February 05, 2006

WhAT ThE???

Tea is hot! Tea is Trendy! Tea is the "It" beverage!

You can just say the word TEA and heads will turn and wallets will open....and if you feel I'm exaggerating, then why would Sanpple be jumping on the bandwagon?

Snapple (yes....Snapple!) will be offering teabags....mixing tea with pieces and bits of fruit and of course fruit juice. ACK!

This is just the beginning of the corporate entrance into the tea trend....or perhaps the beginning of the end...the first step in the downward spiral that happens with over-saturation and over-exposure. Like anything in our pop culture, once the big guns take their shot at something that a select percentage of the population were finding well enough on their own and then brand it for the masses, it loses is authenticity and luster. Mass-marketing implicitly means erasing the delicacy of detail. It means taking the sacred and making it pedestrian. It means taking an idea and making it an image.

Sigh...I can't say with all the hubbub about Americans drinking tea that I am all that surprised that some conglomeration would catch on.

Tea has been around for 1000's of years. For the rest of the world it is wrapped in a ritual or culture that appreciates tea from the province it's grown in, and the way it's harvested and processed to the way in which is brewed and enjoyed.....And then there's America....the fast-food nation....Snapple: the McDonaldization of tea.


JP Saleeby, MD said...

Great Blog. Mind if I leave an article link on tea?



Anonymous said...

I know how close tea is to your sensibilities so I'm going to very politely disagree that Snapple's choices are a bigger statement about the mass consumption (and thus degredation) of tea in this country. Mass consumption and production have been going on forever in the US: Boston Tea Party? Tetley, Lipton (crappy leaves and stems for the masses), Arizona iced tea (crappy tea mixed with fruit)...tea has been consumed in this country much longer than coffee has. And herbal teas and fruity mixes are a huge market and have been for more than 20 years (celestial seasonings? - more low-quality tea mixed with spices)

Spend some time in the south. I didn't know water existed by itself because of all the fresh brewed iced tea I grew up drinking.

I really don't think much will change because of snapple's choices nor do I think this is a larger statement on tea in our country - crappy tea has been mass produced for a long time.

Madam Potts said...

Too true, too true...it DOES seem a ridiculous statement that tea is suddenly being descended upon by a conglomeration producing less than quality product...in my fury at the Snapple announcement, I spun off this entry. I am lgad I have such acute readership that would call it as they see it!

Thanks! Mad. Potts

Benjamin said...

Well I know one person who wont support conglamo- yours-truely... I will continue to buy loose leaf teas, as a matter-of-fact, I'm even looking into opening a small (non-chain) loose leaf tea shop/bar, where I will not only sell, but educate people about teas, and hopefully make more people interested in the history and tradition wrapped around it :)

The Simple Leaf said...

Nice post. I see your anger at Snapple, however, I tend to view the entry of the "big guys" as a good thing. The industry as a whole needs some of the big players with the big marketing dollars to make tea more widespread in the US. Starbucks did the same for coffee, and now look at the number of independent roasters of *really* good coffee. The same thing is happening (although slower) with tea. There's a nice article about this new trend in The Economist. I also blogged about it earlier. At the end of the day, I think if people are made aware of tea, they will continue to seek out high quality alternatives to the big tea companies. Just my 2 cents.