Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy holidays, baby!

Best wishes to all of you for a warm and wonderful holiday season. Thank you for your support and patronage. I’m looking forward to all that 2008 will bring.

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Get inspired, baby!

One of the many challenges of entrepreneurship is maintaining vision and energy after the initial excitement of launch. A fantastic website resource for inspiration is Ladies Who Launch (

Co-founded by Victoria Colligan and Beth Schoenfeldt, Ladies Who Launch is an online magazine full of entrepreneurial success stories of every kind. It is also the source of a rapidly expanding, nationwide incubator program. That, along with other features (for example, a promotional “launch pad”), make this website worth a good look (and the free subscription).

My favorite portion of the website, Featured Ladies, contains profiles of women in a wide array of professions and businesses, from new entrepreneurs to seasoned business veterans, from the ultra-famous to the regular josephines.

Of course, stories of productive and creative women pursuing their dreams are inspiring in and of themselves. Even more memorable for me, though, are the answers these women provide for the tough interview questions: “How do you handle fear?” “What do you do with rejection?” Upon reading their responses, it always strikes me that, hey, these women are real. They have actually faced serious challenges and overcome serious obstacles. It’s not an easy world out there, yet they have achieved tremendous success within it.

My favorite interview question in Featured Ladies is “How do you define success?” Interestingly, even though these women have achieved recognition, wealth, and all that the world has to offer, those don’t constitute “success” in their eyes. Instead, these women define success as happiness or peace or fulfillment. How’s that for perspective?

Oh, and baby, you’ll love their tagline -- it reads “entrepreneurship & creativity as a lifestyle!” For me, knowing that this combination has been possible for so many women – well, that is the best inspiration of all.

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ayur-what? Ayurveda, baby!

There’s been a lot of interest in our Relaxation Blend due to its unique combination of ingredients: cardamom, licorice, coriander, fennel, ginger, and rose petals. Why were those ingredients chosen? Well, this particular blend of ingredients is based in the principles of Ayurveda.

Ayur-what?? For those who are unfamiliar, Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of holistic health maintenance and healing. In fact, it is thousands of years old and has its roots in the Vedas, the sacred texts. Its focus is keeping an individual in balance and alignment with nature.

According to Ayurveda, there are three body bodily elements, called doshas. The Relaxation Blend is known as “tridoshic,” meaning that it benefits and balances the three doshas. All of the ingredients have a calming and harmonizing effect, particularly with regard to digestion. Though it will benefit the drinker at any time of day, it is intended to be particularly soothing after meals.

So, get that teacup and take a load off, baby!

Note that the above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information and our products are not intended to be used for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease.

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks, baby!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Your patronage, support, encouragement and participation are appreciated very much!

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chai, Baby! supports Coburn Place, Indianapolis

Women escaping abusive partners and circumstances often need to reinvent themselves and restructure their lives quickly and dramatically. Clearly, they need support in their challenging journey, particularly when children are involved.

Coburn Place Safe Haven in Indianapolis offers such support. Women receive safe, long-term, transitional housing, as well as a wide array of services, including counseling, education, training, medical care and legal advocacy. Coburn Place emphasizes the goal of self-sufficiency, encouraging their residents to learn the skills necessary to handle their new lives. When residents leave, they have tools in hand to make positive life changes.

Five percent of Chai Baby!’s net profits in 2008 will be donated to Coburn Place. We encourage you to visit Coburn Place’s website at and to consider volunteering your time or making a donation to support their mission and efforts.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Confessions of a slasher

Before you become alarmed, I’d better explain myself. Marci Alboher, in her book One Person / Multiple Careers coins the term “slash” to describe a person with several co-existing career identities. (OK, I used the word “slasher” rather than “slash” in the title of today’s entry, but I just had to get your attention!)

Alboher, a former lawyer, now labels her “slash identity” as “author/ speaker/ coach.” She states that she, like the numerous people described in her book, thrives despite (or perhaps because of) the complexity of her work choices. And what incredible career combinations she has interviewed! Her book profiles an Olympian turned lawyer/filmmaker/mother, a computer programmer/theater director, a lawyer/minister, and many, many other “slashes.”

