About this project
Tea Journey charter subscribers receive an exquisite tea of their choice for donating along with authentic and detailed information from origin — everything they need to select and prepare amazing tea.
Discover Your Tea Destiny
By Dan Bolton
Half the world drank tea today. We intend to double that count.
Kickstarter gives us the opportunity to not only share our tea knowledge but to introduce you to a remarkable artisan tea, the first step in your Tea Journey. These teas come from many different lands to meet every level of interest. There are green and white and exotic selections, each described in detail. Tea, as you will discover, is more than a beverage. It is a cultural experience. Tea Journey establishes a bridge from those who craft handmade teas in 35 countries to the growing number of consumers in the West. It gives an identity to millions of tea workers and an opportunity for them to benefit financially from your purchase of specialty tea.
Tea Journey is a collaborative venture, self-financed by editors, writers, tea consultants, tea educators and tea experts globally. The team is led by Dan Bolton, a veteran magazine editor and publisher who has managed six publishing ventures from multi-nationals to startups (see About Us). Dan travels widely in the tea lands, frequently addresses tea professionals at conferences and writes and commissions hundreds of articles each year for the weekly World Tea News, STiR Tea & Coffee and the Tea Biz blog.
"I believe that the most authoritative content originates in the tea lands. That is why I recruited top journalists, tea experts, translators and publishers in 12 countries (speaking 18 languages) to contribute a third of the publication's content," writes Bolton.
Tea Journey identifies the best tea articles found in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Hindi and Japanese publications. The staff then translates and "retells" these stories in nuanced English.
Tea Journey is formatted for print but out of respect for the world's forests it is distributed as a digital publication and priced at a rate accessible to even the most modestly-paid tea workers in the tea lands.
During a five-year incubation Dan sought out writers and photographers, museum curators, scientists, tea retailers and tea masters, all fluent in their local tongues and eager to share their knowledge — in fact they were enthusiastic enough to finance the website design and to help pay for Tea Journey's custom apps for Apple iOS and Android tablets and phones.
The result is a beautiful magazine, website and mobile app.
This is not just a magazine proposal, Tea Journey is a fully developed digital magazine — an all-or-nothing investment to demonstrate our confidence in the concept.
Only by donating will you prove us right.
Examine the prototype carefully. It includes several articles from the inaugural issue. Subscribers can expect to see this level of quality year after year. If it is funded, Tea Journey will publish three 150-page issues annually. These include the April ORIGIN issue; the August TEA REVIEW and the November GIFTING issue.
Tea Journey educates readers not only in the artisan creation of tea but also in the manufacture of teaware and authentic utensils designed to enhance the tea experience.
The mobile magazine includes sections with tasting notes to develop your tea expertise; interviews with tea growers and tea masters; profiles of artisans producing teacraft and teaware. There are profiles of collectors, antiquities scholars, health experts, sensory scientists and tea blenders.
Victoria Bisogno: Did you know Argentina is the largest U.S. tea supplier.
During the weeks between issues subscribers receive full-length feature articles and multi-media content such as the Yixing Teapot video above. Subscribers have 24/7 access to the content, and may election to receive notifications in the categories they find relevant.
Tea Journey is like a digital caravan of story tellers who travel to origin and return with authoritative, elusive and exclusive articles, photos and video that will help you discover your tea destiny.
Tea Journey is a sound investment, combining a growing marketplace for fine tea, our own decades of publishing experience and an unprecedented network of devoted and respected tea authorities. Tea Journey is committed to assisting millions of tea growers worldwide who stand to prosper as the West awakens to the benefits of fine tea.
Your donation will finish the important work we've begun.
Why Tea Journey?
Tea is proven to enhance the well being of those who drink several cups a day. It inspires a process of discovery among imbibers, cultivating a deep appreciation for the growing, crafting, and preparation of great tasting tea. Finding your own favorite tea leads to a daily ritual and, in time, a healthy life-long habit.
Tea Journey will help you discover your tea destiny.
Tea is an important crop in 35 countries and the top source of foreign exchange in a half dozen lands where millions of families earn their living in tea. Tea cultivation in China began 3,000 years before the first pyramids. There are 300,000 tea growers in China and a billion daily tea drinkers. Tea cultivation is critical to the economies of Sri Lanka, Kenya and India. Tea is also cultivated in the United States, in Hawaii and even in Scotland.
Asian tea drinkers in China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan support hundreds of publications each with a full-time staff of specialists. Publications like the quarterly Cha Dao Life are respected, collected and revered.That is why Tea Journey has contracted to obtain their articles and photographs. Tea Journey, in turn, shares its content with the East to bridge the world of tea.
Tea is more than a beverage
Billions of people enjoy tea every day, both for its pleasant taste and the wakefulness it brings. This is why consumption globally increased 60% between 1993 and 2010. A tea awakening is taking place in the English-speaking countries but most of what passes for tea knowledge online is merely marketing.
