I love Tea and I never set out to sell it, in fact I resisted it for a very long time. It’s become clear to me however that good meditation Tea is not very accessible to the western market. By selling it I wish to give access to many people that can benefit from it in the same way I benefitted.
- If I sell you something it’s because I drank it, had a deep “enlightening” experience, and genuinely thought it would be a kind thing to share it with others. I also believe its price/value ratio is at minimum good, at best exceptional.
- I’ll be honest, transparent and I will assume you are too. No marketing tricks, no misleading and open to feedback
- Love of Tea and wish for all beings to be enlightened will always come before profit
- I’ll forever be learning. I’m not a tea expert or connoisseur but a lover of Tea. I dedicate my life to it as a student and particularly I wish to commune with the leaf in deep meditation, not to know all vintages and flavours
- No inducing panic buying. Would I feel good if somebody bought some tea from me and regretted it? No, so I will do what I can to prevent it from happening
To be clear: there are some vendors I trust to do the same even though they’ve never explicitly stated it, I’m not that special and you shouldn’t trust me more just because of this, make your own judgements.
This “code of conduct” is actually more for myself than anything else, I wouldn’t feel comfortable selling Tea without it.
I want to keep enjoying Tea as I did before, and being explicit about what I’m doing helps me always remember why I’m doing this to start with: make Tea accessible and help many have some peace and contentment, the business side of things is only the mean to achieve this goal.
When I’m centered I know very well that trying to “get” anything (be it money, fame, etc) from people outside me only leads to suffering.
But I, like most, can forget in the heat of the moment (copying others, being stressed, trying to do something quickly, thinking too much about money), so I invite you to keep me accountable to this set of promises if ever you feel I’m failing them. However if you wish to do so, I ask you to do it kindly and wishing me well, not as a way of harming.
The promises may change in time as I learn and evolve (probably change in wording but not so much in spirit), but of course until they’re actually changed I consider myself accountable to them.
Here’s a list of some more things I won’t do as a vendor.
Why .org? Is it a non-profit?
Sort of. “Social enterprise” might be a better definition.
At the moment the shop is very much a labour of love. We have the lowest markups I know of for ‘curator’ vendors, and given the amount of work in selecting Tea, sampling, packing etc, I’d be surprised if we’d ever achieve the UK living wage selling Tea.
Even that is likely years in the future, at the moment we’re running at a loss. I hope things will change but for the moment it feels right to have faith that if we do something we love, that’s enough. (And we’re very lucky to have day jobs which affords us this luxury!)
Long term, we’d prefer most of our efforts to go into face-to-face tea ceremony and teaching, but we recognise how important it is to provide affordable great meditation Tea particularly to the UK/European “spiritual” tea community. Let’s see what will happen…
Where do you source your Tea?
We use a combination of asian dealers, private collectors and Paolo’s own tea teachers, the most exciting stuff coming from teachers and private collectors because they have Teas they really love, is stored well and they generally like our mission so the pricing they offer is very friendly.
We travel to Asia frequently (covid permitting) to drink Tea with experts and various shops and private collectors.
How do you select your Teas?
Among a large list of available Tea (thousands and thousands of cakes, just for the time periods we focus on), we select some samples based on the look on the leaves, what we know about the producer and the dealer/collector storage.
We try it once at first, then drink it a few times in silent tea ceremony to make sure it’s got the “wow” quality to it (and we don’t have a similar tea available for a better price).
This is quite long process as we can generally only drink 1 tea a day in this focused meditative manner and less than 1 in 20 Tea that we sample end up on the website. Out of the all the pre-2000s puerh we’re shown, we end up offering around 1 in 100.
Why do you focus on one category (aged puerh with quite specific storage) only?
I (Paolo) love it! As far as I’m concerned this is not a business operation but a way of sharing my love of this kind of Tea.
There’s a lot more good Tea out there in different categories, but I don’t have the time to sample it and be sure I love it with the same amount of dedication I put into aged puerh.
This may change over time, and if you come to the Temple in person or ask me I can share other kinds of Tea too, but for a more public offering I want to be as sure as I can that what I offer is among the very best Tea available (at the various price points).