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.