Is “Dust” tea bag a garbage?

During the lesson today, I was asked to give my opinion about the comment made by other tea sommeliers that tea bag made from “Dust” as garbage.  I really grateful for this question, because it gives me a chance to clear my thoughts and deepen my own learning.

Even though tea bags, certainly those flavoured tea bags, are never on my favour list, but I respect it can be a choice of other people.  Because I do think we all have to be fair and respect to each others.  I think before we put the Yes or No answer on the table, we must first establish a clear definition about what garbage is:

If we used the definition of garbage as interchangeably with municipal solid waste, an unwanted or undesired material or substance discarded by residents; then definitely we shouldn’t describe tea bags made from the “Dust’ quality grading as ‘garbage’.  Becase “Dust” is the remaining from the quality grading process but nothing dirty or waste that should be decomposed.

The tea quality grading is not just limited of how tea leaves were picked, actually the process of how tea was made is playing an even more important role to define the quality gradings afterwards. The highest grades are always whole leaves with the least percentage (%) of broken leaves, the quality grading goes lower when there are more broken leaves, then to the  “BOP”, “Fannings”, “CTC” to “Dust”.  That’s often people are confused why there are huge price variances for the same type of tea with the same name because of different quality grading.

Indeed the “Dust” is the lowest quality grading, of course I won’t call the “Dust” quality as the “Best Quality” but we shouldn’t confuse it as unless or undesired material or substance that should be discharged as municipal solid waste because people still can consume this quality grading tea.

Tea teaches us to be humble and honest, so let’s start with the correct and respectful attitude because choosing which quality grade is nothing but a simple choice that one makes in her/his life style.