Tomorrow starts a new chapter in my life as a tea aficionado. For the last six plus years, I’ve been writing tea reviews and I’ve loved this “occupation”. It offered me the unique opportunity to sample teas from all around the world – teas I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to get to know.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might be aware of the fact that I recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and the purpose of the campaign was so that I could take over 52Teas brand from its creator, Frank Horbelt.
Frank has had several different tea ventures over the years. Recently, Frank realized that he wanted to devote his full efforts to his iced tea business, Southern Boy Teas so he asked me if I would take over the brand 52Teas.
I was excited by the prospect. Some of you may be aware that I used to operate another tea business: Life, LiberTEA & the Pursuit of Happiness, which was later simplified to LiberTEAS. I closed that business about 7 years ago because I realized that I’m much better at creating teas but not so great at running a business. So when Frank offered me 52Teas, I was – like I said – excited but I was also a little nervous. (OK, a lot nervous!)
So I talked to my oldest daughter who is incredibly sensible and smart hoping she’d tell me what I should do. I was surprised – happily so! – when she offered to help me with this undertaking! So we became a team!
Now, I don’t have to worry about the running the business part of the business. I can just do what I do best – creating teas. And with a brand like 52Teas – what an amazing platform! I get to create a unique and unusual tea blend every single week!
But because I’m back in the tea business, I won’t feel right about reviewing other people’s teas. I don’t think it will be an ethical thing for me to do. And it certainly wouldn’t be ethical for me to review my own teas. So, I’m saying goodbye to the SororiTea Sisters Tea Review Blog.
But, I’m not riding off into the sunset. I’ll still be very actively involved in SororiTea Sisters. I did, after all – co-found this blog with TeaEqualsBliss! This blog is still my baby!
As you are probably aware, we’ve brought on a few more sisters over the last few months, and you can get to know them here. They – along with TeaEqualsBliss – will do the writing, and I’ll act as administrator of the blog.
I’ll still be posting the reviews to Twitter. I’ll still be occasionally posting them to our Facebook page. I’ll still be around – I just won’t be writing anymore. At least – not here. But I’ll have my own little blog space on the all new 52Teas website.
So, don’t be a stranger! Please feel free to stop by and drop me a comment on my new website. Or better yet: buy some tea! Or buy a lot of tea! More tea = more happiness!
For those of you who are waiting for the right time to check out my Kickstarter Campaign and contribute, that time is NOW! We are nearing the end of the campaign, and we still have a LONG way to go to reach our goal!
So, I thought I’d take a moment to answer some questions that you might have.
If you have other questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section!
Why have we launched the Kickstarter campaign? What’s it all about?
A couple of months ago, I was approached by Frank from 52Teas (aka the Chief Zoomdweebie!) and he asked me if I was interested in taking over the 52Teas line. He wanted to focus his efforts on his iced tea business. You can check out his Indiegogo campaign to support his iced tea endeavor here! And please do!
Anyway, he wanted to focus his efforts on his passion, which is iced tea. My passion is hot tea. So, I was very interested, but also a little hesitant, until I talked to my daughter, Amethyst, who told me that she wanted to do this thing with me!
So, we have the passion for tea. We have Amethyst, who is very detail oriented and all about making sure things are done right, right on time! She’s going to be the one keeping the numbers crunched and the orders fulfilled and the inventory in stock so that I can do what I do best: tea.
But what we don’t have is equipment or inventory. That’s where the Kickstarter campaign comes in. If we’re successfully funded, we’ll have the funds we need to buy the equipment and the inventory we need to be able to get this business off to a running start.
But we can’t do it without you and your support!
Why do you need so much money?
Because, as I said, we need the equipment and inventory to get started. We need tea, we need the ingredients to create the unique flavors of teas that 52Teas is known for.
We need the equipment to make the business go. We need the pouch sealer, we need the pouch filler. Oh, we’ll need the pouches too. We need the shipping label printer and labels for it too. We have the passion and the ability to make the business go, but without the inventory and the equipment, we won’t get very far.
What do I get in return?
TEA! And seriously, is there any better incentive than that? You get tea. How much tea and what kind of tea is totally up to you. Check out the incentives list on the sidebar of the campaign for more details of what kinds of teas are available.
What happens if the campaign isn’t successfully funded?
Well, according to Frank, if we’re not able to take over the business as of March 31st, 2015, 52Teas will be no more. So, if the campaign isn’t successfully funded – if we don’t get the money we need to take over the business, it will wither and die. It will cease to be.
