In April, the warm weather returns to Taiwan. With the sun, guests start arriving from around the world - their smiles reminding us why we work so hard. Our vision is crystalizing in every way, towards a bigger, more-permanent center we all look towards with a sense of home. This magazine is a further extension of that spirit. We hope that our smiles show up in these envelopes, so that you open them as you would open your door to find us on your stoop. Do you see all the love printed on these pages? And in the tea you'll drink before/ after reading the articles? And we hope that you also see each other's influence in Global Tea Hut. Our mutual love for tea brought us together to learn and share, grow and expand. But a college isn't just a place where you study with people who share your interests; it's also where you meet some of your lifelong friends, maybe even your wife or husband. Similarly, may this be so much more than a magazine to you. May it also be a meeting place for friends, brothers and sisters (and maybe even a tea party or two!).
Global Tea Hut is starting to look a lot more like the final form we have always envisioned, at least in terms of outer appearance. We hope to continue improving, traveling more to seek out new and interesting tea stories, journalism as well as exciting teas we've all never tasted. We also hope to start connecting organic farmers with a love of Nature, promoting and expanding the market for more sustainable tea production. Most of these betterments are content-based, though. We have achieved our goals of printing in full color, having better packaging that protects the tea while maintaining a cost that allows us to utilize the majority of your contributions towards maintaining our free tea center in Taiwan.
This brings us to an important point in our discussion: How do you feel about the more "finished" product? Is it great enough to share with your friends? Do you already tell everyone who loves tea about Global Tea Hut? What aspects of the experience do you think could be further improved? Are there any glaring defects? At this stage, we are still growing our community, so it's important that we get your feedback. In fact, your comments are as valuable to us now as your help promoting this experience. We earnestly want to make this the best tea magazine in the world, and therefore thirst for any criticism that can help us improve. We want tea lovers throughout the West to pick up a copy of this magazine on your coffee table and immediately start asking about it. And we believe these goals are attainable. What's more, our movement is driven by the selfless work of volunteers who recognize that the true spirit of tea is one of sharing!
We have also realized another important way we can begin to connect you to each other, and see each other reflected in your individual journeys. Many people in this hut are creative, working in so many different media. If any of you are involved in a project or create small artworks that you would like to share as the GTH gift one month, we think that everyone here would love to receive that - just like we all prefer handmade gifts, made with love, to store-bought ones. In that way, we also see the tea spirit in each other's creative works! Any artists, musicians, poets or photographers who would like to share their craft with this community, feel free to contact us!
Speaking of artisanal crafts, in the tea world, harvests are starting all over Asia. Farmers and pickers are working very hard, plucking leaves by hand in the morning sun. They won't sleep much once the harvest begins, as their livelihood will to a great degree depend on their spring harvest. Remember that every tea is someone's sweaty bandana, scuffed knees, blood and sweat, heart and soul. You respect that by devoting yourself to the brewing and drinking with gratitude for their work and Great Nature, and by extending your heart to the last part of the process, as you share their tea with the people you care about. We are doing just that. You are the people we care about!
It always feels as if the activity of the harvests and production, the attention and devotion paid to Tea at this time of year lends our tea sessions a sense of gravity. And why wouldn't it? The fact that so many people around the world are out at this very moment in honor of Tea brings Her joy, and She smiles at us through our bowls - straight into our hearts. Besides looking around the Hut with a smile to your brothers and sisters assembled here, let us also raise a bowl of this month's tea to all the farmers and pickers out there working so hard today. In honoring our tea, we honor them as well.
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