by Daniel Wu and Evelyn Shi
The world is going through harsh times due to COVID-19, whether that be politically, economically, or even on smaller more personal levels. Everyone is doing their best to keep their friends and families safe—even in a village as secluded as Xiaohusai.
“The coronavirus has definitely had an impact on our daily lives. Business-wise, tea prices have fallen, and we can't sell all of our tea,” said Zhang Ruihong, the father of one of our scholarship recipients. For many farmers, their only means of supporting their family has been crippled.
On the bright side, because Xiaohusai is located quite rurally, there have been no cases of COVID-19 in the village. The nearest case was in Lincang, a city 2-3 hours away from Xiaohusai. Zhang Xiaowang, the father of another family we are sponsoring, said, “We all wear masks here and wash our hands frequently.” Other families in the village are also being very careful.
Schools around Xiaohusai closed for three months due to the virus, but the children of Xiaohusai haven’t stopped their education. Zhang Ruihong’s children have been taking online classes: “While school was closed, my daughter, Shunyuan, learned using a cell. My younger son, Shunjie, was assigned homework in his textbook through WeChat messages his teacher sent... Good thing we have phones.”
Lately, things have been looking up in Xiaohusai as China slowly reopens. A few weeks ago, schools reopened around the village. Dao Xiaowu, the mother of two of our scholarship recipients, said, “I make sure the kids wear masks when they go to school.” Like many parents, Zhang Xiaowang has resumed his responsibility of dropping off his kids and picking them up from school every weekend. His younger daughter, a 2nd grader, just started boarding school this year. “So now they are back to school, but they’re 10 kilometers away every week,” he says with a bittersweet grin.
by Evelyn Shi
We've recently been featured on Citizen.C! Our efforts to drive social change through tea are highlighted in this article:
Check it out!
by Daniel Wu
If someone asked you, “what country consumes the most tea?” Some obvious answers you may think of are China, or the United Kingdom. But what about Paraguay? As of 2017 Paraguay consumes 12.22kg of tea per capita per year while China doesn’t even make it into the top twenty, consuming only 0.92kg per capita. But this is still a lot of tea, about two ounces of tea leaves can brew up to thirty servings which means that the average Chinese citizen consumes about 525 servings of tea each year and the average person in Paraguay consumes about 6,300 servings of tea each year. That’s 17 servings of tea each day!
You can brew up to fifteen servings of tea with thirty grams of our tea, which costs thirty yuan, or four dollars and twenty-six cents. If the entirety of China bought from Xiaohusai, we could make about four hundred and sixty-two billion yuan, that’s about sixty-five billion dollars that would be going towards scholarships for the children in Xiaohusai. But that is an absolutely ludicrous amount of money that would go towards funding a small operation like Xiaohusai, but even if Madagascar (which only consumes 0.02kg of tea per capita) bought from Xiaohusai, two million dollars would be going to children in need of education.
Of course, the purpose of this article isn’t to get the world to fund a small village in the mountains of Yunnan. But there’s a definite need for your support, every purchase matters. By buying from us, you aren’t giving your money to a faceless corporation that may or may not spend your money fictitiously. Instead, you are giving your money to a couple of high schoolers! Much better. But all jokes aside, you can really make a difference, you can watch the children that you’re helping grow by checking up on our blog or by stalking our Instagram, and every summer our team goes to Xiaohusai to further help the children there and keep you updated. Whether buying a t-shirt or sharing our Instagram account, everything helps.
By Claire Hou
We would be inclined to think of loose leaf tea as the more traditional, “better” way to brew tea. Or others may think that there is no difference at all– it’s just tea. However, there are some unseen upsides and downsides to both methods.
Both tea leaves and bags contain the same components, but the key difference is how they react when exposed to heat. Tea is a great source of micronutrients and antioxidants, and the question is which one of the two has the maximum amount of these active compounds.
According to Dr. Anju Sood, a nutritionist, “if you are looking for an authentic way of having tea, I would suggest that you should always prefer a tea bag and not leaves because the excessive brewing can raise the pH levels of the tea, causing several health problems."
Tea bags, as opposed to tea leaves, are made with smaller broken leaves and pieces of tea. Since they are cut smaller, they are thought to enhance the extraction process of bioactive compounds. The crux, however, is more about brewing the tea properly. Not brewing tea correctly or for the right amount of time might lead you to miss out on a variety of bioactive compounds. (Read more at https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/tea-leaves-or-tea-bags-which-ones-a-healthier-option-1820829)
But here is where it starts to get complicated! Recent studies have found that plastic tea bags shed billions of microplastic particles into the cut when they are steeped. A NewScientist article reports that “a Canadian team found that steeping a plastic tea bag at a brewing temperature of 95˚C releases around 11.6 billion microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic between 100 nanometers and 5 millimeters in size – into a single cup.”
While more research and experiments are needed to understand health impacts in humans, we need to be aware of what we are consuming. Learn to smart about your tea drinking habits– use a paper tea bag or prepare your loose leaf tea with a metal steeper!
Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2217483-plastic-tea-bags-shed-billions-of-microplastic-particles-into-the-cup/#ixzz66lNTpMIt
Welcome to Spill the Tea, Xiaohusai's blog! In every article, we spill the tea about... tea recipes, project updates, and everything in between.