Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka: The Importance of Ethical Tea Partnerships and Long Term Relationships
Thursday, 27 December 2012
Previously, we shared that Cindi Bigelow was heading to Sri Lanka to explore tea fields and tea auctions. Cindi shared her first full day and her experience of a tea auction. Today Cindi shares the importance of long term and ethical tea partnerships.
After attending the tea auction, we had lunch with Dushy Perera, the head of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), one of the organizations in the world working with the farms to ensure good practices both for employees and the fields.
He was fascinating and is doing such great work. I am proud to say that all of the gardens we use in Sri Lanka are a part of this program. Dushy has been in the tea business for 40 years. Can you imagine his knowledge and passion to keep this beautiful industry strong and sustainable?
From there we went to visit another valued partner, Finlays, to continue our education of the Sri Lankan tea industry. The meeting was exceptionally touching to me because our time together started off with the long-time manager and friend to my family, Romesh Croos Moraes, who shared how much respect he had for three generations of the Bigelow family. He said we were known for our unrelenting high standards for only the finest of their teas, and how much it meant to him being a man who truly loves tea and the tea industry. Romesh told me how he always tells his team to never compromise when buying tea for the Bigelows. He tells them “they are real tea people. They know their tea.” Needless to say, he and I had tears in our eyes. There was a level of learning about what my family has meant to the tea industry that, to be honest, I didn’t fully realize until this moment. Of course I know my parents deserve all the credit for this rich relationship with these dedicated tea experts. And I know my parents have outstanding reputations in the industry. But this was still eye opening for me to listen to his words. Romesh was so sincere and so delighted that we came to see him, it was extremely touching.
After an unforgettable few hours, we had to say our good byes as we still had one more event to fit in!