But the tranquil scene engrained in consumers’ minds is a stark contrast to the conditions endured by many tea plantation workers.
“The pretty pictures we see on shiny boxes of tea or adverts are incredibly different to reality – even on many ethically certified plantations,” explains Genevieve LeBaron, a Professor of Politics from the University of Sheffield who has dedicated years of research to the investigation of global supply chains and forced labour.
“Many tea workers lack basic necessities like water, toilets, housing, and sufficient food. Plantations can be very isolated, and while plantation owners have an obligation to provide and maintain these services and goods, in practice, they often don’t. Tea workers are paid so little that they have no other way to secure these things themselves.
“Instead of the picturesque, serene and happy environments we consumers like to envisage, for many workers tea plantations are harsh and difficult places to work.”