Stupid is as Government does.

I have accidentally come across a plan to grow green tea in Western Australia. There’s a paper on in, presumably done by an agricultural scientist.

This particular scientist could not find this own backside with both hands.

Here’s the first sentence:

The tea plant belongs to the Theaceae family and is closely related to the ornamental species ofCamellia (japonicareticulata and sasanqua). The leaves are evergreen, dark glossy green and the white flowers are of small to medium size. The plant is a shrub or a small tree in its natural state, but in commercial gardens it is kept at about one metre high by periodic harvesting. Tea is processed from the immature shoots.

What’s interesting about that? Well for starters, it doesn’t have any factual errors. That really makes it stand out in this report.

Next up we have:

Tea is one of the most important beverages in the World. There are two main types of tea. World production of green tea (Camellia sinensis sinensis) is about 500,000 tonnes and black tea (Camellia sinensis assamica) is about 1,600,000 tonnes.

As we say in Australia, “What. The. Farrrrrrrrrqqqqq”

It’s over 200 years since we figured this one out, guys. It’s the same plant, you moron.

And then:

Green tea is smaller and slower growing and has more distinct serrations on the edges of the leaves than black tea. Green tea has only three to four flushes of active shoot growth per year, whereas black tea is grown in warmer climates and flushes for a longer period. Green tea has more cold tolerance than black tea and requires a dormant period to produce the important first flush in mid to late spring.

Good Lord.

We then have this bit, which starts with a fact, and then, well:

There is also a difference in processing. Green tea is steamed to prevent fermentation and then dried. It therefore results in a drink that is yellow to green and milk and sugar are not added. Black tea is

fermented and dried, thereby producing a brown drink. It is more bitter than green tea, due to higher levels of tannins and flavanols and many people need to add flavourings to make it palatable.

Oh , dear. I wonder how this introduction will end.

Green tea originated from south-western China and has been used as a beverage and medicine in China since 2700 BC. Britain imported Green tea from China for over 200 years. About 1830 AD, the British discovered native black tea plants in their colony in India, where cheap labour allowed large scale plantations. Its proximity to Europe by sea, also made it cheaper to produce than buying green tea from China. The British therefore changed from drinking green tea to black tea for these reasons. They have since controlled the world marketing of black tea.

I can say no more. If a high school student handed this up as a one page project it would get 2/10, mainly for having no spelling errors and ruling neat lines.

It is RANK incompetence, and if I were a Western Australian, i would demand that the entire government resign, and join their previous colleagues in prison.

Except that this paper was produced in 2001, and the government there has changed about 6 times since anyway.



  1. And to follow up, here’s how far they got in a decade (second half of article)

  2. Well the poor scientist has probably never had a cup of tea in his life. Perhaps he read that green tea is most commonly (made) from the Camelia sinensis var sinensis plant and thought that “Cs var s” was therefore a green tea plant. If you replace his “green tea” references with “Camelia sinensis var sinensis” and his “black tea” references with Camelia sinensis var assamica then you’re getting pretty close.

  3. Nice, you tell ’em

  4. No excuses, @jackie. A good public flogging is the only reaction that makes sense.