Every year I take great pleasure in reflecting on my thoughts on the future trends for the tea world in the coming year. The past few years have undeniably been a whirlwind with almost too much time to reflect. With this time has come more interaction with the technologies in our life. For those that keep up with technology, you may have heard about the “Metaverse;” but regardless whether you have heard of it or not you are most definitely asking yourself “What the heck IS the Metaverse?” I won’t say that the coming year is going to be the year that tea enters the Metaverse, but it will be the year that we discover the future potential for tea in the Metaverse. Like with the introduction of the internet, it will be a few years until we will see the full realization of what the Metaverse will become and how tea culture will fit inside.
Defining the Metaverse
The Metaverse is the multidimensional exchange of information, experiences, and communities via technology. This is my personal definition of a term that has yet to be concisely defined in a philosophical sense. It is not one particular platform (despite what Facebook has claimed in their recent rebrand) but the next generation of the internet. The first era of the internet was a one-sided exchange of information, while Web 2.0 was the two-way exchange of information and communities. Platforms that you have been engaging with since the first era such as email will intersect with platforms of Web 2.0 such as social media. Web 3 will introduce new, more experience-rich platforms such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Thinking philosophically, the root meta- added to any word originates from Greek “beyond” and indicates “more comprehensive.” For example, metaphysics is the physics of physics, or the philosophy of reality. In this same sense you can think of the metaverse as the internet of the internet.
Tea and the Metaverse
What business does thought leadership of the Metaverse have on a tea blog? Tea is a tool of mindfulness and contemplation, so articulating the big picture comes with the territory. Additionally, tea has been a big part of every era of the internet so far, so don’t be surprised to see tea as an instrumental part of the architecture of the metaverse. Tea blogs were a big part of the blogosphere of the first generation and tea communities such as r/tea on reddit attracted early Web 2.0 adopters. In 2022, you will see tea brands and tea digital content creators explore bringing interactive tea experiences to platforms such as Twitch and TikTok, both experience and discovery platforms of the Metaverse.
In-person tea sessions will be shared live with remote tea friends that can directly interact and co-create in virtual worlds such as our weekly “Tea’d Talks” tea party in the Topia Virtual Teahouse on Thursdays at 2PM PT. These experiences can be captured and shared via a live audience on Twitch, who stay connected via a server on Discord. Tea parties that have been inhibited by the pandemic will now scale globally via technology. The Metaverse is the concept of the exchange of this information, experience, and community.
Where these virtual experiences lead in the coming years will become the Tea of the Metaverse. In 2022, as hosts of virtual tea-sharing experiences we are architects of the Metaverse. If you are a tea blogger, tea business owner, or simply an enthusiastic lover of tea and technology, I recommend that you experiment with virtual tea parties and tea community building. The Metaverse is where the internet starts to feel real. What is more real than sharing a cup of tea with a friend?