We can’t take over the business without the startup capital that we need to get the equipment and inventory.
I know it seems like a lot of money. But it’s for a good cause – it’s to support a small business and to support a mother and daughter team to help them realize their dream. And it’s about TEA.
Please support our campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/497705217/the-great-52teas-take-over
Also, please support Frank’s Indiegogo campaign to help him build his iced tea business: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/southern-boy-teas-organic-flavored-iced-teas
Every little bit helps! Please take a moment to help spread the word. Tweet about this blog post, tell your friends and neighbors, post it on your facebook. But most of all, take a moment to contribute because without the contributions, we simply won’t reach our goal!
Product: Oribe-Style Stoneware Chawan (Tea Bowl)
This handmade, wheel-thrown stoneware “chawan” or “tea bowl” was fired in an electric kiln to 2350°F. It features a clear and green glaze combination with iron oxide underpainting. This is known as Oribe-style. The decoration goes all the way around the bowl.
This style of tea bowl is “closed” with straight up and down walls, as opposed to the “open” style with outwardly sloping walls.
Please note: This bowl is one of my more “sturdy” tea bowls. In other words, it’s a bit heavy.
Click Here to Visit: Guerrero Ceramics Shop on Etsy
You may have noticed that I’ve been reviewing a lot of Matcha lately. Well, that’s because Red Leaf Tea has this amazing offer. Free Matcha? For doing what I do anyway? OK… you’ve got me!
Also, I have noticed that after a few weeks of drinking Matcha on a daily basis, I FEEL better. I have more energy, I feel less sluggish. So, I’m going to try to incorporate Matcha into my daily tea routine, having some every day, rather than once or twice a week like I used to.
A couple of weeks ago, while cleaning my favorite (and only usable) chawan, I accidentally dropped it in the sink and it cracked. (My other chawan was raku fired, and so I wasn’t entirely sure that it was safe to use. It’s gorgeous, but, I was no longer comfortable using it as I feared it might be unsafe)
I was so sad. I loved that chawan. I started using porcelain cereal bowls until I could find a satisfactory replacement. The bowls worked just fine, but they were thinner and lighter in weight than my chawan and I really like the heavier feel of a chawan that was crafted on a pottery wheel.
The temporary bowls just weren’t the same, and it affected my tea experience. Whether I was ready to admit it or not, the simple fact is that the vessel has a little something to do with the enjoyment of the product. That is to say, it matters. The bowl (or cup, when drinking other teas) makes a difference to me, at least mentally. The vessel that I drink from affects the overall experience.
So finally, I decided I HAD to get myself a chawan. I knew that I wanted to purchase the chawan direct from an artisan, because as an artist myself, I like to support other artists with my shopping. I try to avoid purchasing from the big corporations whenever I can, preferring smaller shops and when it comes to products like chawans, I want something handmade and direct from the artist.
After a bit of shopping around, I finally settled on this beautiful chawan from Guerrero Ceramics on Etsy. There are a lot of really gorgeous chawans on Etsy… but the reason I finally chose this one is simply: the seller was nice. I had written to him – admittedly about another bowl which was smaller and was intended to serve as more of a tea cup rather than a Matcha bowl – and he responded promptly and was very nice. He provided me a direct link to his Matcha bowls and while I didn’t see anything that piqued my interest right away, about a week later, I revisited his site and found this beautiful Oribe-Style Chawan.
The Chawan arrived very quickly, and was packaged wonderfully! I’m a sucker for packaging, and I think that when a seller takes the time to put some thought into the way they package your purchase for shipment says a lot about the seller. The chawan came in a postal box, and tucked inside the box, wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap, was a gift box that bore the Guerrero Ceramics stamp, and inside the box, layered with more bubble wrap, was my wrapped chawan. Now, when I say “wrapped” I don’t just mean bubble wrap. Mr. Guerrero took the time to wrap the chawan in a bright yellow fabric – Japanese furoshiki style!
As for the chawan: I just love it! It is a bit larger than my previous chawans, almost the size of a typical cereal bowl. But I actually prefer this size to my smaller chawans because it allows me ample room to whisk without sloshing any of the Matcha out of the bowl in the process. It also allows me to double up on the amount of Matcha I prepare … because, I’ve found that with my smaller bowls, the Matcha just disappears way too quickly! To put it simply, bigger bowl = MORE MATCHA!
If you find yourself in need of a new chawan, please, consider shopping handmade! We artists need and cherish the support, and you won’t find a nicer artist than Jeff Guerrero from Guerrero Ceramics!