Cultures and Tea
We know tea to be the second most imbibed beverage in the world, behind only water. From this we can extrapolate that tea is something every culture in the world celebrates in one way or another.
My question to you is whether or not you’re curious about the differences in preparation or production from say different regions in Turkey, Brazil or Mongolia for example, or are these cultural nuances simply fluff.
Please let me know in the replies!
I personally would be interested. I believe that an understanding of the various preparation and production methods brings a new level of appreciation for teas and cultures as a whole.
I think many would be very interested. Just check out the Food Channel to see how fascinated we are to tie various foods to culture. As we all try to expand our tea knowledge, this idea just raises it another level.
I’ve always been fascinated with the history and ritual associate with tea in various countries.
I am always curious about other cultures and the role that tea plays. I think that is why I became so interested in tea… because it is not just about the substances, it is about the people, the history, the motions, the way of life, etc. It is all quite fascinating.
The cultures behind me have always fascinated me. Like IdentiTEA the people, motions and rituals draw me to each new tea I encounter.
With all the discussions of people wanting to start their own tea shops, and my admitting I’m within that group of people, I thought I would see what, if any interest there would be in my vision.
The idea is to build a shop and brand focussed on exposing everyone to new people and cultures through experiences with teas from around the globe.
Would this be something which would interest you?
Would it interest me? Oh hell yes! Would it work? That depends almost 100% on the location.
For example, if I would set up a tea shop like you described in my town it would totally bomb within weeks maybe months of opening. Why? Because the people here don’t want that, they don’t like that at all. They want their $4 buffets at CiCi’s that taste like cardboard. They don’t care about flavor or experience, they just want it cheap. We have one tea house in my town that is British style and caters to the church crowd who don’t give a wink about the tea, only the status of being seen in a reservation only, historical society deemed Victorian style house.
My point is… location! Make sure the demographics are right for a tea shop in the surrounding area. Make sure people want that interactive cultural setting. Make sure the people there are liberal and open minded to new ideas and experiences.
Would the Steepster peeps love your tea shop, more than likely yes… but chances are we would not be able to visit you or be your customers. Although, I am in a neighboring state. :)
My target location is in a brand new neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati called “The Banks.” (www.thebankscincy.com)
This hip new neighborhood is being built as we speak and is located on the Ohio river between our first place Cincinnati Reds’ (www.reds.com) Major League Baseball stadium and our Cincinnati Bengals’ (www.bengals.com) NFL Stadium.
Cincinnati boasts the #1 young professional community in the world and hosted the Next Leaders Summit last September where young professionals and representatives from cities around the globe came to learn how to attract, retain and build sustainable young professional groups in their own communities.
The new neighborhood is being built on what had been empty concrete between the stadiums, but will now house retail, apartments, condos, entertainment, retail businesses and eateries. A brand new park is also planned between the river and The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (www.nurfc.org) which is also located here.
With the foot traffic, YP community’s enthusiasm for multiculturalism, urbane open-mindedness and excitement surrounding a new neighborhood I think The Banks is the perfect location.
Cincinnati also houses a relative abundance of Tea Houses and Tea Rooms. With Essencha (www.essencha.com), The Bonbonerie (www.bonbonerie.com) taking the more contemporary route and the rest being of a more hoity toity British high tea nature.
I think building a brand and retail business around cultures in a new neighborhood within a community of young professionals enthusiastic about learning and connecting with other cultures, sustainable foot traffic during both hot and cold weather and a city which already expresses its enjoyment of tea all add up to a perfect storm for my vision.
Would you visit from another state? Would you be interested in a franchise near you?
Wow! Yeah, that sounds perfect! Young, hip, open minded… If you build it, they will come…
I forgot how big Cincinnati is. It is only three hours away from me. If this plan of yours gets put into motion, let me (or all of us) know. I would definitely try to plan a trip to Cincinnati to check this out… that is, if I still live in Indiana.
The idea generally is to provide opportunity to study and enjoy a wide range of teas from each continent and culture. I would want to have plenty of teas AND tisanes.
I have friends who own a nearby bakery who have agreed to use some of the teas I would be offering to create tea-based baked goods (Think Earl Grey sugar cookies, etc.), and a prominent area chef who has been toying with creating dishes made with tea (Hojicha based noodle soups, Baozhong poached salmon, etc.)
It would be the combination of a fine eating experience based on tea, with teas from around the world combined with music produced just for the shop written about tea by local and national acts I have connections to and more.
Overall, the tea industry’s greatest limitation is education of the consumer. I’m looking to redefine what it means to create an enriching educational experience by utilizing tea and its culture defying awesomeness to help people learn and retain knowledge about tea.
The two tea cultures that’ve interested me the most have got to be Turkey and Russia. Turkish teacups and the Russian samovar, and the idea of putting jams in your tea. Which probably isn’t all that far-fetched, but it was through reading Russian tea culture that I first came across the idea of putting jam IN your tea. Although tea and jam are deeply linked anyways.
AJ, Turkish and Russian tea culture are a couple I’ve been hoping to do some more research on. Do you have any resources I could peruse?
I haven’t much. But wikipedia has specific pages on their tea cultures, which is where I started, and then I think I just began perusing through google. Although on the wikipedia pages, there are the resources listed at the bottom which would probably be interesting to look up.