I have been wanting to write this blog post for some time and as I am in Japan on a tea study tour it seems timely to share our thoughts as we hope to make some new sourcing connections.
Tea sourcing has been an interesting journey and one we have fixated on since opening our online doors in 2015. Our core focus is getting better at the business of sourcing tea for our customers. We spend hours of time into searching, networking, cupping, connecting and maintaining relationships in tea.
The business of tea sourcing is very much relationship based built over time and centred around trust. Sourcing models differ from one tea business to the next depending on many factors. Half of the challenge for us has been trying to pinpoint exactly the type of tea business we are aspiring to be. I have realised that this is fluid and has evolved as our own knowledge and understanding of tea has progressed. And this will likely continue.
More recently The Steepery Tea Co. has decided to get serious about offering a catalogue of pure leaf teas that provide a real alternative to the teas available in the Australian market. We now focus on teas that have unique characteristics (either plant or process), are culturally significant and require mastery to produce. We also look to bring a higher calibre of teas to the market providing a spectrum of aroma and flavours for customers to experience that they would not be able to find elsewhere. We have a particular interest in single-estate and single-cultivar tea.
We are committed to operating transparently and ethically with the interests of the tea maker at the centre of our decisions.
We like to work directly with the producer and tea maker wherever possible. But as we source from so many growing regions the reality is we are unable to travel to all origins we select our teas from. In these instances, we identify a trusted partner that specialises in that market and travels to origin regularly to meet with their network of tea producers. This ensures we maintain a direct connection with the grower so that any questions we may have on the tea can be answered and shared with our customers.
We believe this sourcing model is appropriate for the size and scale of our business currently.
So there you have it. An insight into our tea sourcing model. In subsequent blog posts we share details about our Taiwanese tea specialist, Tania Stacey, and our Nepalese tea specialist, Jeni Dodd. Within these posts we truly hope you get a sense of the exceptional partners we are working with to bring you incredible tea.
We are also going to get better about blogging and will aim to have content published once a week each Thursday. Promise :)
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