What ignited your passion for tea?


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What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby Charles » Dec 8th, '09, 10:59

I'm working to develop Adagio's first ever physical tea retail shop. To be successful, we need to introduce new customers to the wonders of tea. So what was the experience or information that started your passion for tea?
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby JBaymore » Dec 8th, '09, 14:07

Charles,

Best of luck with the new venture.

For me the "green tea addiction" came as a "byproduct" of the interest in Japanese ceramics.

You could say that my strong interest in art early in life lead to me studying ceramics in college, and my studying ceramics very rapidly introduced me to the field of Japanese ceramics, and that interest quickly lead me to the general Japanese traitions and culture, which quickly points directly toward TEA.

Perfectly simple! :lol:

best,

..................john
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby TomVerlain » Dec 8th, '09, 14:13

I had always liked tea, it was a "comfort" type drink, tea with milk and sugar cured a few hang overs ... But what really started me on a journey was drinking puerh in a shop in taiwan. I figured I'd get some nice tea while I was over there, and after trying very high grade puerh, I was hooked.

So, for a retail shop, I think getting people to see past the teabag and experience the signifcantly large world of type types and styles by tasting teas they might never have heard of before is the key.

From looking in other tea shops, I think being able to see and touch small samples really lets you understand the many varieties of tea. Small ceramic cups with the various leaves and a placard invites exploration.

Obviously, providing well brewed samples can help people get past buying an unknown type of tea, especially when faced with a gigantic selection.
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby brose » Dec 8th, '09, 15:41

TomVerlain wrote:From looking in other tea shops, I think being able to see and touch small samples really lets you understand the many varieties of tea. Small ceramic cups with the various leaves and a placard invites exploration.


I also agree

A small shop with a very personal ptouch and no pressure to buy anything got me started into tea. They gongfu'd everything with a chinese tea setup, that got me to but the teaware as well. It also was great to talk and look at different teas while tasting. It hels to have the teas extensive background. I also enjoy the full leaf teas as they made for better presentation rather than the 'normal' (ones that you can buy at more expensive grocery stores) loose leaf teas, that tend to be more chopped up.
Now that I think of it, that is the only reason I got to a tea shop instead of buying looseleaf at some generic market, the nice leaves that you can see and try before buying.
And where else are you going to be able to buy a brick or cake of puerh? IMHO, puerh is the one thing lacking from adiago that has prevented me from ordering as typically I get oolongs and greens as something extra alongside the pu when I buy. A display of reasonably priced and drinkable shu puerh cakes can look fantastic in a shop.
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby marlena » Dec 8th, '09, 17:19

I'd always liked tea in a half-hearted way but then I got hold of an Upton's catalogue and I was hooked - I wanted to try them all! For your shop -samples, tastings, a cookie maybe
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby Janine » Dec 8th, '09, 18:15

I always liked tea and was intrigued to try different teas. In Japantown SF there were shops that sold excellent Japanese tea that I could learn about. But I really, really got hooked from a traditional Chinese style teahouse where I learned something every time I went, and which included the cultural "couch" traditional to tea. The key was learning all the time: technique, historical practice, trying new teas, etc etc etc. For me the teahouse was a place to spend time and keep trying new things, asking questions from a great teacher, and welcome to bring whatever I needed to do with me to spend even more time trying more teas, learning about gaiwan or gong fu, investigating pots and teaware, etc. The owners and staff loved tea and what they were doing
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby Victoria » Dec 8th, '09, 18:35

Simply stated, what ignited my passion for tea was switching from teabags to whole leaf. Then further fueled by the discovery of oolong. Maybe rather than targeting the non-tea drinker the emphasis should be on the tea drinkers. They already like tea. Now it can be so much better.

Think about it, I bet most of the coffee shop fanatics already were having a morning cup of coffee anyway.

