Category Archives: 12.How much is Tea Culture worth-Rong-tsang Tsai

How much is Tea Culture worth-Rong-tsang Tsai

How much is Tea Culture worth-Rong-tsang Tsai

茶的文化性值多少钱 How much is Tea Culture worth

蔡荣章-Rong-tsang Tsai

(2002.04茶艺》月刊社论Published in “Tea Art”monthly magazine)

Unlike paintings and music, tea is where its cultural value rests. With paintings and music, the cultural value lies not in the materials, but in the final products. To put it simply, while the worth of tea incorporates its cultural value; paint brushes, colours, and musical instruments and the like, don’t. This concept is what we will be exploring in this chapter.

In the foreword of the Souvenir Programme of the Inaugural Conference on the Study of Tea and the 25th Tea Brewing Masters Certificate Presentation Ceremony, President of the Ten Ren and Tianfu Tea Group, Mr Lee Rie-ho brought up the idea of a 20% value  –  that for tea, the cultural elements account for some 20% of the price of the merchandize. The significance of this is not so much the percentage but rather directing our attention to this issue using a concrete number.

Among the many agricultural products, tea is high on its cultural and artistic content. Its flavor4, aroma2, taste3, appearance1 and appeal is refined5, rich and diversified6 while the brewing (in the wider definition of the term) and enjoyment of tea easily gives rise to a second, and a third layer of sensory, aesthetic and creative stimulation. With the former, it is the tea itself, including the tea trees, soil, climate and production method; whereas in the latter, it is the brewing technique, the environment, the experience of drinking and the interaction.

Some people think that in the case of the ‘latter’, those are added values derived from the merchandize; and hence, should not be taken into consideration when it comes to pricing.  However, we must be mindful that what brings about these benefits is generations of tea gurus7 praising tea itself as superior to man’s work on it. Paintings, for instance, are more of man’s creativity rather than the brushes, the colours and the equipment – in this case, man’s input is thousands of times more in terms of value. What’s more, man’s tribute paid to tea has ‘continuously enriched’ and ‘successfully popularized’ the flavor, aroma, taste, appearance and appeal, which incorporate such elements as the tea trees, soil, climate and production methods. For the two benefits of ‘continuous enrichment’ and ‘successful popularization’ alone, ‘Tea’, or ‘its Masters’, will have to pay the price – as 20%, or even 30%, of the cost.

The above derivative costs have to be borne by the producers and consumers, and be reflected in the prices, the same way as the cost of planting, fertilizing and employment of good tea makers are paid for. The fact is. the tea market can hardly be supported by the compliment of tea gurus/consumers alone.

以下为文內之编码Coding in the text:

1 appearance1

2 aroma2

3 taste3

风味4 flavor4

细致5 refined5

丰富与多样化6 rich and diversified6

茶人7 tea gurus7


The aesthetics, character and the state of mind created are not to be undermined in the understanding and enjoyment of tea; and yet, they are the hardest to express.  Writings on thoughts pertaining to tea, regardless of the languages used, remain scarce.   We have attempted to express them in Chinese, with accompanying English translation(Translator:Katherine Yip.2010.01), to elaborate our thoughts as they are. What we want is to share with fellow tea drinkers something more than just the drinking of it. This is, in our opinion, an important contemporary task in promoting the tea culture (Coding in the text is for cross-referencing of academic tea terms). (1597)