June is quite a busy month for me … and it’s not over yet! In my role, I’m constantly getting calls about sponsoring this event or that charity. I’m pretty discerning when it comes to the organizations or people I choose to work with as it is a reflection on our brand. Additionally, many events include alcohol and I have to make sure that our tea fits and will be “appreciated” in environments where there is free alcohol. I couldn’t have been more surprised and excited when I received an email asking for our company to sponsor a premiere party for the Downton Abbey television series that would include a red-carpet and Q&A with several of the cast members.
There really isn’t a television series that fits our brand, or tea in general, better than Downton Abbey. In a society divided by class, an unquenchable passion for tea was the one tradition that united everyone and afternoon tea was considered a social highlight, served with the finest linens, china, and silverware. After many mishaps and 11th-hour nerve-racking moments, the event turned out to be a bigger success than we had expected. In fact, even the agency mentioned that the tea was a bigger hit than the alcohol being served that evening. Classic Earl Grey with milk along with Peach & Passion fruit tea were the popular blends of the evening. It was refreshing to see such enthusiasm for tea. I can’t wait to be a part of another event soon. It was interesting to hear the agency admit that after 15 years in the business, this was the first event in which they included tea – and based on their positive experience, they look forward to including tea more often.
In past posts, I’ve mentioned how tea shows up quite frequently in pop culture and my goal of experiencing and being as much a part of the culture as possible. Therefore, I was happy to be able to scratch another to-do off my list by experiencing afternoon tea at the famous Plaza Hotel. After my previous post about the growing popularity of David’s Tea, I was a bit nervous that the essence of our tea brand – the quintessential English cup of tea – might be diminished and replaced by more “modern” tea brands. Stepping inside the tea room at The Plaza quickly made me realize that proper afternoon tea will never be replaced. Everything seemed like it could have come straight out of the Downton Abbey era. I was fortunate to join the lovely English tea enthusiast and blogger, Rachael Kinsella. We talked endlessly about all things tea.
All the activities of June reminded me just how lucky I am to be working in an industry that has such passionate and loyal fans. Whether they enjoy the quirky blends of David’s Tea or the more traditional black or green teas, there is a desire to discover more about tea and make it part of the day. As Rachael pointed out, in England when someone isn’t feeling well or has had a bad day, the immediate response is “Come over and have a cuppa tea.” That may not yet be the case in the U.S., but based on pop culture and how the industry has grown, it’s definitely close.
This post first published on T Ching 24 June 2013.