Saturday, June 27, 2009
I'm working my way through an interesting book about the formation of the company and brand Republic of Tea.
Nearly a blog of sorts, the book is literally comprised of the correspondence (faxes - a technology that must please go away now) between the collaborators, a finely-aged entrepreneur who built and sold Banana Republic and a young, energized business-hippie. I met the hippie in a business meeting. He's still an interesting guy, but not so much the youngest anymore.
Incidentally, I believe these kind of hippies are called Ecopreneurs now. So says the friend of mine who wrote another book Build a Green Small Business (I'm such a bookworm today - spectacular). And yes, my author friend is definitely a modern hippie, right down to the day he disappeared on the Appalachian Trail and came back as Rip Van Winkle. He did eventually buy a razor.
Part of the beauty in the eponymous Republic of Tea book is the honest passion these guys have for their product -- to their mind their calling -- to improve and spread the word about tea. I do understand. I certainly admire the passion. But the person who loves tea tends to do so with an audible slight towards those of us married to a darker lover.
As one of the authors starts off:
Fueled by coffee, life moved very rapidly for me in that other Republic, so fast that I began to sense I was missing something quite grand along the way. The sensation grew until I could bear it no longer. I was compelled to defect. Fleeing the race-to-nowhere that had been my life, I tasted the joys of existence in a new way - sip by sip rather than gulp by gulp.
I hear you. It's about pace and appreciation. And quality. Most of all quality. But is coffee so incapable of that? Sure, coffee and coffee savants are fused with a certain kineticism that makes tea drinkers uncomfortable. And I can't promise to french press oily beans every morning -- though oh so nice when I can. But to say that we cafiends don't appreciate quality is simply flawed and short-sighted in its own right. Like a ceviche fan disparaging an aged prime rib.
Frankly, it sounds like they were drinking bad coffee too. Bummer. That too can be mended.
So I take umbrage sirs. But I do enjoy your book. And it seems that you've left a market of premium beverage lovers unserved by your fanaticism for leaves alone. Perhaps it's time for me to explore development of a republic of beans.