That I seemed to love tea, the cashier of my local supermarket noticed. A fairly unusual conversation starter, where it not that he could impossibly ignore the obvious fact: I had a cart with only green tea, 140 tea bags of green tea, more precisely.
I do love tea, that is out of the question, but I was not planning on living this week on a diet of 20 cups of green tea a day. On the contrary, I only allowed myself to drink one of these 140, just to get the taste of it.
The suspicious pile of green tea has a role in a little experiment in Sweden this summer. We will participate – again, for those who recall last year – in the creation of a global tea bag index, an index that gives decomposition rates in all kinds of soils based on how fast bags of tea decompose.
That might sound a bit shady, but it is in fact really strong in its simplicity. If everybody uses the same tea and protocol, we can perfectly compare how different soils and soil organisms handle these samples. The result will be an outstanding dataset on a global scale with easily comparable data, and that makes me very excited.
Aim is to use both green tea and rooibos tea, as both types have a different ratio of carbon and nitrogen, important nutrients in defining the decomposition speed. Sadly for me, none of my local supermarkets sell this Lipton rooibos tea!
They do sell some other fancy tastes, like ‘Strawberry cupcake’, but I am not completely sure if they would pass the scientific jury…
So I am currently still on a hunt for 140 bags of Lipton rooibos tea, to make another cashier doubt my sanity.
Interesting project! Haven’t heard about anything like this in the media… But please leave some of my favorite green tea in the stores for me 😉
It is not well covered in the media, that’s true, but maybe it will as soon as results are out. Although I understood there are places were they even ask citizens to participate and bury some tea!
Great post! and what a great study! Will you be measuring the mean N and P content of the bags before starting?
This is done at the global level, our contribution is very basic, only the weight. It keeps the project cheap and doable for everybody everywhere 🙂