We believe there is a tangible demand for true knowledge, not hype. We are willing to make the extraordinary effort to gather and share that knowledge with tea drinkers in the West.
Together We Can Make This Happen
The Tea Journey team has already taken taken the extraordinary step of creating the first global English-language magazine for fine tea lovers.
Now it is your turn to finish this important work.
Here is a brief summary of amazing content you will receive. It follows the natural rhythm of the crop.
Published in April as the spring harvest begins,The ORIGIN issue contains the equivalent of 150 pages in a conventional print magazine.Content is optimized for mobile delivery and easily searched.
In the inaugural issue Tea Journey visits gardens in China, Japan and India. The issue also contains sections on exquisite Yixing Zisha teaware with a video showing how these teapots are made. Tea Journey follows Mary Cotterman of Austin, Texas on her three-year quest in a small Chinese village to learn ancient pottery techniques to apply on her return to the U.S. There is the tale of Chigusa, a 700-year-old storage jar revered in Japan as an example of "Meibutsu" and the adventures of French buyer Francois Marchand who tracked down the makers of big leaf Tai Ping Hou Kai in a remote river village in China. There are columns from respected culinary experts including Jennifer English, a section devoted to Pu-er and a look at the latest Tea Trends. Follow authentic recipes from the Cha Dao Life kitchen and tips for culinary tea and the latest on health and wellness.
The name of every Charter Subscriber and Founding Sponsor (company) will appear in the final version, in gratitude. Click here during our website open house to get a glimpse of the amazing content, sourced at origin in the native language of growers and artisans and then “retold” in nuanced English for your enjoyment.
Several months after the harvest the processed teas are ready to drink. Like vintages the teas benefit from favorable weather and suffer when conditions are harsh. This is more true today than ever which is why Tea Journey has assigned professional tasters in every region to evaluate the 2016 harvest. The TEA REVIEW spans 72 pages. Tasters in-country and in the major trading regions name the best tea gardens and individual teas that performed best against their peers. This is not a contest or a rating, merely the recommendations of experienced tasters without naming brands.Tea Journey believes it is best to focus the spotlight on the skills of growers and not the hyperbole of online commerce.
Additional content includes a visit to a private tea museum in Shanghai, a Tea Quest in search of wild tea trees, a visit to Nepal and a report on the white tea of Kumaon, India.
In November Tea Journey presents a gift for gift-givers. Not only does the issue identify the year's best teas for giving — you also get a detailed report on teaware and electric brewers and tea kettles, interviews with tea professionals at Tea Forte and Tealeaves known for their style. Led by Contributing Editor Jennifer Quail, the issue will help readers discove the best in tea tech and ideas for artisan tea craft from pottery to watercolor paintings brushed in tea. Discover why gifts of tea are a time-honored present at weddings.
Two pages from the Table of Contents in the ORIGIN issue
Quench your thirst for knowledge.
Refine your taste in tea.
Dan Bolton, Editor/Publisher
Nan Cui, Associate Publisher
Si Chen, Senior Editor
Hans Niebergall, Business Development
Ashley Sostaric-Finkes, Marketing Director
Suzette Hammond, Education Director
Beibei Lu, Art Director
Jennifer Sauer, Video Editor
Kathe Meseman, Finance Director
Ian Chun, Origins
Jennifer English, Podcast
Jennifer Quail, Teaware & Antiquities
Cynthia Gold, Culinary Tea
Bruce Richardson, Tea Retail
Dan Robertson, Origins
Jennifer Sauer, Videography
Jennifer English, Tea Journey Podcast
Cynthia Gold, Tea Cuisine
James Norwood Pratt
Victoria Bisogno, El Club Del Te
Kevin Gascoyne, Camellia Sinensis
Tony Gebely, World of Tea
Austin Hodge, Seven Cups Fine Chinese Tea
Joshua Kaiser, Co-founder Rishi Organic Tea
Brian Keating, Sage Group
Bob Krul, Boreal Wildcraft
Andrew McNeill, Seven Cups Fine Chinese Tea
Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, Harvard Medical
Elyse Petersen, Tealet
Jane Pettigrew, UK Tea Academy
James Norwood Pratt, Tea Lovers Treasury
Dan Robertson, The Tea House
Founding Sponsors: Camellia Sinensis | Seven Cups | Mighty Leaf | Mad Monk Tea | Tealet | CrafTea | Tea Squared | Jalam Teas | Misty Peak Tea | Tea Total | Yunomi Tea |Tetulia | Lochan Tea | Teatrade Mart | Rishi Organic Tea | World Tea Academy | Hong China Tea | Smacha | Young Mountain Tea | Nothing But Tea | Australian Tea Masters | ITI | Paper & Tea GmbH | International Tea Masters | Wild Tea Qi | The Green Teaist | El Club Del Te | Rolling Leaf | World Tea Podcast | Tea Lula | Daily Tea | Conundrum Tea | (watch for updates as new founder sponsors are signing up every day).
