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Hawaii Direct from Grower Tea Startup Launches on Indiegogo

Aloha, my name is Elyse Petersen and I am Global Tea Ambassador and tea farm advocate. I’ve worked with farmers in Hawaii, Japan, India, Taiwan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and China and want to bring them closer to the US tea drinker. I am building Tealet, a marketplace that allows growers to tell their stories and sell their teas directly to you. We are launching an exciting curated tea service called Global Tea Taster on Indiegogo. Contribute what you can and get pre-launch access to discounts to the service. http://www.indiegogo.com/tealet

25 Replies
chadao said

Aloha Elyse!

I cannot say how much I appreciate people like you who try to bring justice, community, and education to producer and consumer alike, hopefully bridging the gap between this unfortunate dichotomy. There are currently very few tea companies who work directly with the growers and farmers to bring tea to the United States. I am very excited to watch your prototype grow and flourish into a beautiful reality.

Unfortunately, I cannot give any monetary help at this time. However, I would like to help raise awareness of your vision in every way that I possibly can. I have already “liked” and “shared” Tealet on facebook. In addition, I will be attending two tea-centered events here in Colorado, and hopefully I can talk to people about the wonderful work that you are doing.

A few questions: do you have any programs or systems in place to help educate us tea drinkers on the true appreciation of tea, such as workshops, literature, etc.? Also, what are your plans for taking the cultures of tea around the world and integrating them into an American culture that virtually has no tradition/culture when it comes to true tea appreciation? This last question is kind of a stretch: the craft of making tea wares also seems to be one in which much opportunity exists for a vision like yours. Do you have any plans to make this market better and more accessible?

Babble said

Two tea-centered events in Colorado? I know about the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival (which I am 95% sure I am attending). What’s the other one?

chadao said

Hi Rachel. The other tea event is rather small, just a little workshop at Sojourner’s Coffee and Tea in South Denver, led by reps of the Tea Spot.

Babble said

Ooh.. when is this? Also, so you are going to the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival? I’ve never been. How big is it? Any classes you particularly recommend taking?

chadao and Rachel, are any of these events open invite? I would love to come and share more about the teas I’ve discovered.

Also chadao, I am currently sourcing tea utensil producers around the world. While I was in Japan I met some amazing artists from Tokoname that make kyusus that can only be purchased in Japan. I believe that everyone deserves access to these teapots.

Babble said

Elyse, as far as I know they are open invite. This page explains everything that’s going on: http://www.boulderteahouse.com/rocky-mountain-tea-festival/

If you scroll down near the bottom, you should see a place for vendors to submit information to be in the Tea Bazaar.

Bonnie said

I’m taking a class in cooking at the festival and one on oolongs where I hope to meet Chadao!

I’m going to the 12:30 cooking class and the Oolong class! So happy to get to meet Steepster people! Look for me! I have my blue and silver cane.

chadao said

Yes, these events are open. Rocky Mountain Tea Festival is going to be July 28-29. They may still be looking for vendors for the vendor showcase. For more info, visit http://www.boulderteahouse.com/rocky-mountain-tea-festival/

Great, chadao. I already emailed the event organizer to see if they are still accepting vendors. Do you know the usual attendance at the event?

Babble said

@Bonnie – What time are you doing the cooking class? I had to sign up for the 9:30 AM class because the 12 AM was full :(

I’m thinking of doing the oolong one, and I’m also signed up for the rare teas of china..

Aloha, I am very happy to say that I will be vending at the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival, already bought my plane tickets. Thanks so much for introducing me to this event, see you all there! I would love to pour a cup of tea for everyone directly from the grower.

Babble said

That’s awesome!!! I will definitely say “hi” and taste some delicious tea.

chadao said

Good for you Elyse! I hope you enjoy your time in Colorado. I’ll be happy to drop by your booth and say hi!

Bonnie said

Me too! I’ll come by and say hello! Hope to see Rachel too!

Babble said

Looking forward to it. Are you going to the 4-course dinner on Saturday? I really want to.

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Babble said

This sounds really cool, and I must admit that trip to Hawaii is mighty tempting (who wouldn’t want an excuse to go to Hawaii?)

Rachel, the tea farms here are amazing, they are tucked away in rainforests on the foothills of active volcanoes.

Emilie said

Are they on the big island? I used to live in Hawaii (born there even!) but I moved away before I got into tea and I’m sad I missed a chance to check out the farms there!

Emilie, most of the farms are on the Big Island, but more are popping up on Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. You can learn more about the industry in this report that I co-authored: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/tea_2011.pdf

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chadao said

One more question: how does the pursuit of quality affect your vision? My experience with coffee shows me that the more communities learn, the greater their capacity to create better quality. Do you think that your prototype will lead to a higher quality product as well?

Quality is our number one priority. I have found that when a farmer knows the end user of his product they take more pride in producing the best tea they can. Many tea-growing communities around the world are steering away from the large scale corporate models because they lose control of quality. By creating their own brand and signature they can fine tune their quality and make a product that they are proud of.

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Sil select said

One quick question as I don’t see anything on the indigogo site – where will you ship to for any of the “rewards?”

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Silaena, we are willing to ship anywhere in the world. The Hawaii Tea Tour perk is only eligible for round trip flight from US destinations. I hope this helps! Aloha

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chadao said

I’m sold.

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