I was working with a group of entrepreneurs, actually there were about nine of us at the beginning. We had met at a Food Processing Class at a local University and decided to continue on afterwards, just to share our ups and downs of getting small businesses off the ground. I was working out the kinks of getting my tea business up for ‘public consumption’ and was thrilled for the community we had formed. We had all agreed to meet and introduce our products to each other at a lunch we had set up at a local health food store. It was fun to see everybody. We began sharing and visiting with each other, and handing out samples. It was exciting. Then when it was my turn, I stood to tell about my teas, but before I could even start, the woman sitting next to me said, “So, what makes your teas better than any others?"
At first I was taken aback, I had never been asked such a question so bluntly. Little did I know it was the best question I could have been asked. It took me a second or two to recover my composure, then, I started talking. I told them about how in the past some of the everyday brands of tea which have been for sale on our supermarket shelves, were found to have levels of agricultural chemicals and/or herbicides.
Coming from a background of agriculture and then hospitality, I wasn’t worried about knowing my stuff. I went on to tell them about the Direct Trade teas I carry and how we can look online and track the specific tea leaves right back to the farm, whether that farm is in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, it doesn’t matter. This is a good thing, this knowing where your favorite beverage comes from and how it is handled. Then I proceeded on, telling all of them, and her specifically, that these farmers invented the true meaning of ‘organic.’ Their farming practices are so above where our best organic farms are even now. Most of them aren’t Certified Organic because of the cost to the small farms, but these families have lived on the same lands for generations, and still farm so close to the Earth that no one can compare.
I told them how important this is to consumers. After all, we drink a lot of tea and I want the world to know that on this site, I will offer the best and safest I can find. We can’t always be assured that what we consume isn’t loaded with something other than what we are buying into, but we can at least raise our level of awareness. I will give honest answers to all of your questions, whether it is on growing practices, or anything else.
I believe in the foundation of truth, love and compassion and having a tea business seemed to fall into these guidelines. After all, tea is the one beverage that literally brings people together. It is the one beverage we can share through sadness or joy, through quiet times or in celebration. It doesn’t send us into a frenzied state because the caffeine is quite low in most of them, or even non-existent. Teas come in all types and flavors. There is something here for everyone.
The Direct Trade teas are more high end, whereas my regular teas, which are almost all ‘organically grown, but not certified,’ are more affordable for an everyday beverage. The difference between these and the Direct Trade teas is instead of being hand-rolled and roasted, and sold directly from the farm, the regular teas are picked at the farms and then sent to the tea factories to be processed and sold. But, this doesn’t mean these teas aren’t good. I have looked and looked for over two years, trying samples from everywhere I could find, until I found some teas that maintained a good quality and always gave me a great cup of tea.
So what makes me think my teas are better than the others? I know my teas are good, and that my sourcing has been thoroughly researched. But, I’m sure others have some good teas, as well. What I can offer that others don’t have is me. You see, I love people, and animals and all creatures, and I love tea, and books, and writing, and creating something wonderful for everyone. This tea site is only the beginning, as I am setting out to bring a better tea experience in restaurants to all of us. Yes, here we have ME, and I am here to assure you of a wonderful experience.
Sit back, relax and enjoy a great cup of tea~