What I’ve Learned after Starting the Online Tea Tasting Experience

virtual tea tasting

I’ve been offering the online tea tasting experience for two months, and while it had a slow start I did receive customers.

The idea came to me after the pandemic, because it became impossible to continue the local tea tastings that I was doing.

Most of the online tea tastings that I’ve had have been local anyway, but I’ve also done three for people in the US and two in Europe.

This is what I’ve learned so far.

The demand for online tea tastings is low, but increasing

To be honest, I thought that with this blog’s traffic and the newsletter I would receive a lot of reservations each week.

It turns out that I only received one on the first month. Now, I’m having one reservation each week.

Maybe because it’s something relatively new, people aren’t so open to the idea yet. Or perhaps they don’t know that this service exists.

But I think that as social distancing increases, these types of online experiences will become more popular.

Online tea tastings are harder to do than physical ones

The first problem is that that the participants don’t usually have the teaware that I use.

For example, they might drink from a mug instead of a yunomi, or have a very big teapot that is not really suitable for preparing 60 ml (2 oz) of sencha.

Another problem is that people that don’t have an electric tea kettle take a longer time heating the water before each infusion.

I try to accommodate, otherwise I would get even less reservations.

So I ask them beforehand to be able to measure 120 ml (4 oz) and 60 ml (2 oz) of water if possible, because that’s normally the volume used in preparing Japanese teas.

Sometimes a total beginner in tea does not own a teapot nor an infuser. Then I suggest just filtering the tea leaves with a sieve.

And of course, there’s always the risk of a technical problem with the internet connection. But that hasn’t happened to me yet.

So far the feedback has been positive

Some customers have taken the time to thank me and tell me that they had a wonderful experience.

I sure hope that I’m doing a good job with this.

What I do is not just the tea tasting, but also talk about Japanese tea in general. People enjoy learning more about it, not just drinking it.

While this isn’t a very good way to earn money, it certainly helps to spread the word about tea and to connect in a deeper way than through other media.

It certainly isn’t scalable, but since it aligns with my mission I plan to keep at it for a long time.

6 Comments

  1. Steven Kimelman
    May 19, 2020

    Your online tea tasting was great. Your organization and explanations were excellent.
    A wonderful opportunity to learn and enjoy.

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      May 19, 2020

      Thank you Steven, I appreciate your comment.

      Reply
  2. Payton Rogers
    May 20, 2020

    I’ve been interested in doing one of the online tea tastings but I’m certain I own almost none of the equipment I would need. Do you have a list (or even better, amazon links) of things I should buy before I reserve one of the tastings?

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      May 20, 2020

      Hi Payton.

      My philosophy is that people should concentrate on tea first and teaware later, otherwise fewer people would get into tea.

      But that being said, for loose leaf tea I recommend having at least an infuser, in case that you don’t own a kyusu. And if you have smaller cups (60 ml or 120 ml) it’s better for Japanese tea, but if not at least try to be able to measure those 2 and 4 ounces of water.

      If you want to prepare matcha, you do need the matcha bowl (or any other similar bowl) and a tea whisk as a bare minimum.

      Reply
  3. Felipe Elises
    May 22, 2020

    Hi,

    How to do this. I am interested for an online tea tasting process.

    Regards.

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      May 22, 2020

      Hi Felipe

      Thank you for your comment.

      Here’s the link:
      https://www.myjapanesegreentea.com/online-japanese-tea-tasting

      In that page you can also pay for your reservation via Paypal.

      Reply

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