Alboher’s book shows us that, now, identity may be much more fluid than ever before. Why should we pursue only one career at time – particularly in the age of instant messaging, email and telecommuting? Why can’t we take on projects utterly unrelated to our primary careers? And why can’t primary careers change to secondary careers and then back again?

For me, Alboher’s ideas are just what I need to hear. For the first time, I feel that it’s not terribly odd to be a lawyer/tea entrepreneur/mother. In fact, combinations like that are becoming more and more typical in our rapidly changing workplace. This sort of complexity may not work for everyone, and it certainly involves serious compromise, prioritization, and let’s face it, juggling. Nevertheless, according to Alboher, it works for a growing number of people.

I particularly like her suggestion that we all have the wonderful opportunity to re-invent ourselves regularly. What a way to live – open to possibility and change, open to exploring all of our talents and interests (though of course not all at once). I can’t think of anything more inspiring and empowering.

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pairing food with wine -- oops, I mean, tea

The first time I read about pairing food with tea, I was a bit skeptical. Of course, I knew of food and wine pairings, but food and tea? For me, tea drinking had been just about the tea itself – the relaxation, the flavors in my cup, the pause in my schedule. At the most, I may have considered adding tea to a meal as a palate cleanser between courses.

And then I thought, why not?

People with culinary backgrounds assert that it’s easier and even better to pair food with tea than with wine. Because tea flavors don’t overpower the senses, they complement -- rather than dominate -- a meal. Plus, with its incredibly wide range of flavors and blends, tea certainly brings dimension and interest to a dining experience.

In fact, many fine hotels and restaurants are engaging tea sommeliers that sample, recommend and pour teas for clientele. OK, let’s pause a minute here. I’m not in favor of making tea tasting and tea drinking overly highbrow or inaccessible. However, I have come around on the idea of incorporating tea into my meal plans. And I’m certainly in favor of changing the traditional association of tea with doily-covered tables and cucumber sandwiches.

At the risk of oversimplifying, tea experts tend to recommend black teas with spicy or strongly flavored meals. The taste of black tea also holds up well against smoky flavors, as well as chocolates and pastry desserts.

Green tea works best with fruits and vegetables. Surprisingly, some say that green tea is a great accompaniment for even greasy fried foods -- mostly because it can calm the stomach and aid digestion. Green tea also complements cheeses. Of course, there are numerous other pairings suggested not only for black and green teas, but also for white and oolong teas. Some experts even advocate matching the regional origins of the food and the tea. For example, Japanese green tea might be paired with a meal of sushi.

You will have to decide whether you buy into all of this. I honestly saw recommendations for pairings with anchovies and macaroni & cheese (fortunately, not together), so perhaps a bit of skepticism is necessary. At least, pairings can serve as a reminder to all of us to stop, taste and enjoy our food. They can make us slow down, and eat and drink mindfully. And at the very least, tea’s satiating qualities can provide satisfaction at the conclusion of a meal.

In the end, I suggest that you experiment with reckless abandon and choose pairings that taste wonderful to you. (May I suggest starting with chocolate pairings?)

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Get real, baby!

Do you feel ready start your own business? Before you even begin to sketch out your business plan or examine the numbers, it’s important to pause for a personal reality check.

I think that entrepreneurship is often romanticized. Freedom. Independence. The ability to meet the school bus at 4:00 pm. I am familiar with this romantic vision because I had it myself.

It’s very important to spend some time soul-searching and considering the following questions:

1. Do you believe in your business idea – really believe in it? You must believe in your product or service and your ability to deliver it in a superior manner. I could not have taken this radically new path if I didn’t believe in my teas and in the wonderful experience of tea-drinking! It is truly meaningful to me.

2. Are you motivated for the long haul? When the initial creative excitement dies down, will you be able to keep your business passion alive? All businesses have their share of drudgery. I enjoyed the tea tasting and design elements of my business so much, but those tasks have now been overtaken by operations and inventory and distribution chains. Nevertheless, I’m happy to report that I do feel focused and motivated to keep at it.

3. Can you live with the stress? There will be long hours and financial pressure. Your business will probably, at least initially, seep into all parts of your life. My car passenger side has become a portable office, and I had to buy an enormous totebag to carry my laptop and samples and papers everywhere. Business doesn’t stop for tennis lessons and chess tournaments! Also important to consider is whether your family can roll with such changes. I am very thankful for a family that is tolerant of my (hopefully temporary) distraction!

