A closer look at where I'm taking my tea journey this year
I'm not typically one for New Year's Resolutions. I'm more one of those people that always has a set of goals laying somewhere close by, ever changing, and of varying intensities. What the New Years presents, is a good opportunity to revitalize existing goals and engage in deep reflection on your values. What is usual revealed to me is that I'm not quite focusing on the things I actually care about the most. In that manner, you are able to course correct, and aim toward better target. The following is some of the outcome of my personal reflections, as they pertain to Tea.
The Tea-Life Equation
This business, my passion for tea, and how both integrate into my life and future goals is a complicated equation. I have two beautiful daughters under the age of five, an incredible wife, and I work full time job. I constantly find myself in a juggling act, as I'm sure many working parents do. How do I go about working on and finishing everything required, managing my responsibilities, and building a hobby business, without neglecting something critical. Add in an injection of too many interests and hobbies(something that's always plagued me), and you have a recipe for unlimited unfinished projects.
With 2019 rolling in, I've "resolved" to take a harder look at this business, it's place in my life and priority list, and what trajectory I'd like it to take. I've spent a significant amount of time over the last 20 months not working on Tea by the Sea. I've been heads down invested in my family and enjoying the first years of our youngest daughter(don't worry, the older one gets some attention too!). While I'd like to say that's all I've been doing, that's not the truth. I've maintained a good amount of free time, and have spent that time on frivolous, though enjoyable activities. I'm making a considerable effort to audit the use of my time, scale back on relaxation, in an effort see if I can create any type of growth for our tea brand.
Changes in Focus
My original interest in tea stems from an underlying interest in all things health. I started drinking tea because I heard of it's healing and restorative properties. Over time, I grew to appreciate the countless varieties, brewing methods, tastes, and culture. I will continue to write blog posts with information about tea, and it's many properties, but I want the information on this blog to be relevant to a wider audience, and bring unique value and insight.
Moving forward, there will not only be tea articles, but also in-depth commentary and reviews on teaware, tea-books, and other tea brands. Some of the tea and equipment I review, I may sell through this site, some of it may have affiliate links (which will be disclosed and completely transparent), and some may just point you directly to where you can purchase, with no benefit to me. One of my broader goals is to bring more awareness and attention to tea in America. My country of residence is missing out on an opportunity to be part of an amazing global phenomenon. If I can get someone in America to buy tea in any capacity, I will consider that a win, even if I am not the one selling the tea.
In addition to a broader range of tea articles, I expect to also post about general health, fitness, and wellness. I, as many others, aspire to grow into a healthier, more-balanced version of myself. Along the way, I've tried numerous foods, products, supplements, workouts, and more. I want to share my experiences, opinions, and as much factual information as possible surrounding health items, all for the possibility that one person might feel slightly better, or accomplish one little thing that has been bothering them. Or, in the case of a crummy product, maybe save someone a few dollars! Pivoting this blog in this direction instantly creates tenfold opportunity for me to bring potential readers value, teach someone new about tea, and touches on a much broader range of interests that I maintain.
A Deeper Why
Create my Dream Career
My reasoning for starting Tea by the Sea has been primarily based around long term goals. I desire to open a tea lounge that serves amazing globally sourced loose leaf tea, a variety of locally sourced food options, and all in a space that has saltwater reef aquariums built in the wall. I visualize an environment where anyone can come to relax, drink tea, socialize with friends, and enjoy some of the amazing biodiversity that dwells in the earth's oceans. I want to build this place for a very specific reason; I want to work there. Serving tea to others, sharing my interests, and interacting with my immediate community. Being able to live out my life in this way, while also supporting my family, is a luxury very few are granted.
Bring More Awareness to Tea Culture
A secondary goal, as mentioned above, is to help change the stigma around tea. It's often regarded as an elitist drink, or as poor tasting. Many Americans feel that an appreciation for tea is out of reach from them. This is prosperous! Tea is the second most consumed beverage on the planet, losing out only to water. It is drank by the rich and the poor, the young and the old. Should we not want to learn and engage in such a widespread phenomenon? I think that by promoting conversation about tea, and teaching how it can be more simple and more present than our current coffee culture, we can create more peach in our domains, and within our relationships. Maybe that is an absurd goal for a beverage. Time will tell.
Give Back to Others
While these first two goals are honest. They are also somewhat self-serving, coming from an inward motivation. For the past year, I've spent some significant time looking at how much I'm giving back as an individual. An honest evaluation shows that my last several years haven't amounted to much in terms of service to others. In exploration of ways I could serve other, I came across charity:water, an organization that specializes in clean water projects. I read a book titled Thirst, authored by charity:water's founder, in which he details his own shortcomings through life, and his organizations unique approach to charitable giving.
Through all of this, I decided I wanted to be involved and help to raise money. I embarked of a challenge of my own creating, the #streamforwellschallenge. In this challenge, I streamed myself on facebook live every single time I took a drink of anything for 30 days. I documented the whole thing for posterity's sake. Now that the fundraiser is over, I want to continue to give back, beyond what I can manage in the short term.
Moving forward, I will be donating 10% of all tea and teaware sales revenue from looseleaftea.co to charity:water. They use 100% of the money donated will go to a clean water project. This decision will help make building the tea business that much more important, as it stands for more than my own personal ambitions. This isn't a marketing ploy, I genuinely want to find more ways to give in the present. I think the relevancy of this charity to Tea by the Sea can be captured with a single phrase,
You can't have great tea without great water.
If you are reading this and following along, I hope you'll subscribe for occasional blog updates, or information on new tea offerings. And if it's of interest to you, I would forever grateful if you would make a donation to charity:water.
(Tea by the Sea has no official affiliation with the charity:water organization)
Cover photo by Joanna Kosinska