Ever find that sometimes it is better to just write out or talk out some of your thoughts and ideas for a little mental order? I am at the point where I think my best outlet for order is to write it out here.
As many of you already know I run my own modest business called iHeartTeas which is of course hosted right here on Tea Trade. It started out as a fun distraction and a way for me to flex my creative muscle. I’ve learned long ago that I successfully use both sides of my brain. I am both creative and analytical which does cause some internal feuding from time to time. As of late I feel like maybe I have found some accidental success in what I have been doing here on Tea Trade and Etsy. It is that success that has brought me to these crossroads. I need to decide my next step. Do I continue my current strategy by taking things slowly or do I get more aggressive and business focused? You know what they say, “if it isn’t broke why fix it.”
For one I absolutely LOVE tea and I doubt the heavens nor Earth could ever change that. Of course, my tastes evolve as I am sure they do for many here as well. It has been established, I have “passion” which for many running a business can be an issue. It has been in my experience when going into anything purely for the money you are destined to fail. Let us be honest everyone has the desire to make money. What’s important is you find what you love and you are fairly confident you will never grow tired of and then start a business, but only if that is something you have a desire to do. I have the passion and I have the desire.
Now the why? While I have never discussed this nor has anyone asked. The question is “why” do I want to run a business. Lucky for me it isn’t for financial gain, at least not primarily. I have such a need and desire to create and share with the world what I have made that the best way is to create, sell, and make just enough to create some more and start the cycle again. Is this a “good” business model? My gut says “no” but since I am not in fear of bankruptcy it may just be alright for now. However, in reality I need to make a decision and have clear reasons to continue. I have romanticized the notion of running a business as just a creative process when I know there is so much more to it than that. If I have goals written out that are clear and concise I will know what I am driving to do and aim hard to achieve them.
Remember the crossroads I mentioned earlier? Here is my dilemma. I have recently taken an important step regarding my career path. First and foremost I am always a mom and wife. Family is more important than anything. Even tea, please don’t judge me. I have been for the past four years working a part-time job that does occupy my time in between home life, hectic schedules, and of course iHeartTeas. My sweet husband one day said if I so desired I can give up my “day job” and focus on whatever else my heart desires. Obviously this meant just about anything. I could focus primarily on being a stay at home mom, business owner, go back to school, or just continue working. It has been a tough month trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Here is where I am today…
1. Work an extremely reduced workload at my current job. Arrangements have been made.
2. Go back to school while my daughter is in school.
3. Focus on the business.
What would you do? If the same offer were presented to you.
It’s funny. I went into the business as something fun. Something more of a hobby. I can’t believe it has the potential to be something more. As some of you already know I am terrible at self promotion. I always feel like those “Mary Kay” or “Avon” girls selling door to door. My biggest challenge is me and I know this because so many of you have said such wonderful things about my products. I need more faith in myself but until I work those kinks out I hope I can rely on you for the occasional kick in the right direction. I have had many people tell me to take my tea-inspired beauty products to WholeFoods and even talk with Oprah’s people about her new organic line. I just can’t believe some of you think my product is that wonderful. You know who you are and you have no idea how wonderful it makes me feel. Thank you.
But… you know what they say, “you are your worst critic.”
Thank you again EPI Tea for sending along this little gem for me to sample and review.
Berry Rooibos - #2 of 4
Tea: Berry Rooibos (Rooibos Tisane) - Pyramid Bag
Steep Time: 10 mins (As Recommended)
Water: 6 oz at 208F
Review: I found this cup to be spot on. Just that right amount of berry flavor without the fear of being overly tart. As most of you know I don’t generally put in additional additives into my tea with the obvious exception of chai. Happily, I have made no exception here, keeping in mind I often feel temped to add either raw honey or agave to my rooibos. I only take the leap on those rare occasions where the rooibos blend is far too tart and needs a little something to help soften the blow. Point being, I am very pleased that nor did I take the leap and add sweetener but even more importantly I had no desire. Always a plus if you ask me.
Bottom line, a solid brew. It was playfully fruity and had just the right amount of earthy sweetness with a bit of a sweet sparkle as well. A lovely balanced cup. Had I more to play with I would have certainly made this using the “cold brew method.” Never know I may consider more in the future and if I do I will be sure to let you know how it turns out.
EPI Tea has not yet launched but you can see their blog in the link provided.
Next Up: Lavender Earl Grey (Black Tea Blend) by EPI Tea
Thank you to EPI Tea for sending me several samples of teas to review. I have decided to start with Irish Breakfast this morning. The biggest reason is because it is still fairly early in the morning and who am I kidding, I could use a little wake up call.
