I most certainly desire to offer more diversity in the OTTI program!!!
It has long been apparent to me that enlisting vendors for OTTI is likely the most difficult step in that I only deal with X vendors who are mostly Japanese green tea specialists.
So, I am often "making a cold call" anytime I venture outward to various oolong, pu-erh, green, black, etc. vendors. It can take a lot of time. Meeting a few first hand at events like World Tea Expo is helpful for me, but time is so limited there.
Often a relationship with a certain level of trust is required. Often relationships are already forged with vendors each of us already deals.
So, here is where I believe you and other members can help. If you have a vendor you feel would make a great OTTI, please contact me. After I take a look at their site, I will then send a letter of authorization for you to contact this specific vendor on behalf of TeaChat in order to initiate the process. The letter will also include a letter of introduction to the vendor which includes information on TeaChat and the OTTI program as well as how it would also benefit them as a vendor to participate.
If we are successful in landing an OTTI with a vendor that you initiated, I can offer you many thanks and a free pass for the OTTI round ... keeping in mind that OTTI is not intended to be a for profit program. It is about tasting teas that we may not otherwise ... and sharing the Tea experience with others.
Of course, you can always have a potential OTTI vendor contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(expect to see this topic floating around other forums of TeaChat)