All of this said, please don’t be scared. Most entrepreneurs say that advantages of having a business far outweigh the risks. There’s nothing like being your own boss and working for yourself. Nothing beats the excitement, challenge, and opportunities that entrepreneurship provides. So, get real and then get going!

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Taste, baby!

How do you know whether you enjoyed your cup of tea?

Well, you liked the taste, right? Of course, that is most important. Remember, though, that tea drinking can be a truly multi-sensory event. Whenever you can, slow down, be still, and really experience your tea.

After you steep your tea, break open that silken sachet and look inside. This is when you will truly appreciate whole leaf tea, as opposed to powdery tea dust. You will actually see those natural leaves (and perhaps flowers and spices, too), saturated and unfurled. Notice the color of the leaves – brown or red or green. Reach out at touch them, feel them on your fingers, and smell them.

Now, move on to your tea cup. Observe the rich amber or pale yellow-green colors of the liquid. Smell the bouquet -- tea aromas can range from woody to floral to spicy.

And now, the best part. Sip! Keep a bit of tea in your mouth and think. Is it bitter? Sweet? Smoky? What taste stays in your mouth after you swallow? You don’t have to be a professional tea taster to understand what types of tea you enjoy most. Do you like the slightly vegetal taste of green tea? The delicacy of white? Do you prefer the stimulation of spices and roots?

Happy tasting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fill in that gap, baby!

The trouble with having a techie husband is that I have tended to leave all technology-related matters to him. (I know, shame on me.) This created quite a serious knowledge gap for me, especially when I began building an Internet-based business.

I am continually amazed by the rapidity with which technology originates, develops and becomes integrated in everyday life. I’m sure you are, too. Maybe because I’m out of school (way out, I admit), it seems to take me longer and longer to see and understand what tools are available to me. Believe it or not, this is not always a disadvantage. Often, by the time I get on board, the basic technology has already improved a lot.

A couple of years ago, my young, hip cousin had to tell me what a blog was. Now, though, the leaps and bounds in blog technology have helped me have my own blog. A couple of years ago, building a website on my own would have been laughably impossible. Now, though, I have so many tools available to build and maintain a website with relatively little guidance.

In short, I am slowly and painstakingly trying to fill in my knowledge gap, but each “Oh, now I get it!” makes it worth it.

So, what’s your knowledge gap, baby? Well, start filling it in. I guarantee that taking even a few steps will be gratifying and helpful. And you will surprise yourself with what you can absorb and integrate into your life and business.

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Calm down, baby!

We all know it -- women handle a lot. If you’re anything like me, your head sometimes spins from all the tasks and thoughts and plans in it. When I start jumping from one thing to another without accomplishing anything, I know it’s time to take a break and calm down!

I think we all have coping strategies that help us regain our focus. Here are my favorites -- and each can take less than half an hour. It’s time well spent because I’m much more productive afterwards.

Walk or run outside. On days that I feel particularly chained to my desk, nothing is more liberating than walking away from it. Exercise naturally relaxes the body, and sun and sky never fail to restore perspective.

Reach for a tea cup. A cup of tea works wonders for me! (You didn’t think I pass that up, did you?) In all seriousness, high quality tea contains theanine, an amino acid that has been found to promote physical and mental relaxation and to reduce anxiety.

Write it down. Whether I write in a cloth-bound journal or a chain of post-it notes, jotting down what’s troubling me always clarifies my thoughts. In fact, writing (and particularly, journaling) is a more powerful stress reliever than many people realize.

Laugh it out. Laughter is known to relax the body by lowering blood pressure and has been linked to the reduction of disease. Usually, I’ll reach for an old Dave Barry book or a Scrubs podcast – either way, I’m guaranteed a good belly laugh within minutes.

Meditate. Meditation is a practice that provides mental, physical and emotional balance. However, a year ago, it would not have been on my list. When I sit, my foot starts a-tapping, and I begin wondering what I should be doing instead. Then I found this lovely CD called (now, don’t laugh) Guided Meditations for Busy People, led by Bodipaksha. Available on, its nine extremely short meditations are perfect for the novice meditator (a.k.a., me).

