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Interview with number one tea blogger Nicole Martin

Interview with number one tea blogger Nicole Martin
February 27, 2016 admin1
In Interview

This week we had the amazing opportunity to sit down with, what I like to call, the Goddess of Tea, a true matriarch in this world of tea. She has the #1 Tea Blog online, she just won 2015 Best Social Media Reach at the World Tea Expo, she is a literal encyclopedia of tea knowledge, and she is an absolute sweetheart.

Her name is Nicole Martin. She runs the website and tea blog Tea For Me Please and has also started her own publication of quarterly journals documenting teas, tea stories, tea journals and all things tea.

Needless to say, this is the woman to lean to if you have a tea question or want a great read. I am also lucky enough to call her a friend. Misty Peak Teas had the opportunity to open that encyclopedia this week and ask Nicole some questions about her life in the world of tea. Print this email, pour some tea, and have a seat…you are in for a treat 🙂

Nicole, you have made a tremendous impact in your years of service as a tea writer and panelist at some of the biggest tea events out there. With this growth of tea showing no sign of slowing down, what direction do you see yourself taking in the coming years?

The industry has changed so much in just a short period of time. I’d love to eventually publish books about my favorite subject. Other than that, I definitely see myself going deeper down the rabbit hole. I’m still sorting out what the tea world holds for me career-wise but I’d love to get involved with sourcing. Who wouldn’t love to travel to all of those wonderful places?

There are a few teas that are gaining popularity recently, most notably Pu’er Tea and Matcha. Both are very much unlike the other classes of tea. Regarding Pu’er, what do you think is the reason for this new following?

Many tea drinkers are drawn to Pu’er because drinking it gives a very different physical effect than can be found with other types of tea. I think it also carries a certain level of connoisseurship that has parallels to luxury consumables like wine and cigars. It’s a healthier lifestyle choice that people of any age can enjoy which gives it an even wider appeal.

There are businesses selling nearly every kind of tea in nearly every capacity. Please tell us tea drinkers, from your perspective, what void has not yet been filled and what are tea purveyors/companies not yet doing that needs to be done for the tea drinking community?

There’s very few niches that aren’t being served but I’d love to see heicha being promoted more. Pu’er is heicha from a very specific region but fermented teas are also made in lots of other places. They rarely get seen in western markets.

Do you have a tea experience that stands out for you more than any other?

I once had an impromptu tea tasting in the food court of a convention center with two tea friends. We drank out of paper ketchup cups and there was nothing exact about it. It’s easy to get caught up in having the right water temperature and brewing parameters but there’s a lot to be said for cutting loose and playing with your tea.

What sets your blog apart from all the others?

That’s a tough one! I love the many different perspectives that can be found in the tea blogging community. A big part of my mission is sharing stories and educating my readers. My blog is also one of the oldest ones out there. It’s hard to believe that it will be turning six in October!

You have made a huge commitment to your followers by starting your recent newsletter/magazine focusing solely on one class of tea each issue. The level of dedication and information-gathering behind this is huge. You are clearly an educator in the tea world and very giving with your time and energy. Where or who do you tend to learn from?

I tend to learn from a variety of sources. Books are usually my first go to. I read everything that I can get my hands on. I’ve been blessed to make the acquaintance of a number of tea vendors who are true specialists and they’re generally the ones that I ask to contribute to my magazine. Internet forums can be a good source of information but I will usually fact check anything that I find on Reddit or other sites before sharing anything with my readers. Last but not least, I learn a lot from my readers. They ask seriously thought provoking questions that send me on quests for knowledge.

Tea has changed all of our lives. It is there with us as a friend, a tool, and a medicine. I have never been one to have vices, but I know that tea filled a void for me. I thought maybe it would be cigars or yoga or something spiritual I would add to my life as I was a younger man; but it ended up being tea.  My question is, what is tea to you? AND, if not for tea, what do you think your life would be?

I don’t think I could imagine my life without tea! I’m a bit of an introverted person and tea has been very instrumental in pulling me out of shell. Through it, I’ve formed friendships with amazing people from around the world. Prior to my discovering tea, I didn’t really have much purpose or direction in life. Tea is now my career as well as a hobby that I’m incredibly passionate about.

It is absolutely astounding that you have reviewed over 800 teas!! I am most curious about what tea [category] you feel is the least understood?

I think Pu’er and matcha both rank towards the top of the list of least understood teas. There’s a lot of marketing and misleading hype out there that can lead consumers to purchase poor quality products. For a long time I thought I hated Pu’er but it turned out that everything I tried at first was terrible fishy shou. I couldn’t be happier that awesome vendors like Misty Peak Teas have changed my mind about that.

We are thrilled to see what comes next for Nicole and encourage you ALL to log onto her site, www.TeaForMePlease, follow her Podcasts, and definitely subscribe to her newsletter so you can be a part of her journal. 

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