Why blog about tea? Why indeed?
I could easily drink tea and share it with my friends. When travelling, I could visit tea shops/tea rooms and write about them on a travel blog or just keep it to myself.
Several years ago, I was talking to a friend about social media and blogging. The prevailing wisdom that we were talking about was: blog about your passion. Although I studied music and literature and am quite passionate about both, I couldn't fathom having a blog about one or the other. Or not exclusively about either.
What was I knowledgeable about? What sort of thing did I feel I had to offer? For a long time I kept telling myself, 'As much as tea intrigues you, you simply don't know enough about it to be a successful teablogger.' I'd read others' work on tea and look at their beautiful photos, and thought I simply didn't have the expertise necessary to add anything. But then my friend made an off-hand remark that in a moment changed everything.
She said, 'You could make your discovery of tea the focus of the blog. You know, to document learning about tea.' That was the angle I needed. That was my focus. Early on, that and my enjoyment for the tea I'd been drinking was what propelled me. The longer I've done it, the more I settled on my own personal voice.
When I travel, I search out tea-related things and blog about them. In my daily life, I introduce friends and clients to tea. I joke about luring people over to the leaf-side, but the times I've done so have been truly joyful. Either people who already drank tea but didn't have experience with loose-leaf tea, or even people who had never considered drinking the beverage.
In the process of doing this, I often think of the Lasse Hallström film Chocolat. In it Juliet Binoche's character Vianne Rocher looks at a person and divines what sort of chocolate they'd most like. I have no illusions that I'd be able to do anything of the sort when it comes to pinpointing the perfect tea for a person.
Here's the trailer for the film (you can see Judi Dench go into a moment of revelry around :43-48):
However, I've toyed with the idea for years that I could ask someone a few questions about his or her food/drink preferences and then be able to predict what sort of tea they'd like. I've written about it on this blog a bit, as well as discussed it with tea drinkers in a variety of forums.
Here are some of the questions I like to ask:
How do you take your coffee? little milk/cream or a lot? Sugar/honey? Or black?
Do you like spicy foods? If so, what sort do you like most?
Any vegetables/spices you really adore? That you crave? Or the opposite: any that you loathe? That you avoid?
Isn't that an interesting topic? Can you think of any other questions that might illustrate any more taste preferences?
As my friend Cevie has said, I'm trying to be a profiler of a kind. Not a serial killer profiler, but a tea-drinker profiler. That doesn't sound so bad. I can live with that.