Coronavirus Experience. Changing Work Environment in Iran, France & Australia

We continue a series of posts in which Tea Masters from around the world share their experience of work in the pandemic.

Mary Jane Hua. Winner of TMCI Tea Preparation 2018. Head trainer and barista at Ocean Grind. Torquay, Australia

Currently with the government regulations the Cafe is temporarily closed, but the roastery is keeping our ‘daily grind alive’ (I am very lucky, that I still have a job). At this stage we can still serve takeaway coffees, but it won’t be long until they shut it down.

But… We know that Coffee is a daily essential for most people and our mission is to continue the production of wholesale & retail beans and have it available online for our loyal customers & consumers. We believe that coffee, like tea — is a wonderful product that can be enjoyed from the comfort of our homes.

We hope to create an online store that not only sells coffee, but offers special features like online training and tutorials that will provide access to new brewing equipment and on hand brewing recipes.

And even though our Nation is heading into lockdown & the panic around us is real — The support from our Surf Coast community has been phenomenal — without them we would be unemployed.

Meysam Asadi. Winner of TMC Iran Tea Preparation 2019. Sunup Tea Company. Urmia, Iran

Unfortunately, the pandemic has made an impact on our business. Sales of commercial tea have decreased, but sales of herbal teas, which are considered good for health and strengthening immune system, have increased.

We haven’t started harvesting tea leaves so far, so we can’t really speak about things connected with tea production yet, but we predict problems here as well.

Florian Aumaire. 3rd prize winner of TMCI Tea Pairing 2018. Lyon, France

I was to sign papers for opening my new tea shop last Wednesday. Everything was postponed. I’m just staying at home, drinking good teas with my wife, reading and writing things for my shop and doing some tea times on Skype with friends. Just to talk to have a human link. The tea is always a good thing to meet people, it’s a bridge between people.

All shops are closed except supermarkets. Tea shops are closed, because they can’t control the secure distance between people in the shop. So all business is done online. And nobody knows for how long. But it’s harder and harder to send anything by post.

On the bright side, there’s a hope, because a lot of people learn how to slow down with this crazy life.

What’s really important! Take a breath, drink a good tea, ask the people you love how they are doing, ask yourself what’s really important. Maybe this virus will change our life concepts, maybe people will see that we should buy our tea in little shops instead of supermarkets. Maybe something will change in our minds, a new way of consumption that make sense for the taste, for the producers, the environment… Maybe I’m just dreaming alone tasting my teas and playing saxophone 1 hour everyday with the thanks from my neighbors (they send me messages), maybe I’m a dreamer with a cup of tea…

Hassan Afshari. TMC Iran National Coordinator. Tehran, Iran

I use this time as a good opportunity to help and train people who want to learn more about tea. Every day we record a video about different types of tea and introducing different ways to make tea and use accessories.