The Internet has become an invaluable tool for many tasks. In fact, without the Internet, North American tea culture might very well have advanced much more slowly. I know not every tea drinker is on TeaChat, but there are numerous ways tea drinkers connect through the web.
Let me put it this way – without the Internet and the ability to purchase teas online and share techniques regarding water, temperatures, and steeping times, tea would have developed much more regionally. If Rishi and other companies had not pioneered certain distribution channels for their loose-leaf tea and had relied instead on more conventional means, such as grocery stores, people would have faced a rather discouraging problem – the lack of a ready source of information regarding how best to brew tea and what to do if things went wrong. But with the Internet, near instant communication over thousands of miles is possible, which connects those in the know with those who want to know.
I hate to think of what fine tea businesses might not have survived or – even worse – might never have been created due to there being no Internet. While I am sure certain companies have very loyal local markets, even their businesses have been enhanced by the good reviews they have gotten on the web.
I honestly am of the age that I have a hard time remembering a time without the Internet, and I have an even harder time imagining a way of doing mass networking and communication about tea – or any other topic – without it.