Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

What's in a Cuppa?

Sarah Besky

Winter 2020 - What's in a Cuppa?

 

 

The scientific effort to rescue the tannin was at the same time a late colonial doubling down on the indispensability of a bonded labour force that would delicately pluck those “two leaves and a bud” and solidify the reputation of plantation tea as “good tea.” The image of the brown fingers of Nepali, Adivasi, or Tamil women gently pulling away the tender sprigs of tea – an image that still graces the packages of countless tea brands today – is also a product of imperial science …


Bio:

Sarah Besky is a cultural anthropologist and Associate Professor in the departments of International and Comparative Labor and Labor Relations, Law, and History in the ILR School at Cornell University. She is the author of The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (University of California Press, 2014) and Tasting Qualities: The Past and Future of Tea (University of California Press, 2020).