We are in October and It’s been 12 months of sharing tea, teaching tea, and helping people choose great tea ware and gifts here at Experience Tea Studio. This has been a terrific first year and I’m so tickled with all the things I’ve learned and the tea friends I’ve made.
The biggest surprise is the interest in tea from teenagers—their eagerness to learn and the knowledge they already possess from exploring in tea shops, tasting on their own and talking tea with their friends. My Tea Discovery class helps give them an orientation to tea so they understand white, green, oolong, black and pu’erh teas and how they all relate to one another. Many parents share their tea interest and it’s fun to watch them sniff through the sensory jars and compare notes.
Tea has no gender boundaries—there are as many men who drink tea as women, and their taste preferences include all types of true tea. Ease of preparation is important and most people like in-cup steepers that have a tray-lid—especially for work.
There is a lot of bad steeping going on…especially steeping green tea. Once I help people understand that green tea needs to be steeped at 175F to 185F and for one to two minutes maximum, they are so excited to drink their green tea—it tastes much better!
Pu’erh has been introduced to many people through my Tea Discovery class and it never ceases to amaze me who embraces this tea right off the bat. There is no telling before tasting it who will like pu’erh, but it might be a 60-something woman, or the 12 year old girl, or the 30-ish guy or all three of them. One thing is for sure: just as many people don’t like pu’erh as do like it and they are pretty clear on their preference.
Customers like to bring tea in to share with me—for a variety of reasons including: 1)it’s their husbands’s favorite tea; 2)a friend brought the tea back from Asia and they want to know what it is; 3)they love a tea and want me to experience it; 4)they want to know how to steep a tea for optimum flavor; and 5)someone gave them the tea and they love it and want me to see if I can get it. My Studio is not just a one-way sales experience: customers are also selling me on carrying teas they want to buy (if this all makes sense).
I’m well into my next twelve months and look forward to making new friends, trying new teas, learning more through tea travels, and helping people appreciate and enjoy this wonderful beverage.