Tea is the New Wine

Welcome to the Global Tea Renaissance.

With a single sip from a humble cup, together, we embark on the most exciting, healthful, delicious and revolutionary journey of discovery in our lifetime. Tea is experiencing a massive shift in global awareness that will fundamentally change how every one of us views this glorious infused beverage.

Comparing tea and wine is not a novel notion; more precisely we are ready today to explore and experience this tea moment because of our experience with wine. Wine served as our sipping apprenticeship.

In 1976, it was widely known that the world’s best wines were made in France. In those days the wine world was dominated by connoisseurs and wine geeks, sommeliers and snobs. The near universal consensus: the best wines were Grand Cru, a French label for “best of the best.”

That year, a British wine merchant, who sold only French wines, organized The Paris Wine Tasting. The event promised to be a celebration of the mastery and domination of the French wine industry. Dozens of experts and leaders in the field were scheduled to gather and drink the world’s finest wines. The eleven judges were all French with impeccable vines credentials.

Two premier categories of varietals were judged: A white and a red (Bordeaux from France and Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Chardonnay from each).

This event is now known as the “Judgement of Paris.” In blind tastings the California wines were judged superior to the greatest wines from France. Little-known California vintners placed far ahead of vintages from Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and Chateau Haut-Brion. It was a shock. To the French it was a horror. To the Americans, it was seismic. It was the genesis of the wine world we live in today. We can directly trace to that very moment in Paris how attitudes and perceptions about American wine changed, and more specifically when our love affair of food and wine had its inception.

Think of your personal relationship to wine. When you first discovered wine and how you learned to appreciate it. Most importantly, retrace how you learned about wine and why a particular wine became your favorite. Do you drink wine with meals? Do you gift wine to friends? Do you have a collection in a wine fridge?

Now, imagine reliving and rediscovering that awakening, education and discovery (without a hangover). It is time for Grand Cru Tea.

Similar to that seismic moment in Paris, this is the “no going back” moment for tea; The Golden Age of Global Tea. We can trace it to specific events like the emergence of fine tea vendors and the explosion of options online, compounded by our own readiness thanks to our wine education.

Today superior teas exist but they are scarce, produced in finite quantities. From the most respected tea producing regions of the world, these are teas so exquisite and rare they never leave the town where they are produced (or get past the highest levels of government). There was no need for big budgets to market these teas, no deep-pocket multi-national corporations to bag them and box them for grocery shelves. There was not sufficient demand, or supply.

Prior to the Judgement in Paris and sadly, for a long time afterword, the best wine was scarce. Much of the wine commercially available to the consumer at that time was comparatively inferior to the finest Grand Cru. First sips of wine piqued the interest. Then came, tasting, education, exploration and passion. Along the way, quality was discovered and served as context for all other sips.

A similarly exciting, remarkable tasting journey lies ahead. Discover passion in a cup, a new favorite tea, the very ones Tea Journey will feature for you to select, source and prepare, most for less than $2.50 a pot vs 6-cents per teabag. Everyone has sipped tea: hot or cold, black or green, sweet or unsweetened. With few exceptions, these sips were nothing at all like the Grand Cru Teas awaiting your discovery.

About Jennifer English

Jennifer English

Jennifer English has been a culinary broadcaster for over 20 years winning the prestigious James Beard Award for her work on The Food & Wine Radio Network. Jennifer has twice been honored by the American Women in Media with the Gracie Allen Award for her deeply personal interviews and conversations with the world's leading tastemakers.

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