Many of my friends and family have wondered about my 180 degree shift from high tech, B2B (business-to-business) marketing to tea, a low tech, B2C (business-to-consumer) agricultural product. Have I always been into tea? Looking back I see a few different tea phases in my life:
Phase 1: In high school and college, I was a very occasional drinker of black tea made from tea bags and instant iced tea in the summer. Like most Americans my beverages of choice were soda pop, juice and milk. I guess it’s no surprise that tea is the 7th most popular beverage in the US.
Phase 2: When I studied abroad and lived in Japan, I discovered the Japanese tea ritual. I’m referring to the traditional tea ceremony as well as the everyday routine of drinking tea. Many people start with a cup of green tea at home and then they drink several more cups at work. In the schools and government offices where I worked, one person was usually in charge of serving tea several times a day, and often it was served with a traditional Japanese sweet or cookie. They also drink tea with lunch and dinner, and you can even buy hot or iced tea in cans from vending machines wherever you go. As I discovered living in Japan and traveling to other countries in Asia, it’s no wonder that tea is the #2 beverage in the world, right after water.
Phase 3: When I returned to the US, I drank a wider variety of tea but the majority was made from tea bags from the grocery store. I enjoyed trying new flavors and often bought whatever was on sale. As I made the shift to more organic, whole foods, I also made it a priority to buy more organic tea (another post on that topic later).
Phase 4: One day I was brainstorming business ideas with my friend, Anne. She specializes in collectible books and specialty textbooks, and we rattled off ideas of products that go well with books. Of course tea and chocolate were at the top of our list. So off we went to learn as much as we could about tea. I took a two day certification class about tea from the Specialty Tea Institute, attended a Tea Business Boot Camp, looked for interesting teas and products at the World Tea Expo and drank LOTS of tea. Anne decided to stick to books, and I roped Will into launching our online tea business and tea of the month club. Actually I think he’s enjoying learning about tea along with me and has even switched from drinking coffee and diet pop to tea! The kids roll their eyes when we talk about tea at dinner and have not yet converted, but I predict they will in due time.
Phase 5: Who knows where this tea journey will take me? Actually I do know it’s taking me to Chicago next week for a two day class on black tea. But I hope it takes me on many more adventures while I discover more wonderful teas and accessories. I hope you’ll join me!