Hey tea friends!
Rie here: professional tea nerd, tea guide, and oolong addict extraordinaire. ;) I'm not usually a selfie person, but I took this one (with my partner-in-crime Steven) waaaaay up on a high mountain tea farm at 1,400 meters elevation in Yushan, Taiwan. It's where our absolute favorite oolong tea is made...
...and I think it shows just how much joy every day in tea has brought us. The tea journey is life changing, yo.
It sounds cheesy, but it's true. What started as an obsession for Earl Grey in 2007 has now become my full-time job and life's calling, where I help fellow tea nerds gain the knowledge and confidence they need to pursue the tea life of their dreams.
These days we host an amazing online community and teach about tea through live events, immersive tea tours, and online courses.
But it wasn't always this way. Here's our tea journey so far.
"Tea is life!" might be a huge understatement for me at this point, but honestly I started out knowing nothing about tea.
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
I didn't grow up in any ancient teamaking family, nor did I go to a fancy tea school. I'm not a super taster or anything, either.
I still remember making my very first pot of oolong tea, gifted to me by a family friend, and not having any idea how to brew it up or what the label said it was in Chinese. Spoiler alert: it was SO unbearably offensive, scorching hot and bitter (read: horribly oversteeped, by me.)
So definitely not a born tea taster. And as a Filipino-American girl, I'm the only person in the family to like tea over coffee.
So what's the secret sauce?
More than super taster genes or a family tree of teamasters, what's gotten me here is stubborn curiosity. A LOT of it. Since 2007, I've basically put the kettle on and never stopped exploring. I was never afraid to ask someone who knew just a bit more than I did. And while I'm still no teamaster, I've picked up enough to build an extremely confident tea practice and tea biz that I've used to change my life and help others in their tea journey, too.
Over the years I've taught more than 100 tea workshops at tea festivals and conferences for serious tea drinkers, done work as a professional tea taster and buyer in the tea industry, and have gotten to share tea with thousands of people around the world, including right on the tea farms!
And last year, I landed 2nd Place at the first ever Tea Masters Cup USA in the Tea Preparation category, with a tea made by my now-tea family Taiwan (from that tea farm pictured above!)
Here's a few places where we may have met before:
Oh, and there's one more awesome thing that might be my favorite: we host an incredible community of more than 1,000 tea nerds and explorers, who are among the best freaking humans on the planet. In fact, I met my soulmate and now tea partner-in-crime Steven, at one of my own tea workshops. ;) I know, cheeeeesy!
But seriously, the tea journey has just been amazing. And hey. If a shy, kinda anxious introvert like me can get this done -- with my average palate and my tea Muggle background -- you can absolutely do it, too. Probably even better than I could. ;)
All you need is the right methods, the right mindset, and a little bit of confidence, and once you have that, there's no telling how big your tea world could become, friend.
I'm glad to be on the tea road with you. Reach out at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rie + Steven