland for young people. One will never get bored with tea because there are so many varieties and so many styles to explore!
Some young people do wonders in tea world. The manager of the small factory making my favorite semi-wild Huang Shan Mao Feng, the guy who strives to revive traditional charcoal roast Tie Guan Yin, the farmer who made Red Tea Dan Cong creatively after his tea bushes were damaged by snow storm, they are all very young, ranging from early to late 20s!
But age is just a number. There are many tea drinkers who, no matter how old, are always young at heart. My aunt started drinking oolong at her 50s and my mom got interested in gongfu tea in her 60s. After drinking green tea solely for the first several decades of their life, they now explore their new tea world like curious children. Gong Zhi, one of China's top tea scholars, started writing his most important tea books (Oolong Tea of China, Red Tea of China, Tribute Tea of China) after retirement, and finished them in his 70s.
In thousands of years, people believe tea helps us maintain youth and vitality. In modern scientific sense, that's still largely true. I always think I am lucky to have tea in my life. Few foods or drinks I love are as healthy as tea, physically and mentally. Drink tea. Stay curious. Stay young. It's a wonderful life!
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