Tea: Organic Irish Breakfast (Black Tea) - Pyramid Bag
Steep Time: 4 min 30 secs
Water: 6 oz at 208F
Review: I found this tea to be rather smooth and well rounded. Not at all strong and “in your face” as I have most often experienced with Irish Breakfast teas. Still it has the appropriate amount of astringency. I would recommend this particular tea as a gateway tea. Start here and move up to more complex flavored Irish Breakfast teas. Since this tea is a perfect calmer representation Irish Breakfast tea, I would suggest all tea newbies try this. The from here you can decide if you like it or not. I am certain it will be enjoyable to the palette for those new or more experienced with tea. For those who don’t prefer the stronger bolder versions of this tea will find this one will work for them and find you will still be able to accomplish that much needed early morning nudge to get you moving. I find nothing at all offensive to the palette with this tea, meaning it is a very safe tea especially for those who are more sensitive in nature to overly flamboyant teas. I personally have a fondness for stronger, richer, bolder teas. However, I must admit on those days I just want something more soothing with a less obvious kick, this may be just what I’ve been looking for.
EPI Tea has not yet launched but you can see their blog in the link provided.
Back from a rather long trip visiting family in Maine and I am eager to start refocusing my energy back to iHeartTeas. I have so much planned before the end of the year and want to share my excitement with you.
I have plans to add new products, that I am sure will get the attention they deserve. I am currently in the process of testing those products which only reinforces just how much “I love My Job!”
Before I share what’s new I want to share my direction for iHeartTeas, other than tea of course. I want to introduce iHeartTeas as a website offering unique products, most of which are limited in nature. It is my intension to keep a small number of handcrafted teas on a permanent basis including select tea-inspired beauty products. The remaining offerings would be made available in small quantities and once sold out, they are gone. As a result, keeping my site stocked with new and exciting products always. Just remember if you see something you like you had better jump on it. If you don’t, you may miss your one time opportunity.
Some of the changes will include several opportunities to customize tea-inspired beauty products. I will be offering relaxing “Spa Bath Salts”, “Emulsifying Sugar Scrubs”, “Perfume Oils”, “Bath Bombs”, “Lip Balms”, and so much more. Many of these products will be prepared to order based on the fragrance you select. Be careful when you make your choice, you wouldn’t want to smell like onions would you? I will provide a wide range of options, thus making it fun and unique to you. For select products you will be given the option to select up to three different fragrances. If you want your bath to smell like Apple Pie, I would combine apple, vanilla, and cinnamon fragrances, yum!
Next, tea! I already have a selection of tea handcrafted by me. They are listed below…
These teas have become a part of my permanent collection. So many of you have been enjoying these far too much for me to retire any of them. In the future I may add more to my handcrafted selection however for now this will be it.
*NEW – Tea Blends & Orthodox Teas
I have decided to add new teas that I have sourced for their unique qualities. I am in the process of testing them all right now. I will be releasing them soon, slowly, and on a limited, small available quantity basis so that I may find more gems to offer in the future.
*New – Tea Accessories and Wares
I’m so excited to announce that I will soon offer Yixing pots and cups on an EXTREMELY LIMITED basis. I also have a couple of other unique items but will only announce them once I have them listed. Don’t want to give away all my secrets.
I hope you’re as excited as I am. Working on streamlining iHeartTeas and what I want is so much fun. Pretty soon I’ll even have a small panel of testers for my beauty products. Once everything has been tested and tweaked as needed I’ll start to slowly roll out the new products. I will even be coming out with my first newsletter with many of you already subscribed. If you are not yet it’s never too late. Go over to iHeartTeas and head to the bottom right corner to sign up.
Lastly but never least, I just want to thank my amazing husband. He is my behind the scenes supporter. He has encouraged me to reach for the stars and is always there for me. I even need to thank my five year old daughter who now has been touched by tea her entire life, who helps me whenever she can. Breeding the next generation of tea drinker and lover.
It’s my goal to cultivate an affinity of tea and all tea-inspired products. Finding ways to incorporate tea in a multitude of ways thought out our daily lives. That’s why “I Love My Job!” That’s why I started iHeartTeas.
Let’s paint a picture. Two hour drive from Bangor, Maine to Portland with husband driving about 75 mph, me in the passenger seat. Hanging on with a few white knuckle moments. Mother in-law and five year old daughter in the back seat. I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks there.
First stop is Dobrá Tea in downtown Portland, Maine. Originally I was to meet a friend there for tea and lunch. His name is Chris, aka @VtKnitBoy on Twitter. He lives in Vermont and had planed to make the trek to Maine to visit me but fell ill and couldn’t make it. I was utterly devastated as was he. It was the one and only plan I had made that was just for me. I’ll explain, my daughter is attached to me at the hip. If she could have that surgically happen she would. Husband was only for the weekend and that left me with his mother for two weeks. Basically never a private moment. I so wanted to meet with Chris over a cup of tea, some hummus, and baklava. Unfortunately, this was just not meant to be this time around. After all being a mother you do get a little used to plans changing. As for Chris he is doing much better now, our plans to meet will just have to be rescheduled for the moment. There is always next time, right?
