My favourite phrase that I heard from a business owner is that “there is no competition, only collaboration” and with the big corporates working alongside each other I think that there is an element of truth in that. How about the independent tearoom which is not part of a chain? The answer is to work collabora-tea-vely of course!
I was extremely privileged to have been able to work in Melbourne recently with two wonderful tea companies. Although I sell my own line of tea, I don’t see them as competition. There is enough for everyone I feel, and as well as selling tea, I love talking about it and had a wonderful time sharing my knowledge of tea with those that are wanting to learn something new.
My first stop was with Tea & Sympathy where we I shared my knowledge of tea and terroir. Australia is a fabulous wine producing nation and whilst the seasoned wine drinker may have heard of the French term they may not realise that terroir can be applied to tea as well. So as we tried and compared two different green teas and two black teas, explained how the tea varietal, the processing techniques, elevation of the tea plant, growing conditions can all help to contribute to the final product in the cup, it was especially interesting to hear the crowd’s comments about the tea as some of them were tasting them for the first time. It was fabulous to hear the crowd share their memories, hear their sensory evaluations and their engagement with me as they asked many great questions and made it into such a tea-licious evening.
My next collaboration (TEAm work?) was with Storm in a Teacup: a modern teabar, where we launched part 1 of the Global Tea Discovery series to showcase some of their teas. Here we shared different stories behind tea including the $5000 for 1lb of tea (bought exclusively by Harrods) to crop-reliant countries reinventing themselves as tea producers (Sri Lanka and Hawaii). From colonisation which forced a tea culture to go underground (Korea) to older tea pickers being flown by helicopter to reach the high mountainous tea plantations (Taiwan). I look forward to going on another Global Tea Discovery journey with tea lovers later on in the year.
So there we have it. It is possible for tea companies to work collabora-tea-vely to help with the bigger mission to encourage people to drink better quality loose leaf tea.
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