A constant friend from my close tea friend group, as his wife puts it "the Imen's tea family", came to me after the Pasadena Tea Festival event was over, said something heartfelt to me.
Tea operation is about business, selling a product. So is my goal, everyone has a family to feed even if a family of one. But as we grow with the business, the knowledge of the product contents separates the business itself from personal growth. Knowing all the paper worthy info about a bunch of teas, region, geology, season, cultivation, processing, maker, grades, etc is fundamental. All of which are hard facts, researchable.
With the convenience of being in the industry, a tea operator usually have more access to other related information which can further enhance tea enjoyment at a social setting or personal level. The extensiveness of such understand and living in part in a broader horizon sets one from the pure professional operation.
The only way to do something well is when one is doing it for oneself, from within, not an outward show-off. Like the essence of a tea leaf, quietly unleashing the richness only when we need it. The richer the essence, the shinier it will be, physical being cannot conceal the wealth of such substance.
Tea has long been a philosophical subject in Chinese culture, it's beyond Zen, it's beyond tea ceramony, beyond any form of ritual. It's a way of living, which is the most fundamental of human philosophy. It is the law of nature, a universal Daoism. The interaction between men and a leaf is a very basic exchange of energy, creation and consumtion in industrial terms. Taken away the desire of ownership, the end result of any relationship between human, or plant, animal, water, verbal or physical contact are all universally nothing more than exchange of energy, good and bad energy, whether consciously or subconsciously aware of such exchange. Conscious awareness can magnify and intensify the experience, be it positive or negative experience. It takes conscious awareness to choose what is good for you, the right diet, the right tea, the right partner. The sensation should come within, processed within, even inspirations comes externally.