• Social Media

    The Trouble with Tech Startups and Tea

    Last year I wrote a bit of a rant about crowdfunding and the issues that it presents the tea world. Not much has changed since then but the recent demise of tech startup Teforia got me thinking about this subject again. Dan Bolton’s article on World Tea News provided some great insights into why this happened but there was one glaring issue that I haven’t seen discussed. The trouble with tech startups is that they all try to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist! Tea Robots Aren’t Necessary People have been drinking tea for a very, very long time. There hasn’t been much in the way of technological innovation (with the possible exception…


  • Social Media

    5 Things Tea Companies Need to Stop Doing on Instagram

    Instagram is probably the social media platform that I use the most. There’s an awesome sense of community there and I love being able to connect with other tea fanatics around the world. It’s also a great way to discover new tea companies. That being said, there are some things that tea companies do on Instagram that drive me crazy. I’m writing about it here in the hopes that I can get through to at least a few of the perpetrators. Using Stock Photography I see a lot of companies using nothing but the same terrible stock photos that everyone else uses, most often from freeimages.com. This comes across as very commercial and impersonal. It…

  • Blogging

    Guide to Tea Blogging: Ethics, Reviews, and Sampling

    I kicked off a series called Guide to Tea Blogging back in December but haven’t had a chance to revisit it. New bloggers often reach out to me asking for advice so it will helpful to have blog posts on different topics to direct them to. The ethics of sampling come up pretty often so it seemed like a logical next installment.  Ethics and Sampling  One of the obvious perks of writing a tea blog is indeed receiving free samples. However, getting free samples should not be the reason that your blog exists. The same rule applies for press passes to World Tea Expo and other events. Unscrupulously greedy bloggers give the good ones a bad…

  • Tea Tips

    4 Simple Ways Restaurants Can Improve Their Tea Service

    I think almost every tea drinker I know has bemoaned the sad state of tea in American restaurants at one time or another. Even high-end establishments disappoint with tepid water and poor quality tea bags, although there are some rare exceptions like NYC’s Eleven Madison Park. I’m always confused by this because very often the same place will offer coffee from one of the so-called “third wave” vendors. Here’s the thing, making tea isn’t hard. It doesn’t require a gargantuan effort. There are some really simple changes a restaurant could make to transform the customer experience. Don’t Make It an Afterthought Tea is usually found at the very end of a menu, often as…

  • Blogging

    Guide to Tea Blogging: The Importance of Accurate Analytics

    I get a lot of questions about the ins and outs of tea blogging, especially from those who are very new to this crazy thing we do. This post is the first of what will likely be a bit of a new mini-series. I thought I would start with the issue of analytics because it can be one of the most complicated aspects of tea blogging. Those of you who are retailers might also benefit from this kind of information. Regardless of the platform that you use to blog, it’s important to know that the native analytics are unlikely to be accurate. I use Blogger and it took me a while to figure out…

  • Blogging

    5 Things to Do When Contacting a Tea Blogger

    Last week I wrote a post called 5 Things to Avoid Doing When Contacting a Tea Blogger. The response was surprisingly awesome (big thank you to everyone who shared it on social media!). It was only fair that I put a positive spin on it now. It can be hard to know what proper etiquette is, especially if you’re new to the industry. The steps below should set anyone off on the right foot. Do Your Research It’s really important to do your homework before hitting send on that email, tweet or Instagram message. Reading through several weeks of posts will give you a good picture of what that blogger specializes in. What are…