Tea Promised Land
The dream I had eleven years ago, first starting out in the fine tea world as an enthusiast turned tea biz manager, was that a tea drinker could walk into almost any establishment and find great tea has been coming closer and closer to fruition. This dream seems to be shared by many in the tea industry and is perhaps what unites us. At each show we get to see many of our competitors, and with few exceptions, we chat, we hug, we discuss our progresses and our failures. Guidance is offered to those trying to launch products others have experience with. It is really one of the great things about our relatively young industry here in the US - and certainly what facilitates success.
For those newer to the specialty tea industry, it is easy to see what has yet to be and what needs to be improved, but when those of us who have been around awhile sit and reflect on what has been accomplished, the progress is impressive. Nowadays we seem to have more tearooms, more teashops and more tea presence in general. A decade ago you did not see tea in commercials or find functional teapots in catalogs. There were no celebrities talking about their tea habits or much chatter about tea health benefits. No companies were private labeling their own tea lines. No Teavanas preaching tea and health in malls across the country.
The interest has escalated and the message is out. Just the level of tea knowledge here in the US has increased dramatically, especially with green tea sneaking its way into every bottled drink as a panacea! This is all progress! The rapid growth and its anticipated continuance, is attracting all sorts of business professionals from other industries to the tea world. As these successful individuals infiltrate, analyze and lend their expertise to the specialty tea industry, we will continue to see leaps and bounds in our fine tea world. For an American tea enthusiast, we might be closer than ever to the Promised Land.