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Part III of the interview with Nigel Melican

February 10, 2011

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The third and final part of my interview with Nigel Melican is now posted on Cha Dao. Excerpted:

Cinnabar: The attempts at growing one place’s regionally-specific tea in a different location seem strange to me, because if you’re taking a type of tea varietal and growing it somewhere else, with a totally different climate and different soil conditions, it’s not going to taste the same. It seems like the more reasonable approach, rather than trying to reproduce a traditional kind of tea in a new place, would be to figure out what works best under the new conditions, and represent the tea as a new type, but perhaps that’s not as marketable.

Nigel Melican: If you look at consumers, they often go for what they know. Someone who knows a Sencha will always, given an unknown tea or the old-fashioned one that they know and love, they’ll choose the one they know and love. But you’re right, that’s what they ought to do, and it’s what I push people in Africa to do, to take the plants that they were growing for CTC tea, and do wonderful things with it.

The fellow in the photo above is certainly a handsome little frog, but you wouldn’t want him darting among the young leaves of your tea plants. He is a Phantasmal Poison Frog (Epipedobates tricolor), one of the poisonest of the poison arrow frogs.

The photograph is from Wikimedia Commons. The reason that this post is accompanied by a photo of a frog will be evident if you read the last part of the interview.

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