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.

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