Back to the tea. What started as just an adult tea outing with those interested in such things ended up including my daughter and mother in-law. My daughter loves tea but lacks patience, with her biggest challenge remaining stationary for more than ten seconds. Not exactly the best way to enjoy a cup if you ask me. My mother in-law prefers her Red Rose bag tea and Lipton bag teas so despite the large selection she decided not to order anything off the menu including the delectable treats and savory items. Instead she sat quietly back with arms folded and minimal convention. Not exactly the chit chat I was expecting whilst having a cup of delicious Shui Xian with my amazing husband with whom I shared the tea.
In addition to the tea I indulged in a buttery, flaky, honey soaked piece of Pistachio Baklava.
Since only I enjoy baklava there wasn’t any sharing going on, with the exception of one bite I gave to a curious little girl.
This was my second visit to Dobrá. My first was in 2011 and it was once again not the ideal visit. At my first visit I didn’t even have the opportunity to sit and enjoy a relaxed cup. This time I not only enjoy a delicious cup of Shui Xian oolong I also had a “to-go” Wulong Bubble Tea and enjoyed a little of my daughters Vanilla Black Tea and even dessert. My second visit was far more enjoyable than my first. Reminds me to always give things a second chance. Would have loved to enjoyed Chris’s company but I suppose that will just have to be on my third visit.
Oh and if you are wondering, “Yes, I bought some tea” not as much as I did on my first visit. I purchased Sheng and Shou Puerh and a couple ounces of Bi Luo Chun.
Perhaps my next visit will go according to plan. I should have checked with the Tarot Card Reader that had there but then where would the mystery be?
Highlights, all of our tea was prepared in traditional fashion. All pots and cups were Yixing and warms prior to pouring. If you need something a little bell is provided. This way you can have your cup and drift off into contemplation without interruption. The tea room is beautifully decorated in Moroccan style. Even has a private room with low tables and cushions for sitting on the floor.
As much as I wanted to sit in that room I was concerned about standing up when it was time to leave. The place is dimly lite to help set the mood, they have beaded curtains and gorgeous lantern lights hanging from the ceiling.
Dobrá has a huge selection of teas and a nice menu of editable items.
If you are in Portland, Maine I suggest you stop in for a visit. They have free parking in the back but you are limited to an hour so make the most of your visit while you can or park on the street if you can find a space.
Here is a video of the World Tea Expo that was aired on a popular Asian laugage TV station LA 18. I’m sure those who understand Korean will get the most from this video. For the rest of use you’ll be able to see the show floor, listen to interviews of people attending, and running the show in English. For me I am actually in the video for a brief moment towards the ends. Looks like I’m famous. LOL
It’s been about a week since we have been back from the Expo. We meaning myself and my husband Ralph. It’s been an interesting week at that just trying to see if I can’t put my thoughts together onto virtual paper. This was our first exclusively tea Expo and I feel we saw and learned so much that the idea of putting together a blog post became a bit overwhelming.
On a personal note, many of you know that the week prior to actually departing for the Expo was a bit mentally and physically challenging time for us. Fortunately things are getting better on the family front. What I mean by that is my dad’s health is improving dramatically every day. As a matter of fact my dad was released released from the hospital the day prior to our leaving for Las Vegas and because he was doing so much better it made our trip that much more pleasurable.
Let me set the scene, a week before leaving my dad had a massive heart attack but now is doing much better. Next, this was also the first trip that both my husband and I were taking out-of-state without our five year old daughter. Another huge obstacle for me and her considering I’m a stay-at-home mom and being always around was sort of my thing. It was hard for me to let go. Not so much my husband since he travels a great deal for work anyway. For example, he’s in the Bahamas right now as I type this. So anyway I just wanted wanted to lay down a foundation so you knew my mental state prior to leaving, that’s the end of that and now off to the World Tea Expo.
I think my husband would best describe my attitude as extremely giddy. I was about to come face-to-face with what I would call utopia. Just imagine a microcosm comprised entirely of tea, tea accessories, tea education, tea fanatics, from all around the world. Reminds me of that daydream where you are wandering through streets of candy, where the houses are built of chocolate but in my case, steeped in tea.
I knew once I arrived it would just be a whirlwind adventure full of meeting new friends and old, learning new things, seeing new products, a veritable cornucopia of tea goodness.
I will say I was on a mission to find some really good friends of mine. Friends that I’ve made through social media, such as Twitter, Google+, Tea Trade, and Steepster. Funny, I remember as a child I used to have pen-pals. How times have changed, still my friendships through social media are just as strong if not stronger than those that I’ve made by way of traditional methods.
It was an extreme pleasure to meet Jo also known on Twitter as @agiftoftea. It was like in the movies. Our eyes met and in slow motion we ran to each other as I imagined Chariots of Fire playing in the background. Truly an epic moment. No, wait dare I say it… “Legend…wait for it…dary” – Barney Stinson from “How I Met Your Mother” moment. Similar moment happened yet again when I got to meet Katrina also known as @TeaPages on Twitter. We had near chance meetings on several occasions and I finally we had the opportunity meet in person, it was just like meeting an old friend.