Yoga. Yoga practice harmonizes the mind and body, helping to relax both. I am no expert (in fact, I may have the least flexible body on earth), but I continue to try. Concentrating so intensely on my body's movements definitely focuses and calms my mind.

And there you have it. You may find one or more of these methods helpful, or you may have a coping technique that works better for you. For example, some need to talk with or be around others to de-compress and relieve stress. Please share what works for you. It’s all about balance, baby!

Note that the above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information and our products are not intended to be used for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What's the scoop, baby?

So, baby, what’s the scoop? We keep hearing that drinking tea is healthy, but what precisely does that mean?

Well, tea contains polyphenols, which are particularly strong antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging cells in the body. This sort of cell damage is linked to diseases like heart disease and cancer.

High quality tea also contains theanine, an amino acid which promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety. In addition, tea contains B vitamins, folic acid, niacin, iron, zinc, and other vitamins & minerals.

Research is uncovering a wide range of potential benefits in connection with cancer and heart disease, as well as allergies, arthritis. Research is showing that tea may boost the immune system, bone density, digestion, and even weight loss.

What does this mean for us? Clearly, the research indicates that tea has a wide array of potential health benefits and drinking tea regularly can promote good health. At any rate, taking a bit of your day to sit and sip is going to rehydrate and recharge your body and mind. So, sip away, baby! Make tea a part of your healthy and balanced lifestyle!

Note that the above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information and our products are not intended to be used for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Tao of Tea

Here’s an odd request. Picture a tea bag in your mind. What does it look like? Possibly, your mind has conjured up a traditional rectangular tea bag, the invariably flat paper pillow that crushes even good tea leaves into dust. Though that traditional tea bag offers convenience, it unfortunately compromises flavor and the overall tea drinking experience.

Enter the pyramid tea bag! This Japanese invention is a small pod of food grade nylon that allows additional space for tea leaves and other ingredients to remain whole while they steep in hot water.

Because the tea leaves remain full, better flavor extraction occurs. And (I love this part!) the tea leaves have room to absorb water and unfurl beautifully. This is the tea drinking experience! Time to sit and just breathe is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity for mental health and balance.

So, sit back and contemplate your leaves and your life. This is the Tao of Tea!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Drink up, baby!

It’s shocking sometimes what power celebrities have. Apparently sales of white tea skyrocketed after Britney Spears announced (incorrectly) that it contains higher levels of anti-oxidants than other types of tea. Though Britney’s statement is not necessarily accurate (shocking, eh?), her endorsement nevertheless had a stunning effect on the tea industry.

Does this mean that tea’s growing popularity is just a passing trend, a product of advertising hype and inaccurate information?

No way, baby!

Tea is a genuinely healthful drink, and you can take that to the bank. As we learn more about damage to the body caused by sugar and artificial sweeteners, not to mention excessive amounts of caffeine, tea is emerging as a drink of choice. It contains no sugar, fat, or sodium, and it has almost no calories.

Very importantly, tea contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals in the body. And research continues to uncover an array of potentially healthful effects of drinking tea, including improved cardiac and bone health and cancer-fighting properties.

With the endless varieties of types and flavors available, you are guaranteed to find a delicious tea drink for you. So, drink up, baby! Make it a part of your lifestyle.

Note that the above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information and our products are not intended to be used for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Work to life to work

Some days I deeply miss my separate office building space, a space devoted to my professional activities. Now, I battle valiantly to separate all of my paper in my home office. And invariably, field trip permission slips and birthday party invitations, along with the utility bills and insurance renewal forms, worm their way into my work files.

I also miss the ability to compartmentalize my day into work and family time. Now, home is work is home is work. I will talk to the furnace repairman and my tea tin suppliers and the parent rounding up school volunteers within the space of the same half-hour. My California calls often come in at 8 p.m., when the interminable bedtime routine is slowly unfolding. Call it constant gear-shifting or wearing many hats at once, but certainly call it challenging.

Any tips, ladies, to ease the transition between work and life and work again? We’d love to hear from you, baby!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Get out there, baby!

I joined a women’s networking organization recently and with quite a bit of trepidation. My career path has been largely dominated by men, and I didn’t know what to expect from an exclusively women’s network.

