Here is a "simplified" explanation to how an OTTI will typically occur and how members participate. I will edit this as the process changes over time. I will also maintain the OTTI FAQs topic. In order to keep this topic as simple as possible, I would recommend asking OTTI how to questions under the OTTI FAQs topic.
Official Tea Tasting Initiative ... OTTI. And it is official because I say it is. I could easily sub Introduction for Initiative, they both fit in for different reasons.
1. I will announce an imminent OTTI round at least 3 days in advance in this forum of TeaChat under OTTI 3 Day Notification Topic. I generally give hints of an upcoming topic prior to the official 3 day notification.
The topic will give exact date and time of when the topic goes live.
This 3 day prior notification will offer general info including what general type of tea as well as exact time of the OTTI going public. Be warned, OTTI rounds can be popular and there are limited spaces available.
2. At least 3 hours prior to the OTTI going live, I will post the official topic which will include specific information regarding this OTTI as well as if there are any exceptions to how the ordering process will occur (if any). This gives everyone an opportunity to review thew topic and then be ready at the designated time.
Each OTTI round usually includes up to 5 different teas of 1 general type, but there are exceptions. This information will be included in the actual OTTI round topic.
3. There is generally a nominal fee to participate. The fee covers program costs including all packaging and shipping. Any extra goes to future program supplies and planned (and unplanned) future enhancements. This is a self sustaining program, no cash sponsors, etc. In order for it to continue, it cannot lose money but must marginally operate in the black.
Also, even if it was possible for the samples to be free, I would still charge a small fee as this weeds out the type of participants who always wants free tea, but might just throw the samples in a drawer along with a multitude of other freebies ... never to be sampled.
The goal of the OTTI program is to get samples into the hands of willing and able participants. These are high quality samples, they deserve to be sampled asap. They are not some free teabag sample.
Each OTTI round cost is in the official topic for each OTTI round!
4. The OTTI will go live at the designated time previously announced. At this time members will be able to reserve their space by EMAILING me at:
Participants' email should include:
Mailing address INCLUDING COUNTRY (OTTI is open to everyone!).
If outside of the USA, please include a phone number for the customs forms.
paypal email address
Format the name and address exactly as it would appear on a letter or package sent to you
5. I will respond via email with paypal payment information.
6. You pay ...
7. OTTI is shipped to you. Each sample is in a foil lined zip seal tea pouch.
Topic is updated to include brewing directions.
8. Upon receiving, you will notice there is a number on each sample and NO name in the event you want to conduct blind tastings. In the topic, I post a "blind key" that is not visible unless you click the "quote" icon. This will reveal the key to the tea samples.
9. Participants taste and discuss the OTTI samples, for the first week or so, indicating sample by number only in consideration of other participants conducting blind tastings.
10. We are all enriched by the OTTI experience!