By this time it was still earlier on Friday, the first day of the expo and what a way to start. However, even before then I went to my first lecture regarding how to “Find Gold In Green Markets” by Dan Robertson Owner/Director of The Tea House & World Tea Tours. The lecture covered key points on how to best be successful at farmers markets, what to look for, how to pack, how to present, and more. I felt reassured that much of the information being covered was what I had already known. Still it does make me feel better hearing that from someone as experienced as him.
After getting a good start to my morning I spent the rest of the day on the show floor. I got to see many of the vendors I’ve been wanting to see including some very unique vendors. I will get more into more details about the specifics of exactly what I saw, what I found intriguing, and what I would like to get involved with in my next blog post. Right now I just wanted to be able to set a foundation as to what this Expo has been for me.
So far I can say this Expo for me was mostly about networking. Of course, included in that is learning about new products. Plus a rather pleasant surprise, I learned what sort of footprint I’ve left within the community without even realizing.
In one of my other blog posts I’ll go more into detail about those wonderful tea education courses I was able to take thanks entirely to Beth and Neumann of Teas Etc. I was one of two lucky winners that won $400 to spend tea education courses. Thank you so much again Beth and Neumann.
After a long day on the Expo floor and many tea samples later, it was time for our Tweet-Up that was so graciously put together by Jo. It was such a great experience meeting all the people that I’ve been talking to on Twitter for such a long time including Naomi from Joys Teaspoon @JoysTeaspoon and her two other friends and associates Sarah @oolongofficer, and Audrea @EarlSteeper. Also, had the pleasure of meeting Chris Giddings @Teaity and @chrisagiddings, Lisa @LisaBraithwaite, and of course Jo and Katrina as mentioned. I do hope I didn’t forget anyone. My husband Ralph @ralphcarterii also joined us. He was kind enough to make sure we had hot water and tea during our meeting. Tea was provided by Teas Etc. Beth and Neumann were kind enough to come to rescue with some delicious Oriental Beauty oolong, a Zojirushi that Ralph guarded with his life, and T-Sac’s when we found out Lochan Teas supply of teas never arrived at the Expo. Thanks again for everything. The best part of the tweet up is that we finally got a chance to sit down have general conversation regarding our likes and dislikes at the Expo, some interesting finds, and just general catching up. I was meeting everyone face to face for the first time so there was a lot of catching for me. Towards the end we had great conversation about what we should do as bloggers at next years Expo. I feel confident we are going in the right direction with some of these ideas but until I can confirm we are going forward with the plan I won’t be sharing the details. Just know it is a great idea, includes the collective powers of bloggers and retailers and hopefully in the end will bring forth a cornucopia of new rich information.
Once the tweet up was over we all decided to head back to the expo floor and witness the Wu-Yu Tea Ceremony. It was a beautiful ceremony where the person who prepares the tea is to be silent and the person receiving the tea is also silent during the entire ceremony. There were many participants and from what I understand all spots for the ceremony were filled. It was so beautiful to see all these people who didn’t even know each other, maybe some did but others didn’t, just graciously offer a stranger a cup of tea with sincere smile.
Now the day had ended I was ready to head back to the hotel with sore feet, sore knee and a full bladder. Totally worth it.
I suspect I will have many entries regarding the Expo some more technical and some more personal I hope you enjoy them all.
I just have have to share with a new matcha bowl that I had painted and had glazed. I also put into it a message that saw on Pinterest on another mug that really spoke to me, “No Tea…No Work” and to that I say a rousing “Heck Yay!” I plan on making more and will share them with you as I go along.
I wish the front was a bit clearer but I did want to mention it is a dark green and light green mix in drip like streaks. Just gorgeous.
To My Lovely Ladies of Tea Trade,
Today I wish you all a very Happy Mothers Day! I know I am a day early but I am certain all of us will be fawned upon tomorrow and thus distracting us from our social media responsibilities so I decided to send you my best and my appreciation for all you do, today.
I have made this card as a gesture of appreciation and recognition to all my tea drinking women out there. This goes to the moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and to even those who are mothers to their pets. Who says you have to have a child to be a mother. We women have that maternal instinct when we are caring for our nieces and nephews and even our little animal friends.
Today, I am specifically recognizing those that influence me the most and they are the “Lovely Ladies of Tea Trade” because it is you ladies that impact me the most on a daily basis. You ladies keep my day interesting and whats more you are in love with the very same thing I am and that is “Tea” of course. Giving us plenty to discuss all the time.
Regardless, of how busy we are and you know we are. We always make time for each other and I want to share with you just how much I’ve come to enjoy our daily interactions.
Thank you for all you do to brighten my day.
Happy Mothers Day!
