To those who claim as tea experts or tea lovers, it is important to respect the fundamental moral principle – Honesty. It starts from being truthful with information they share and quality of tea they try to sell or to promote. Indeed there are many legendary stories in tea, Among these stories, the most ridiculous one that I’ve heard these days probably was “Monkey Picked Tea”.
“Monkey Picked Tea”??? ‘ “Ancient Buddhist monks trained monkey to pick young leaves“. Wah, what a fascinated fiction story that is more exciting than the Hollywood “Monkey Planet” movie. I hope these “tea experts” can provide more specific information, for example from where this legendary story was coming from? China? Thailand or India or Sri Lanka? Where was this place exactly? When did it happen, in which period of time in human history? What is the name of that magic Buddhist temple???? Were there anyone have ever tried to train the natural wild monkeys to pick tea????? Really? Seriously !
When I searched for similar information on line and I found another tea tutorial site wrote on their web site that “Monkey-picked tea is a term used today to denote high-quality tea”. My heart ache when I read about this definition, because I really do not understand if these people realize the shameful damage by spreading such ‘definition’ actually is an unbelievable and ugly insult to those hard working tea pickers. Anyone who has actually visited tea plantation(s) and has seen how teas were picked by hard-working tea pickers, men or women, who were fully covered up in order to protect themselves against the heating sun. Indeed these handy tea pickers can pick and move very fast because of experience and skills, but how can anyone compare playful wild monkeys with those skillful and experienced hard working men and women?
Another question from a FB friend: I heard monkeys help Indian people to pick coconuts. Have you ever heard of it ?
Indeed I’ve found some photos that monkeys were on the coconuts tree in Thailand. Frankly speaking I don’t know whether these monkeys were really trained to pick coconuts, but definitely it was not something based on the respect of the playful and wild nature of monkeys. Besides picking coconuts is very different from picking tea leaves. There are photos of monkeys playing and sitting on trees but there is no physical evident about actuarial picking tea leaves.
©copyrighted Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre, +32-494506899 firstname.lastname@example.org