Steep up a little dust lately?

read on… odds are, if you’re a US tea drinker, you probably have :(

I did a double take then I first saw this headline in the Financial Express: “Clean tea, dusts in strong demand” Who’s demanding dust, I wondered… but of course – your best-known tea companies!

From Wikipedia: “Dust tea…Traditionally these were treated as the rejects of the manufacturing process in making high quality leaf tea… has however experienced a huge demand in the developing world in the last century as the practice of tea drinking became popular. Cheap tea stalls in India and the South Asian sub-continent, and Africa prefer dust tea because it is cheap and also produces a very strong brew – consequently more cups are obtained per measure of tea dust.”

Terrific… We Americans and Brits established dust’s popularity, and tea bags made it all possible.  I guess there’s something to be said for the vertical integration and sustainability aspect to being able to use the whole leaf, even the rejects from the manufacturing process ;)

Even the “clean tea” that was in high demand was – fannings!  Fannings are barely a step up from dust. They’re defined in the tea industry as: Dust or very small particles of tea left over after processing. This is the lowest grade of tea. Some auctions, however, include “dust” as an actual grade of tea, namely the one being reported on in our subject article.

Take heart, however, in that you’ll probably never find dust or fanning grade tea in any loose tea product.  From the seven main grades of tea auctioned off, we’re the ones who buy up the top 3 grades. So you can drink up and feel good about it :)

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