P.S. I have also posted this on Google+
Recently, I have been seeing Gaiwan’s used more and more. Plus, I see more Gaiwans available for purchase in retail stores and online. All of the sudden I see them popping up everywhere. It is this reason I had decided to find out, “why all the rage?” Maybe I am missing out on something? Clearly, the way I went about using my little 2-sided Gaiwan, flowers on one side, writing on the other was probably wrong. How could it be so many enjoy using theirs and not me. So rather than blaming myself, I decided perhaps it was the Gaiwan. Good old fashioned blame someone or something else. (I know it was me)
There I was back in the market to purchase new tea ware. Imagine my excitement. I love buying new tea ware. Heck, I love buying anything tea. Clearly I am a fanatic with slight obsessive compulsiveness towards tea. I am sure none of you could relate. Tea-he.
I purchase the ones you see here. One has a dragon pattern and the other a crane. These are larger than my original one and the material it is made from is much thicker and clearly sturdier. I feel with these I can make a good cup of tea. Best part… I don’t burn my fingers.
Anyway, I know I am just blathering on about how cool my new tea ware is and I know your jealous, perfectly understandable but I promise there is a purpose to my back story.
I now understand why people love their Gaiwans… They produce amazing results! The teas I have tried so far are a Ben Shan and a Milk Oolong. Both of these I enjoy making in my traditional fashion and would have never complained about the flavor. After preparing it in my new pieces I feel like I am experiencing these teas in a new light. I can’t believe these could taste better than the best. I am not certain what magic these Gaiwans possess and I am certain I don’t care. Although, I am almost certain it has something to do with the shorter infusions.
I promise you from now on I will be frequently including the use of Gaiwans when preparing teas. I encourage everyone to give it a try. Plus, when you start working on your technique you will find a way that best works for you. You will no longer burn your fingers and experience little to no spilling. I can’t wait to invest in some more accouterments for the complete Kung Fu experience and report back.
Two thumbs ups for Gaiwans, I’m just sorry I was so late to the party. Fashionably late I hope.
Just recently purchased two new Gaiwans for my rather lacking collection. With the addition of these two I now have three. I particularly like these because they are larger than the first one I have a the material is thicker and stronger making them better for everyday use. The one I have always had is a bit more dainty and made of fine bone china. I am always worried I will break it, plus it is much to small for a proper cup. Below the first two pictures are of my two new pieces, the dragon and crane. The other two pictures are imagines of my first Gaiwan on either side as they have different imagines on both.
The ever so kind Erin of Erin’s Tea has done a review of iHeartTeas and I couldn’t be more excited. Check it out and tell me what you think?
I used a little over 1 tsp because I use 8 ounces of water and I never know if steeping recommendations are for 6 or 8 ounces so I just added a little more tea. I also steeped for an extra minute so even if that was wrong it is a forgiving tea!
This tea is JUICY! It makes your mouth water and the flavors are really quite wonderful! I could not detect any artificial flavors even if they are used and I am pretty sensitive to artificial flavorings.
I am also not typical a fan of apricot flavored teas but this one is soooo good!
I think the sweet raspberry – not tart which really helps to mellow the usually more pungent earthy apricot and while I do like earthy teas, apricot and I do not normally get along.
The aroma of this tea is super sweet super yummy with this almost vanilla aroma to it.
No sugar is needed to add to this tea its really quite perfectly sweet and balanced all on its own and I can only imagine adding sugar would make it all the more decedent or dipping some sugar cookies into it but I have had my allotment of cookies for today lol.
I am impressed – I purchased some 52 teas that had been revived from iHeartTeas.com and this was included as a free sample! This lovely lady blends her own teas and I give her two huge thumbs up – if only I had more thumbs!
Try her teas people they are dang good!
This is my first official review of a tea I had blended personally and it was so wonderful I just had to share with you.
Check out whats cooking at iHeartTeas.com
More information coming soon!
Today I received my first ever bag of Tapioca Pearls (a.k.a. Boba) from Amazon. I am so very excited. It is my first time ever trying to make Bubble Tea at home. I have always gone to the mall and picked up a nice cool glass of either Milk Bubble Tea or a combination of Milk and Coconut Bubble Tea. Of course they ask always ask if I want to tapioca added and my answer is always a gleeful “Yes, please!”
Now to the mission. I need some recipes. Yes, I can “Google it” but what I am looking for is recipes that have been tested and successful from you guys, my tea friends. Can you help me make my first Bubble Tea at home?
Perhaps, who ever sends me the best (uncomplicated please) recipe that I just simply adore can be featured on my blog here on Tea Trade. I’ll publish the recipe and just gush about how amazing you are for discovering and sharing the recipe with me. So in other words… Sweet, sweet bragging rights.
Alright let’s get those submissions in, I’m dying to make some Bubble Tea.
Now all I need are those “fat” straws. Wouldn’t be the same without them.
I often ask myself what it is about tea that has me coming back for more. I imagine many of you have asked yourself something similar as well. Here is my answer and I challenge you to answer this question as well. I’d love to hear about your reasons…
1. So many choices, endless possibilities, a flavor vacation all over the planet without so much as leaving my home.
2. Health Benefits? Well, I am certainly happy there are health benefits but for me it’s more exciting that there are no serious health side effects. Basically, I would be drinking tea despite the fact that there all sorts of amazing health claims.
