Saturday, February 27, 2010

Phone cards from Taiwan

This is one of the coolest phone cards that I've ever seen. Taiwan is a wonderful place, not only for tea, but also for telecommunications. These phone cards can be purchased at any easy to find Seven Eleven. Although the card has 210 NT dollars worth of credit, for some reason it only costs 200 NT dollars. This is about six dollars US. This is the IC card which can be used for calling internationally as well as island wide. I'm pretty sure that this type of card will allow a person to speak to someone in the US for about 20 minutes, but I could be wrong. If you are calling a landline in Taiwan this card will last for several hours. There is another type of phone card that costs 100 NT dollars, but that card seems less popular and I don't remember that card can be used to call internationally. Calling cell phones in Taiwan will use up your minutes much faster. Regardless, using the public phone that requires these types of calling cards is a much more economical way to go than calling from your own cell phone, if you have one. Typically the calling cards will have various photos of famous sites, locations or things that Taiwan is famous for. I have collected many of these types of cards over the course of my time spent in Taiwan. This is the first time I found one of these cards with a picture of a tea pot. Was I thrilled! From the looks of this pot, it must be made by some famous potter, but I do not know who made it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

J-TEA’s adventures in social media

I have been researching social media and making some additions to the ways that I reach out and share the latest J-TEA news. This has been a learning process and I would like to share some of the things learned.
Currently, there are four ways to follow our latest tea information.
1) This blog dubbed J-TEA’s Oolong Tea Times
2) Twitter @JTEA
3) J-TEA’s Facebook business page
4) J-TEA’s informative tea newsletter. You can sign up here: on the lower right hand side of the page.

The first option is the tea blog. This is where I will pour my heart and soul into trying to share some of the amazing experiences that I have had via tea.

Next, Twitter. This is a place where I will say somewhat witty and somewhat meaningless comments I find amusing or interesting that can be expressed in 140 characters or less. Examples of recent tweets include: “What does Spider-man call himself? Well, I am the Friendly Neighborhood #tea man” and “Horizon Herbs Catalog arrived. 20 pack of #Tea plant seeds for $9.95 / seedlings $10 each, grow tea”

Facebook is where I can post many pictures and develop a J-TEA following whom I can inform of cool J-TEA happenings at the drop of a hat. I’ve been researching how to best use the Facebook business page here: Become a fan now by going here or by clicking on the Facebook link on the right of this page.

Finally, there is the informative tea newsletter. As the name implies, this newsletter is informative. I share tea tidbits and tea stories and general information about tea as well as happenings at J-TEA. The goal is to send one newsletter per month so as not to inundate your inbox with excessive email. The service is meant to be value adding and we hope that you will enjoy it. If you have not already signed up, be sure and do so. If you have signed up and are not receiving the newsletter, you might want another email address. Some addresses are bounced for what reason I do not know.
I look forward to learning more and more about social media and the most fun and interesting ways to use it in the near future. Please feel free to share the ways that you have used social media to help your business. If you have any suggestions for J-TEA’s adventures in social media we would love to hear from you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

$5 for flights of tea

Now when visiting the tea house, you have the option of doing a flight of teas. There are a wide variety of teas to choose from. There is enough tea for as many people as can fit around the small tea bar. Sitting, there is room for four tasters, but if people stand, I am sure that more could fit. People are really enjoying this service and it seems to have caught on with little or no promotion on my part. This is a great way to learn about different teas as well as discovering which tea or teas you like best. It is also great because you can try before you buy.
Some people will select three teas in the same genre. I have seen this referred to as a vertical tasting. It would be similar to tasting three of the same types of wines. For example, if a person tasted three Syrah wines. Alternatively, some people will try a broad variety of tea such as a green oolong, a puer and a black tea. This was referred to as a horizontal tasting. This is like tasting a cab, a merlot and a pinot noir.
I make the teas in clear glass tea ware so that people can see the tea as it unfurls. I then hand them the glass tea ware with the brewed leaves and invite them to examine the leaves and smell the aroma. Of course, they can then drink the tea. This is usually their favorite part. Some people have commented that this is a wonderful experience and some have even gone so far as to say that it is much more enjoyable than wine tasting.
Of course it is also possible to try some of the highest end tea. In this case the tasting will cost more. The $5 fee covers teas that are $5 to $10 per ounce. For tea that ranges from $11 to $20 per ounce, the fee is $11 and for tea that ranges from $21 to $30 per ounce, the fee is $16 and so on.