all in good taste

I wasn't expecting to be contacted and asked to present a talk for the Tea Guild of Canada but I wasn't about to pass the opportunity by. The only question was, "What do I present"? I decided on a past tea podcast series I had made entitled "The 5 Tastes of Tea" where I investigated the causes, the chemistry, behind the tastes. You can listen to each individual podcast on Bitter, Umami, Sweet, Salt, and Sour by following the links for a more in-depth discussion.

Feel free to follow along with the slideshow, the very same presentation I gave to the Guild, and I apologize in advance for any hiccups or skewed information. I'm in no way a Food Scientist or Biologist or Chemist and so if any information needs to be updated please send me an email and let me know.

Many thanks to and Chayo Tea for the tea samples and the Chinese tasting translations.

Teas Tasted:

Bitter -  Kamairicha

Umami - Gyokuro Konacha

Sweet - Genmaicha

Salt - Sakura + Genmaicha

Sour - Goishicha

podcasting on a specific industry: launch, market, & grow!

Many thanks to Ken Cohen of the Talking Tea Podcast for sharing with me his edit of the episode. You can listen to all of his great interviews at Talking Tea.



Whether a podcast topic has an audience and if you should pursue it

  • Is anybody doing what your doing
  • Take a risk and just do it.
  • TJ had no “ultimate goal” of his podcast, for his own interest
  • Give it 5 episodes. (depending on the time this may be more) or give it 6 months to see how much traffic you can get.
  • Ken wanted to create an audience
  • Ken – talk to a blogger or people in the industry to find if there is a need (they know more than you and are great way to get help, and do your own research to see what is out there)
  • Have no expectations….a niche will not have a lot of views as a more popular topic or subject
  • Nothing is stopping you from doing a podcast.

Where to get material and how to leave no stone unturned

  • Research vs. Initution/Life Experience
  • Fact Checking (should it be done? To what extent)
  •  TJ does before (preliminary checks, gets a sense of what the person knows, steers the conversation from there)
  • Ken does after (edits out or inquires deeper during the podcast)
  • Where to get material
  • Finding leads through people in the industry
  • Going to visit companies (small businesses vs large)
  • Events, speeches, emails
  • Using life experiences (TJ has customs knowledge, tea travel [who you have met])
  • Business Cards
  • Pursuing a guest (tenacious vs. courteous)

Reaching out to experts, professionals, and strangers

  • Inquiring emails, LinkedIn, word of mouth, simply saying “Hello”, ask for their opinion
  • Getting leads – know what topics you’d like to talk about and research the people who know them
  • Getting listed in podcast/blogger directories or sites

Developing topics about your industry

  • Through your own personal experiences (what can you do to examine your topic)
  • What do people want to hear (read these from blogs or forums)
  • Joining industry-related organizations (Tea Bloggers Association, r/tea, Tea & Herbal Association of Canada)
  • Creative use of field locations
  • Attending courses/classes/workshops (Podcamp, Blogger Round Tables [WTE], etc)
  • Deconstruct the item (Tea: leaves, pottery, tradition, ceremony, etc) 
  •  Cake (wheat, sugars, fondant, shapes/mold, techniques)
  • Craft Beer (Ingredients, Defining “Craft Beer”, Yeasts, Beer History)
  • Ceramics (referrals, offering samples for experts to analyze)

The balance between promoting an industry and independent journalism

  • Fact Checking
  • How hard hitting should you be? do you want to be?
  •  To review products (or services) or not to review?
  • Dealing with controversial issues

toronto on a mountain | a chat with high mountain tea co

Just as I had reached the end my tea stash an invite to join the purveyor of High Mountain Tea Co in Toronto's Kensington Market was found in my inbox. Shortly after I found myself walking the familiar streets of Toronto and exploring some favourite neighborhoods. All was as I remembered it except of course for the new tea shop on Baldwin St. 

Entering into the shop and welcomed by Conor, the owner and dedicated tea enthusiast, I found a seat at the large wooden table set in the back of the shop. The high ceiling and close walls, painted grey, made for a very warm and comfortable occasion. Truly putting me at ease was the tea tray ahead of me. Augmented with a smooth piece of granite on which a ceramic bowl sat,   the tray made for a superb centerpiece. Obvious were the signs that Conor knew what he was doing.

Many laughs were had and topics discussed including the obvious introductions, tea sourcing, travels, and experiences. What I truly enjoyed was the analysis of the Toronto's patrons. Who they are, what questions they ask, and where the market is going. Only opened for two weeks, High Mountain Tea Co unfortunately did not have much to report. What was said was great to hear: an interested customer base, questions on processing, and a developing foot traffic. I cannot wait to see what the spring season brings. 

click subscribe - an interview about tea subscriptions

A little late to the table as the Kickstarter is now over, however the content here is great. The Toronto Tea Festival had me busy even days after the event (accounting and inventory for the win!) and I've finally been able to get around to editing this episode. 

Harideep Kalaveena sits in on this episode and talks with me about his now successful launch of "Story Of My Tea" a tea subscription service. With an appealing design, affordable price, and marketing direction all that's left is to taste the leaves! But what has to happen to reach this point? What were the struggles, the efforts, and the decisions made?

Curiosity gets the better of me and for near an hour I prod, pry, and inquire about all facets of the project. Having once sourced for a tea subscription company myself I was very curious on the methodologies that Story Of My Tea followed. Keep that cup warm and enjoy! 

resteeping the 2017 toronto tea festival

By far one of the best tea festivals I have been involved in. Amazing people, stories, and teas. Thank you to all who I met, those behind the scenes, and who I didn't meet but probably should have. 

Today's episode follows a growing tradition I have of giving an honest reflection of the event previously attended. Here I examine details that I've stored away, impressions I've had, and questions that have been bothering me. This comes from a vendor/exhibitor/media perspective as these are typically my role at these events.

Some highlights of the podcast include the observation of patrons preference for credit over cash in transactions, the sale of Chaga and its raising popularity, maximizing booth space (something I regret not giving enough thought to), and meeting a wealth of new friends.

It's an interesting tea podcast and I try to be as charmingly frank as I can. This is one of the few topics where I mean for the content to be for myself, but I know any tea enthusiast will be interested in the "behind the scenes" intricacies of exhibiting at a tea festival. Enjoy!

I mention in the podcast to check out Ken Cohen's Talking Tea Podcast. You can find it here.