3. I love the way it tastes. I much prefer the taste of tea to pop, juices, milk, even water. If tea was bad for me I’d be in a heap of trouble.
4. As many of you know I have diabetes and have had it since my early 20′s, which basically means I’ve had it even longer without knowing it. Being diabetic plus I am also vegetarian it makes for difficult and limited choices when it comes to food and drink. Yes, I can have many of the things everyone else can have but it is so much more limited. In most cases I have to avoid certain things altogether. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people where if you tell me “no” I want it even more. Tea absolutely fills my urge to gravitate towards the foods and drinks I can’t have and helps be to avoid them. It’s actually amazing. I can have “Coconut Cream Cheese Cake” by sipping a cup of Honeybush tea from 52teas. If I want something slightly sweet and creamy I can drink an inviting cup of Milk Oolong from thepuritea. Even if I feel like taking trip through memory lane I can drink a hot cup of Sticky Rice Pu-Erh provided by +Tony Gebely of Chicago Tea Garden.
5. Lastly, and it isn’t so much to do with the tea but more to do with “tea people.” I meet and have met so many wonderful tea fanatics just like me. Such as @Tea Trade Jackie and Pete, Vivek Lochan, Courtney Powers, @the_devotea Robert Godden, @lahikmajoe Ken Macbeth, @teaconomics Billy Dietz, Verity Fisher, Jennifer Bliss just to name a few. Tell me about any other beverage that can do that.
Tea is such am amazing thing and …. (ok this is going to be cheesy) My name is Rachel Carter and I am addicted to tea!
So what’s your story?
In separate container add 2% milk, coconut milk, and half and half together. Microwave for 2 mins or use stove-top to heat.
Here is the simple explanation to what it is I am trying to do…
Currently, iHeartTeas is just little old me trying to make room for new teas in my cupboard with the occasional custom blend I create using aforementioned tea. I have had more success than I had ever anticipated with minimal to moderate effort. That is the “Good News.” The “Bad News” is trying to figure out what’s next. It isn’t really “bad news” more like difficult decisions that need to be made.
Luckily, I don’t have a lack of ideas. In fact, I have more ideas than I know what to do with. Believe it or not that is actually a problem because I truly need to streamline my thoughts and come up with a real working model and set some goals. I can’t believe I am at this point. It’s that point where the dream meets reality and it’s time for me to make some tough choices. Such as…
Where am I am going with this?
Do I keep doing what I am doing?
Should I make an attempt at growth?
If I make an attempt at growth, do I go all in and make big risks or take it slow?
What sort of time and energy can I devote this venture?
What sort of money can I invest in myself?
What makes me different from all the others out there offering the same thing?
What level of growth will I be satisfied with?
I feel I have some answers to the following questions but they are not as clear as I’d like them to be. I am a cautious individual. Although, this is a valued trait it can also be a hindrance. It has often caused me to stall in my efforts. However, I believe I have figured out a way to prevent this from happening.
What I need are the “best of the best” ideas I can muster. I am planning on going in cautious at a reasonable pace. I am not in a rush to bring in the big bucks nor do I need to take any unnecessary risks. As I always say, “if you can’t do it right the first time don’t do it at all.” In other words, “don’t cheap out on yourself and really put in 100%.”
Here is the plan: Clear the “chaos” in my mind.
Step 1: Write down my goals for iHeartTeas (ex: What type of business would I like to be, what would make me happy, what would I like to offer? Do I want to be a business?)
Step 2: Determine who I want to work with. (ex: Wholesalers, schools to learn new skills, internet advertising services, etc.)
Step 3: Determine How Much Time and Money to invest. (ex: No need to explain this one. Pretty sure everyone understands this challenge.)
Step 4: Determine what I will provide. (ex: tea, accessories, etc.)
Step 5: Determine what will make me unique. (ex: why shop at iHeartTeas, what can I offer that is one of a kind, what’s my niche, etc.)
Once I can adequately answers these questions and feel comfortable with my answers will I have hopefully brought order to the chaos and potentially launched something amazing. It has always been my dream to do something like this. We are a family of successful entrepreneurs and that drive and determination runs through my veins.
To be continued…
*Spoiler – There WILL be more to come from me at iHeartTeas. It will be fun and distinct. More products and teas will be on their way. It will be slow with an eventual larger increase come July 2012. Wish me luck and I thank you in advance for your support.
This is a look at what an order from iHeartteas looks like..certainly something to enjoy!
NORTH AMERICAN TEA CHAMPIONSHIP REVEALS THE
20 BEST TASTING, PREMIUM HOT TEAS IN THE MARKETPLACE
Judges Award Rishi Tea and QTrade Teas & Herbs with Numerous Wins
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 8, 2012) — With the 20 best tasting teas, the North American Tea Championship (NATC) is shining the spotlight on the most notable, high-quality teas that are commercially available in the North American marketplace. The Championship, held Feb. 28 – 29 in Las Vegas, Nev., evaluated premium hot teas from the fall 2011 harvest. The NATC is the only independent and professionally-judged tea competition in North America.
