Two weeks ago I received an email from the Program Manager of the 500 Startups accelerator my company Tealet is currently participating in. She mentioned that a VIP guest would be visiting the co-working office who specifically requested hot green tea to drink. Naturally, she thought that the accelerator’s resident tea company should have the privilege of pouring tea for the special guest. The next day at the office, the manager informed us that the VIP guest was George Takei.
This was exciting for our entire team – we were going to pour tea for a celebrity from Star Trek. We researched his history and found that he had become positively influential in the area of social tolerance and democracy by utilizing social media. This was the perfect collaboration for Tealet, which meant that we would have to do something memorable for him. With this is mind, we decided to introduce the Tea Fairy to George and his husband, Brad. The Tea Fairy is a magical character who travels to tea fields around the world and collects tea leaves to share with the world.
On the morning of the visit, our team prepared our tea tray, kyusus, and teas. George and Brad entered the office and were led to the room where they would eat lunch. The Tea Fairy entered the room and immediately took George’s breath away. The Tea Fairy’s purple hair, bright green wings, and furry accessories brought George back to his days at Star Trek conventions. He sat down and enjoyed two teas and stories from Obubu Tea Plantations in Wazuka, Kyoto, Japan. George and Brad were first introduced to the sweet aroma of Houjicha and then to the savory sweetness of cool-brewed Kabuse Sencha. The two explained that they drink green tea every morning, but never knew much about the different green teas that are available. They were both impressed with the Tea Fairy’s presentation and are excited to continue their exploration of tea.
After lunch, George spoke to the 500 Startups audience about his career and advocacy for gay rights, human rights, and Japanese-American relations. His celebrity brought thousands of followers to his Facebook page, but his entertaining and controversial memes and other media have left a huge impact on our society. He brought an energy to the room that is difficult to explain, but can be summarized as inspiring. Before leaving the office, Brad purchased our entire collection of tea. He said he looks forward to trying all the teas with George and their friends. Below is the video recap of our experience with George Takei. If you would like to try the teas that George enjoyed, visit Tealet.