Wow. It was a surprise on many levels. At every turn there was enthusiasm for my foray into a new business. Business cards and potential connections and new ideas were pressed upon me. These women really wanted to see me succeed.

Of course, everyone was also there to promote businesses and find new clients. The overarching theme, though, was strengthening connections between businesswomen for everyone’s betterment.

I certainly can’t promise that all networks operate similarly, given that I’m only a part of only one (and only recently so). I do know that some of my best connections and ideas have come from those meetings. I highly recommend searching for the right network for you, especially you new entrepreneurs. Get out there, baby!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Power of the purse

Is it just me? Does it seem that every other article about new women entrepreneurs describes some lucky lady making millions by selling purses she made in her basement? Apparently, purses are the gateway to fame and fortune. Who knew?

I’m not sure that it’s a path everyone can take, but I think it means something important for women. It means a business can arise naturally from a lifestyle. Love and passion can result in financial stability. Most importantly, it means women don’t have to fit themselves into a traditional business environment or position.

I am learning that entrepreneurship provides many answers and solves many problems. Despite financial pressures, it can provide personal independence, a creative outlet, and tremendous work-life flexibility.

Yes, there are long hours and a need to wear a thousand different hats, but it’s certainly been the best decision of my life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One, two, chai chai chai

I chuckle a bit when I hear the term “chai tea.” In India, “chai” actually means “tea.” So “chai tea” is, well, redundant-redundant.

What many people think of as “chai” is actually masala chai. A “masala” is a mix of spices and other ingredients used to flavor food or drink. So, traditional masala chai is loose leaf black tea (chai) flavored with a masala of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and cloves. There are lots of variations in spices and proportions, and some families even have their own secret recipes.

Traditional chai is made by boiling a pot of tea on the stove and adding spices directly into the pot. But we wanted to offer a superb traditional masala chai with modern convenience – a beautiful tea sachet.

Many tea sachets that contain masala chai simply don’t deliver on taste. We worked hard on this, and we believe we have achieved a vibrant and delicious masala chai flavor in a tea sachet. Though milk and sugar are customarily added to this drink, it’s not strictly necessary. In fact, we love this tea straight up and as is.

We think it’s critical for a business to believe in its product. We really do!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Give it up, baby!

There are more women in business than ever before. What an opportunity to redefine how businesses operate!

A growing number of established companies are participating in charitable giving to a wide variety of causes. Our company hopes that even us new businesses will incorporate charitable giving into business planning from the get-go. In that vein, Chai, Baby! will donate 5% of net profits on continual basis to various charitable organizations that support women seeking safety, education, health and independence.

We would appreciate your suggestions for organizations dedicated to these purposes as we make our charitable giving plans for the upcoming year.

Contact us, baby, and join us in giving it up!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Who are you calling baby?

In the beginning, I worried a bit that the “baby” in “Chai, Baby!” might sound somewhat demeaning. You know what? I got over that in a hurry.

Why? Because I knew in my gut what “Chai, Baby!” means. It’s a greeting, full of energy and affection and joy. This is a women’s business, providing an excellent product to other women. Thus, the greeting fits that spirit and intention. And I mean that, baby.

With the growing influx of women-owned businesses, that energy is all around us. I particularly love that many of these businesses and organizations are reclaiming the color pink as a symbol of that power and energy.

During my prior years I refused to wear -- or even acknowledge -- pink. It certainly didn’t belong in the law firms at which I worked, and I definitely didn’t want to convey weakness or lack of substance as a lawyer.

But now, I, too, am participating in the redefinition of pink. It’s a signature color for this company, and it’s everywhere -- on the tins, the shirts, the tea sets. I want to join the women who are infusing this traditionally female color with power, strength, and style.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Why Chai Baby?

Another good question.

Underneath “Chai, Baby!” -- a catchy and energetic tagline -- there is an actual Chai Baby. Once this girl got into my head, she wouldn’t leave. Instead of being lawyerly and networking for legal contracts and contacts, I stole gel pens from my kids’ art cart and sketched and sketched for hours.

So, while the tea business was taking shape in the world, Chai Baby also took shape on paper. A lovely, kurti-clad girl, radiating confidence and strength and style, emerged and winked at me. She was the original Chai Baby, a pleasing amalgam of the wonderful women in my life and the qualities they possess.

