Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the tea community. And I mean all of the tea community. From growers, to wholesalers, to vendors, to buyers, and – finally – even to us “humble” bloggers. It seems to be a phenomenon directly related to the year prior.

2015 was a piss-poor year for our favorite cuppa. Many tea growing regions reported lower-than-average bulk sales, Darjeeling especially. Online retailers got their collective asses kicked. And even the megalithic chains had a tough time of it. This all culminated with the announcement that Starbucks would be closing several of its Teavana tea bars.

What does this all mean? Hard to say. But I can tell you all one thing. The backdraft from this slump has been anything but pleasant to witness. Human rights violations on macro tea farms. Questionable marketing practices among vendors. Vendors attacking other vendors. And, of course, everyday tea drinkers getting sucked into all the kerfuffle.

In the immortal words of Lu Yu . . .

Lu Yu redo

Image courtesy of Jo Johnson. Altered by me. (Slightly.)