At the Los Angeles International Tea Festival, I had the great fortune to attend a seminar given by James Norwood Pratt at which he spoke about a tea renaissance in the United States, which is energized by the “new tea lover.” These new tea lovers include the familiar faces that one often sees at festivals like this one, but also a growing number of new tea experience seekers in the general community. My company, Tealet, a marketplace that connects tea growers with tea drinkers, was recently invited to enter a technology business accelerator in Silicon Valley (in California) called 500 Startups. Here we interact with some of the top professionals of the high tech world, many of whom are new tea lovers. We’re quickly learning that as these new tea lovers embark on their tea journey, they take on three personas – that of an achiever, that of a socializer, and that of an explorer.

Achievers are the enthusiasts that will spend their life mastering everything about tea. These connoisseurs will stop at nothing to learn more about the artistic mysteries of the Camellia sinensis plant and the unique production processes associated with every tea on the planet. These new tea lovers play an important role in the global tea community because they are the ones to pass on tea knowledge to others. Achievers are on a lifelong journey of learning about tea because tea has such a rich history and future.

Socializers are the backbone of the new tea lover community. These tea community builders love tea not just for its wonderful taste and healing powers, but also for the inevitable bond that is formed between two people when they share a tea experience. Since the beginning of its history, tea has played a significant role in bringing together communities. In the modern age of technology, these tea socializers have many tools, such as social media and blogs, that make sharing and connecting over tea possible around the globe.

Explorers may have some of the same characteristics of achievers and socializers, but their tea journey is motivated by the desire to try every tea they can. These adventurers may find themselves traveling around the globe to well-hidden tea-growing regions just for the taste of something that can’t be found anywhere else. Explorers may be responsible for bringing new teas to the market and expanding the variety of teas for other new tea lovers to enjoy.

Every new tea lover has a little bit of each of these three personas. In our interconnected world, these new tea lovers learn to share their tea experiences not just with other tea drinkers, but tea growers as well. My team at Tealet is committed to building a platform that will allow an entire world of new tea lovers to interact and experience the true essence of tea direct from the farm. Knowledge and content will be available for achievers to learn and master, interactivity tools will allow for socializers to connect with each other, and new varieties of tea will be introduced to satisfy the adventurous palate of the explorer.