Rishi Tea took home the most awards with a total of six first-place wins, two second-place wins and six third-place wins. QTrade Teas & Herbs followed with four first-place wins, one second place win and five third-place wins.
In addition to Rishi Tea and QTrade Teas & Herbs, other tea companies that took a prestigious first-place title include: Alvin’s of San Francisco; Florapharm Tea-USA LP; KIMICHA TEA; Naivetea; Newby Teas of London; Rare Tea Cellar Inc.; Silk Road Teas; Sipping Streams Tea Company; and Yogic Chai.
Companies that entered the competition for the first time and received honors – either a first, second or third place award – include: Alvin’s; KIMICHA TEA; Newby Teas of London; Silk Road Teas; Black Tusk Trading; Tazo Teas; Hankook Tea; and Zuri Tea.
A total of 50 companies competed in the North American Tea Championship with a record 230 tea entries (the previous record for an evaluation was 217 different teas in 2010). The Flavored Rooibos category had 35 entries – the largest number of entries in any one category, indicating the popularity of that tea in the marketplace.
“This year’s winners are outstanding,” said North American Tea Championship Judge Lydia Kung, a tea buyer and expert with Eastrise Trading Corp. “Congratulations to all of the award recipients. Overall, they were an excellent range of teas to judge, especially in the classifications of Oolong, Rooibos, Breakfast Blends, Jasmine and Assams. After the competition was completed, the judges compared notes, and we found that all of our scores were extremely close, which confirms the judging process works. It’s a testament to the carefulness and deliberateness of the NATC scoring procedure, and all of the winners can take pride in knowing that they’re of the highest quality. Indeed, the Championship and the champions set an excellent benchmark, and it encourages other teas in the North American marketplace to rise up to these high standards.”
North American Tea Championship winners (company, tea and category) include:
Alvin’s of San Francisco (www.alvinsofsf.com), Royal Tea, Earl Grey
Florapharm Tea-USA LP (www.florapharmteausa.com ), Snow Flake, Flavored Black Tea
KIMICHA TEA (www.kimicha.com), Jin Jun Mei, Black Tea
Naivetea (www.naivetea.com), Strawberry Oolong, Flavored Oolong Tea
Newby Teas of London (www.newbyteas.com), Rare Assam, Assam
Newby Teas of London (www.newbyteas.com), Rooibos Orange Pyramid Infuser, Flavored Rooibos Blends
QTrade Teas & Herbs (www.qtradeteas.com), Heirloom Oolong, Aged/Baked Oolong Tea
QTrade Teas & Herbs, Special Breakfast Blend, Breakfast Blend
QTrade Teas & Herbs, Naked Oolong, Blended Oolong Tea
QTrade Teas & Herbs, Darjeeling Extra Special, Darjeeling
Rare Tea Cellar Inc. (www.rareteacellar.com), 2010 Emperor’s Aged Keemun, Keemun
Rishi Tea (www.rishi-tea.com), Eastern Beauty (Bai Hao Premium), BaiHao/Oriental Beauty
Rishi Tea, Sakura Black, Blended Black Tea
Rishi Tea, Dong Pian, Green Oolong Tea
Rishi Tea, Jasmine Yin Hao (Organic/Fair Trade), Jasmine
Rishi Tea, Jasmine Pearl Lot B (Organic), Jasmine
Rishi Tea, Ancient Golden Buds (Organic/Fair Trade), Yunnan
Silk Road Teas (www.silkroadteas.com), Plum Fragrance, Dark Oolong Tea
Sipping Streams Tea Company (www.sippingstreams.com), Assam CTC, Black Tea-CTC
Yogic Chai (www.yogicchai.com), Original Masala Chai, Chai
A complete list of first-, second- and third-place winners of the North American Tea Championship is available at www.TeaChampionship.com. Honorees will be featured at the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo (www.WorldTeaExpo.com), June 1 – 3, 2012 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
Winners Talk About the NATC
Bethan Thomas, marketing manager at Newby Teas of London, which won first-place in the Assam and Flavored Rooibos Blends categories, said, “The North American Tea Championship is very well known in the tea industry, and we were keen to participate this year for the first time, especially as we further expand our business from Europe, Asia and the Middle East into the North American Market. In fact, there’s no other comparable tea competition in any other region, so NATC is extremely valuable to the industry in terms of its high standards, engaging proper professionals to taste the teas and recognizing the very best teas.”
Newby Teas launched seven years ago and has been building a presence ever since. Thomas added, “Our teas have won in various food competitions, but the North American Tea Championship is the real deal in terms of evaluating quality tea. The NATC takes the right approach, and the judges have the correct skill-set and attitude. It sounds funny to say, but with other events, we’ve actually won too many awards, which lead us to believe that the judging in those challenges was not up to par. That’s not the case here. The judges are seasoned cuppers, and they represent the peak of the industry. On the whole, this win will help us in North America. It’s not easy to break into a big market like this, so we’ll use this win to open doors, build a presence and gain new business. We put a lot of effort into our products, using the right materials as well as packaging for freshness, so it’s nice to have all that hard work recognized.”