A dump the bag campaign, or bring us your bag and get a discount. Then match up what they are drinking in whole leaf variety. Even if you end up selling Adagio bagged whole leaf, because they like the convenience, you still have a sale and are one step closer.
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 15:34

Hmmm, 2 things. After drinking an infrequent cuppa for 20 years, I discovered the wide world of tea and teaware. The huge variety of tea, and the Asian influence in nomenclature and in the teaware. So, it was the variety of really good tea and the cultural variety of teaware.
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby kymidwife » Dec 11th, '09, 11:08

I was seduced by the opportunity to see and smell whole-leaf teas in person the first time I entered a tea shop. I made the typical entry into tea with flavored teas, and migrated away from flavors to explore any and every tea variety I can get my hands on. Flavors are a common gateway for new tea drinkers.

Sarah
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby dooble » Dec 19th, '09, 09:33

Mostly, I think it was the fact of me ever giving up for the Big Devil coffee :D.
Nah, but the amazing variety of different teas, the zen-like calmness and, I must admit, the 'oriental' feeling. I was a big japanophile back then.
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby thirtysixbelow » Dec 29th, '09, 16:19

I randomly tried an iced green tea from a gas station one day and really enjoyed it (probably because it was loaded with sugar). From this experience I decided to try a hot version from the grocery store. When I got there I saw that there were about 10 choices for green tea alone. I started with the brand that also made the iced green tea that I liked but was less impressed with the hot tea. I naturally went to the internet to look up recommendations and stumbled on more information then I could have ever expected. I read that whole leaf tea was the way to go and once I had my first cup and noticed the difference my passion for tea was started.

From a business perspective, especially in the US, the thing to take away from my story is just how important exposure is. I always assumed I never really liked tea because it lacked flavor and was boring. I had no idea that a teabag was an "inferior" way to drink tea from a flavor perspective. Once I realized that I enjoyed drinking and brewing whole leaf teas I was hooked.

Regardless of my views on Teavana's business practices or tea offerings I think they are doing a great job at exposure. They have stores in the mall where you get a ton of foot traffic and they always have free samples. Every single person that walks by is an opportunity to change their perspective of tea. It gives customers a change to purchase on impulse as well which is not really an option with online sales. For these reasons I think TeaRetailer is an excellent idea. Good Luck!


Edit: I went back and read Laquita's story after posting this. I rest my case 8)
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby TimeforTea » Jan 5th, '10, 01:16

What ignited my passion for tea was my wanting to kick my coffee habit. I started reading a lot about tea online, found adagio's website, and the rest was history.
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby cls46 » Jan 5th, '10, 12:09

I have been passionate about tea since I was a very little girl. My mom would by me herbal teas. I always loved it and my love of tea has grown. I know that some places have "children's tea" and I think this is an important market because this is a good time to get people passionate about tea for life :)
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby LauraW » Jan 6th, '10, 11:07

I grew up drinking tea occasionally, always from bags, pretty much always black tea. One day somewhere between high school and college, a good friend of mine took me to this little tea shop close to where she lived, and introduced me to white tea. Since that day, pretty much every time I see her is for tea - she's introduced me to bubble tea, for example. I've explored so much both at that tea shop and then venturing outwards - to places like Adagio - once I got to knowing the basics.
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Re: What ignited your passion for tea?

Postby teabunnie » Jan 6th, '10, 17:39

I started dabbling with tea in college because of some friends who were into tea. Never got beyond bags, though, so my relationship with tea was on again/off again.

Then my boyfriend and I went to Teavana and tasted loose leaf tea for the first time. Even though it was initially a small sample of cast iron brewed tea in a plastic cup, it was still delicious and a huge upgrade from the bagged dust that we previously believed was tea. We purchased 2 16oz to-go cups of blended tea for about the same price as 1 cup of Starbucks coffee, fell in love, and have been saving for a cast iron teapot ever since.

I stumbled onto the Adagio website by accident while looking for information about blending tea. Now I'm just waiting for my first Adagio order to arrive. ^_^
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