Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tea Guy Speaks Survey

How are we doing? What can we do better? What do we need to ditch? Talk to us. Here's the link to a short survey about your interactions with Tea Guy Speaks.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tea Business Spotlight 7 - Tao Tea Leaf

Tao Tea Leaf

Welcome to the seventh of our Tea Business Spotlights, in which we allow tea people to share insights on running their business. If you're a tea business owner and you'd like to take part in an upcoming spotlight, please contact us.

How long have you been in business?
We founded Tao Tea Leaf in September 2009, and have been working full time since December of the same year, when the retail store opened. We already had a rich background of knowledge when it came to tea, and a great relationship with the tea growers and vendors in China. And, of course, we did a lot of research before we started selling tea in Canada.

What is the size/scope of your business?
We are a small business in Toronto. We import the finest teas from China, Japan, India South America and Africa, but we focus on Chinese Tea. Our retail store, Tao Tea Leaf, is located in the fashionable Yorkville/Rosedale area of Toronto. From there, we showcase elegant tea wares, hold educational workshops, host tea ceremonies, celebrate cultural events and organize our Chinese Tea Culture Tour.

Tea Guy Speaks Interview

Yours truly was recently interviewed at the Shade Tree Mate blog. Which is a great destination if you want to keep up with the latest and greatest in the world of yerba mate. Read the interview here.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Noteworthy Tea Merchants

In my endless researches into the world of tea I find myself clicking through to many tea merchant web sites. Many of them, quite frankly, are not sufficiently interesting to merit a return visit.

While I don't mean to be snippy about it or to denigrate anyone's efforts when it comes to bringing tea to the masses, I would put forth the notion - as some others have done - that to succeed in the tea market these days you have to find a way to make yourself stand out from the pack. In my somewhat informed opinion the way to do this is not to cobble together a seemingly random assortment of tea and teaware, add an e-commerce site and go for it.

With that in mind, here are a few sites I've run across lately who seem to be on the right track with this sort of thing. This is not a heavily researched investigation, but rather just a few merchants I've run across lately who stood out from the pack.

Dao Tea
Specializing in "exceptional, very rare teas" Dao Tea sources their products "directly from farmers who own micro-estates." I haven't tried any of their tea but it sounds like an interesting notion.

Describing themselves as "specialty importers of maccha green tea and its tools," Jagasilk are hardly the first to go down this road. But with the increasing popularity of the powdered green tea known as maccha or matcha, they might be onto something

Fusion Tea Room
It's all about the herbal tea at Fusion Tea Room, where they claim to "specialize in Rooibos Tea, Honeybush Tea, Yerba Mate Tea, Tulsi Tea and Fruit Tisanes."

Image: JagaSilk

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

ATMA Monthly Group Tea Tastings

ATMA Monthly Group Tea Tastings
(from a press release)

The American Tea Masters Association has launched Continuing Education: Monthly Group Tea Tastings open to all of its Certified Tea Masters and those currently enrolled in one of its training programs. Not only will participants taste and evaluate a superior-grade of tea each month, but they will have the opportunity to share their experience with others using the association's new online audio-visual system.

The tea samples will be delivered each month by San Francisco's world-famous Imperial Tea Court, which selects teas deemed as the most remarkable among the season's new arrivals. It is all part of its Tea of the Month Club. Each shipment will include 2-4 ounces of tea, along with information about that particular tea and brewing recommendations.

Roy Fong is the founder of Imperial Tea Court, the first traditional Chinese teahouse in America. Mr. Fong is regarded as one of the world's top authorities on Chinese and Taiwanese teas. Each year he visits selected tea gardens to supervise all aspects of production: from planting and cultivation to harvesting, processing, and grading.

Certified Tea Master Chas Kroll, executive director of the American Tea Masters Association, will lead the online tea preparation each month. Registrants are encouraged to participate step-by-step Gongfu Cha style.


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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Tea Council Sip Of Success Contest Winner

The Tea Council of the USA, Inc. announced today the winner of the Sip of Success contest, created to award a young entrepreneur a once-in-a-lifetime global adventure and a world-class business and cultural experience. Twenty-one-year-old MBA student Taylor Caldron submitted the winning video and essay, creatively demonstrating the health benefits of tea and his passion for the world's second most consumed beverage. Taylor will live and work on tea plantations in Kenya, Sri Lanka and India, from mid-May through July of this year. For the internship finale, he will work with global tea entrepreneur Tracy Stern, of SalonTea in New York City, for eight weeks, to learn the retail and wholesale ends of the business.


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Friday, March 04, 2011

Authentic Teas Brings Ancient Armenian Tea Culture to Tea Drinkers

Authentic Teas Brings Ancient Armenian Tea Culture to the World’s Gourmet Tea Drinkers
(from a press release)

Starting in February 2011, tea drinkers around the world can experience ancient Armenian tea culture as Authentic Teas begins distribution of its wild-crafted herbal teas, harvested and hand-processed in the Armenian highlands. Authentic Teas www.authentic-teas.com is a new boutique tea company, a joint venture between Armenian-Canadian Hrant Isbeceryan and Canadian partners.

David Richardson, CFO of Authentic Teas, comments the purity of their teas and the way the company operates makes them unique. “Unlike conventional tea producers, our Authentic Teas are grown and sustainably harvested in the wild; free of chemicals or environmentally harmful production methods.” Harvesting and blending is done entirely by hand, using traditional methods that have been followed for thousands of years. The result, says Richardson, is an outstanding tea experience unparalleled by any other tea in the market.

Tea drinkers want to know more than just a name brand, they want to know the story behind their favorite indulgences so Authentic Teas uses its website to showcase the story of the people and the ancient tea culture of Armenia. “As an avid tea drinker, I was captivated with the story of Armenian tea,” says Richardson. Herbs like oregano, thyme, Linden flowers and mint grow wild in the Armenian highlands. Tea crafting takes place in indigenous village areas, where most of the economic benefits are returned to local artisans, helping ensure that a lifestyle and culture grounded in two thousand years of tradition continues.

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