ORIGIN: SOUTH KOREA A Buddhist tea maker at the HADONG WILD TEA FESTIVAL.
50 | AUGUST 2018 » freshcup.com
It’s also why the next generation doesn’t want his job. “It’s hard to get enough labor, especially with young people,” Lee tells me. Making tea isn’t glamorous work, non-stop phone calls notwithstanding. Lee’s shoulders ache constantly from the work. By the end of harvest season he’s exhausted, both mentally and physically. Even his son is hesitant to take over the business. If he leaves, he’ll end a family lineage of high-end, profitable tea makers. But Lee says he’s okay with that because he knows from his own near-escape 30 years ago, this business isn’t for everyone. “You have to be stubborn to be a tea maker,” he says. When I ask if he’ll be attending the Hadong Wild Tea Festival two weeks later, he waves it off. Maybe this is part of his stubbornness, or maybe he wants to give the valley’s other growers a chance. Tea makers like Lee cast a big shadow.
South Korea's Jiri Mountain tea, sourcing green coffee, shrubs, and cold brew safety