Yogic Chai Co-founder Ricardo Dacosta, who started his business in 2008 and won first-place in the North American Tea Championship Chai category in 2011 and at the recent 2012 competition, said, “For a small company like ours, it’s very exciting to be able to participate and win at the NATC. We undoubtedly created a masterpiece chai blend, but we don’t have the necessary capital to generate a lot of exposure for the tea. Participating in a legit, high-profile industry event like this helps us tremendously. It gives us credibility, and it’s proof that all of our efforts – bringing the authentic flavors of Indian masala chai to the United States – have paid off. There is no other way to get this kind of professional recognition for quality tea – the North American Tea Championship is it. Certainly, any company can say they’re the best, but the only way to prove it is through the NATC. And now, we have validation that we’re the best when it comes to chai teas.”
As a result of Yogic Chai’s 2011 NATC win in the Chai category, they generated numerous new business orders, including a deal with Foodzie.com, which delivers monthly tasting-boxes and exclusive small-batch products. “This year, we’re excited about the possibility of more new business because of our 2012 NATC award,” noted Dacosta.
KIMICHA TEA’s owner, Kimiko Uriu, who started her own brand in 2011, said, “It’s great to get a lot of positive feedback from customers about your tea, but being honored by industry experts brings it to a whole new level. A competition like the North American Tea Championship not only gives us recognition for winning first-place in the Black Tea Category for our Jin Jun Mei, but also acknowledges our ability to source the finest teas. We have invested a lot of time and resources into building close relationships with tea producers and selecting a range of teas that is rare, exciting and, at the same time, a great value for our customers. As a result, we have grown rapidly since our launch and have a strong customer base in Canada. We hope that this NATC win opens new doors. This was the only tea we entered into the competition and, given the results, we are excited to enter more of our teas next year.”
QTrade Marketing Coordinator Joshua Rigsby, whose company won in the categories of Aged/Baked Oolong Tea, Breakfast Blend, Blended Oolong Tea and Darjeeling, said, “We appreciate how the Championship recognizes and elevates quality teas in the marketplace, and we’re glad to have the opportunity to showcase our offerings in the competition. NATC raises the bar and creates heightened expectations for excellent teas in North America. The event features some of the finest leaves in the world, and the judging is spectacular. NATC judges categorically know how to recognize the best qualities in supreme teas.”
Rigsby – whose business has participated in the North American Tea Championship since its inception in 2008 – continued, “Overall, the NATC and the awards help our business in terms of exposure. We don’t have a brand in the market because we’re an import company, so the Championship generates increased awareness of our experience and ability to sell top quality premium teas and blends. We thank World Tea Media for organizing NATC, and we congratulate the other high-quality winners and companies that participated.”
About the North American Tea Championship
At the North American Tea Championship, tea submissions were evaluated blind and through organoleptic analysis of the following characteristics: dry leaf, brewed color, brewed aroma, brewed flavor, brewed mouth-feel and brewed harmony. An overall numerical value on a 100-point scale was then calculated based on the ratings of each characteristic above. Winners were determined by rank. The next North American Tea Championship will be held in May 2012 in Montebello, Calif. at the Wilbur Curtis headquarters, for an evaluation of iced teas. Entries will be accepted in April. To inquire about entering the competition, e-mail email@example.com.
North American Tea Championship is produced by World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media, Inc., which also produces World Tea Expo, World Tea East and World Tea News. Until 2010, the North American Tea Championship was called World Tea Championship, and it was held in-conjunction with World Tea Expo. Today, it is an independent event, judged by professional cuppers, that evaluates premium teas from around the world that are sold in North America. The annual Championship is made up of two classes: Hot Tea and Iced Tea. Each class consists of its own categories and judging panel. The Hot Tea Class is evaluated twice a year: February for fall teas and July for spring teas. The Iced Tea Class is evaluated once a year in May. Winners of the Tea Championship are announced after each respective evaluation. For more information, visit www.TeaChampionship.com.
About World Tea Media
World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media Inc., is an integrated media company dedicated to providing business solutions to the global tea industry. Events include the annual World Tea Expo, the largest and most prominent event for the industry, and World Tea East, the regional event for the northeast, mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. World Tea Media also produces the North American Tea Championship and World Tea News. The North American Tea Championship is the only professional and independent competition that distinguishes the highest quality and best tasting teas commercially available in the North American marketplace. World Tea News is an online portal that offers in-depth news, features and business insight for the global tea industry. World Tea Media is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev. www.worldteamedia.com
About F+W Media, Inc.
F+W Mediais a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services for enthusiasts. The Company offers a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, ecommerce, education, video and more. The Company serves 20 different markets, including writing, fine art, genealogy, antiques and collectibles,
# # #
Note to Editors: Interviews and photos available. Press passes to World Tea Expo, June 1 – 3, may also be requested. E-mail