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Tea & Exploration

For most of us, drinking tea is something we do for pleasure. Yes, it also helps us to wake up and stay alert but we also find pleasure in the preparation and drinking process. It can be a moment of calm or ritual or just a daily task.

Some people depend on tea in a life-or-death situation. In 1999 Helge Henge was the first German women to summit Everest and make it down alive. She was drinking our pu-erh tuocha during the whole trip. She told us that it was an important thing to her -- the warmth and the hydration kept her going. We're happy that she also enjoyed what she was drinking.

Our friend David Breashears, a mountaineer and filmmaker, will take our Assam tea with him on a planned trip across a remote part of northern Tibet. It's a high-altitude desert with an average nighttime temperature of 30 degrees below zero. Each day he will pull his custom made cart with all his food and supplies behind him. A mountain bike company made the cart, and so it is lightweight with disc brakes and a ratcheting system that prevents it from going backward if he loses his footing on a steep grade. He will walk on his own, with no support team in a region devoid of habitation. He won't be carrying any communications equipment with him and so will be out of touch for over a month. He will have enough food for 60 days; each meal is preweighed into Ziploc bags so he can maintain a balanced, nutritional diet throughout the trip. The culinary highlights involve a slice of good cheese with a teaspoon of oil and some dried potato flakes carefully simmered over a small stove. We hope another highlight will be the thermos of Assam tea that he will be brewing every morning and drinking as he explores this unknown landscape.

Travel Diary, 2003

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