She’s been in my head for so long now that she’s become iconic for me. Aside from her whittled abs (I fear that ship has sailed), I aspire to be the person she represents. (Good thing life’s a journey, eh?)

For me, she has also become more than a fusion of features -- she is also a fusion of cultures. She is the point at which the best of all worlds meets. She is you! Whether or not you yourself are a cultural blend, you know how to appreciate the accelerating mixture of people, traditions, and backgrounds. You know that it is a beautiful and fertile time.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Why Chai?

It’s a good question. After all, loving tea (or any product) is not a sufficient reason to start a business. (Can’t take the lawyer out of the girl, can you?)

Yes, I love tea. I always have. But tea has become more than a product for me. It has become a series of journeys. And all of them have pointed naturally toward a tea business.

My first journey: learning about tea itself. This is a wonderful plant! Significantly less caffeine that coffee, chock full of antioxidants, and always a tasting adventure. Not to mention the proliferating research regarding a tremendous array of potential health benefits. It has been enjoyable to develop the “Chai, Baby!” brand, but far more important to me that the underlying product is useful and healthful and wholesome.

My second journey: learning about myself. I’ve spent my work years advising clients and counseling them on running their businesses. Now, I’ve learned that I like doing more than advising. I like managing my own mistakes, not worrying about the mistakes of others. And now, I get to be a client myself sometimes, and it feels gooooooood.

And my third journey: learning about I truly want to accomplish in my lifetime. Over the years, I often had only one feeling at the end of the work day. I felt that my only accomplishment had been rearranging my desk’s paper and the world’s money. Now, I know I want to create something that never existed before. I want to influence the business community to make charitable giving part of the course of business. And I want my business to build a community of women.

So, “Why Chai?” you ask? Because it’s a perfect fit!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Out of the Airplane

So, I did, in fact, start a little tea business. After representing medium to large-sized companies as a lawyer, I was suddenly a company myself -- a very, very tiny company. After years of advising and counseling and suggesting, I had to start doing.

Of course, I knew in my head that I’d be filling a very wide variety of roles, from CEO to copy girl. But knowing and doing are two different things. Every minute became precious, every minute had to be spent as entrepreneur or mother or wife or lawyer. And, of course, there was the financial investment.

Suddenly, I had lots of reasons to worry.

And I did worry. But I also felt exhilarated (in an “I just jumped out of an airplane” sort of way). I spent years doing work in a very competent, but never really inspired, manner. By contrast, I began actually leaping out of bed, ready for the day’s tasks. I was excited and stimulated and terrified all at once. I began to understand why people do, in fact, jump out of airplanes.

I thought, even if I don’t succeed, it’s worth it to feel like this.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Start a little tea business? Whatever.

I like stories about ideas for new businesses. My personal favorite: “It struck me while I was diapering my son.” (What struck her, do you think?)

Well, the origin of my tea business is much less dramatic (traumatic?), and certainly more pleasant. As you might guess, I was having a cup of tea.

Years ago, my friend and I were in a bookstore cafe enjoying a Decaf Peach tea blend. I noticed that my teabag was unlike any I’d seen before -- pale and silky, translucent and triangular. I could see the tea leaves floating and expanding in their silken pod. And the tea tasted lovely.

I decided to buy the entire box, and I looked inside at the teabags slipping around one another. I thought about what a simple, sensual experience tea drinking is: sight, smell, taste, touch.

My friend and I began musing. “Wouldn’t it be something,” I said, “to start a little tea business?”

Very funny. I’m a lawyer by profession. Not just a lawyer -- a corporate lawyer. My work involves contract review and painstaking research and meticulous drafting, and covering everyone’s you-know-what. Start a little tea business? Yeah. Whatever.

And yet, during the years following this memorable tea-drinking experience, I started a surprising and exciting journey. I have loved drinking tea my whole life. But I began to learn -- really learn -- about tea. I obtained certifications, drank boatloads of teas of every type and quality and flavor, touched all manner of water-saturated tea leaves, and inhaled a thousand lovely steeped tea bouquets. And I continued to learn about this wonderful plant -- its health benefits, its processing methods, its blending possibilities.

I began to dream in tea.