Interested sponsors should contact Suzette Hammond at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
Video credits: Shot and produced by Jennifer Sauer, Treehaven Productions in San Francisco with segments from Uhi in Thailand and Keith Horner at Goodlad Productions in Winnipeg, Canada. Special thanks to Cory and Bob Krul at Cornelia Bean for letting us shoot the video on location.
Magazine design and layouts by Beibei Lu, Winnipeg, Canada
Digital platform: Pete Ericson and Jeremy Green at Zeen101
Risks and challenges
Our long-term plan*
Tea Journey is a prototype financed by tea professionals for tea lovers worldwide. There are no corporate coffers to draw on. Either you subscribe, proving this is meant to be, or it fails.
The Kickstarter funding campaign is a proof of concept. The intent is to sustain the publication for one year while Tea Journey demonstrates that it can attract enough subscribers to thrive (15,000 minimum).
The number of tea drinkers is quite large but those who have discovered the finest tea represent only 3% of tea drinkers in the West. This varies quite a bit by country with Canada showing a high percent (Canadians now spend more on specialty tea each year than on commodity tea).
The greatest risk to the venture is that subscribers will not value the content sufficiently to renew. Since our commitment is to produce the magazine for many years to come this would result in a shortage of funds as expenses climb.
KICKSTARTER: What are the risks and challenges that come with completing your project, and how are you qualified to overcome them?
Insufficient funding, inexperienced management, unrealistic expectations and a weak or unreceptive consumer market are the common factors in the demise of potentially successful magazine projects.
We have carefully developed pro forma financial statements for Tea Journey to guide us with funding and basic start-up and operational needs. This is accompanied by a formal Business Plan (Action Plan) produced by experienced industry-specific (magazine media) managers with years of successful experience with magazine launches and operation (having managing a combined 11 publishing companies).
Successful expectations are confirmed by research into the ever-growing worldwide market and interest for tea purchase and consumption and tea-related items. According to figures from the International Tea Committee, the global consumption of tea jumped 60% between 1993 and 2010 and significant growth is forecast as more people become consumers of tea. The Tea Market is now valued at $100 billion globally.
The decision to offer a downloadable PDF with the 72-hour “Take a Sip” option permits readers to see what we have to offer and makes it affordable to readers in the tea lands, but neither the $2 sip or the $14.95 single-issue subscription (with three months access) is sufficient to sustain the venture. Nonetheless, these are important options to entice those who are just beginning to explore the art of tea.
Our business initially depends on Kickstarter donations and Charter subscribers who receive a 55% discount from the annual cover price. Their name will also be published in the inaugural edition. Charter subscribers are essential because they provide Tea Journey a sufficiently long “runway” to get off the ground.
One way or another Tea Journey needs to secure a minimum of $125,000 CAD from the Kickstarter campaign to continue.
We are ready to produce the inaugural issue when sufficient funds are available and already have a complete prototype for your review.
KS: Please mention if you’re still in the process of completing any past projects or if your project requires approval or premarket review from an outside company or agency before you can distribute rewards.
Neither Dan Bolton or The Tea Journey team are in the process of completing past projects and the project does not require premarket review before the distribution of rewards.
KS: What unique challenges might you face after your project is successfully funded? How would you tackle them?
There are ten major challenges, according to the aforementioned study, that are believed to be the most significant in terms of their implications for the tea industry itself:
• Demographic changes • Resource constraints • Climate change • Competition for land and productivity • Availability of labor and increase in mechanization • Balance of power across the supply chain • Emergence of new business models • Sustainability leadership in emerging economies • Improvement in wages and labor welfare in the supply chain • Consumer attitudes to food value
A few of these factors could affect various aspects of content development, reader interest and consequently readership, which would be dealt with accordingly. However, there is a significant safeguard built into the small number of paid subscriptions (only 15,000 needed throughout the world) to sustain a going concern compared to the huge potential market of millions of people. Frequency and page count could also be adjusted if necessary to reduce expenses, However, the ongoing marketing and continuous sale of subscriptions with additional revenue from online advertisers provides an important safeguard. As Tea Journey maintains its high standards, the most serious tea drinkers should remain loyal. Tea is ever-changing with good crop years and bad, and Tea Journey is the only publication to report on the annual harvest in all the tea lands. (If the audience were to completely disappear, of course, so would the magazine—a very unlikely prospect.)
CONTENT $90,000 CAD
Content expenses are $90,000 CAD for three 150-page issues of Tea Journey and include payments to writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, videographers and podcasters at prevailing market rates. They also include compensation for writers in China and other non-English-speaking countries for permitting us to “retell” some of their stories in English. We have produced an impressive and representative prototype so that backers can see the quality of content in each issue. Please enjoy the prototype by downloading it at http://teajourney.pub/tea-journey-prototype.pdf.
PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION $30,000 CAD.
Production & Distribution expenses are $30,000 CAD for the three issues. The online platform is economically constructed on a powerful and popular blogger platform at Zeen101.com, permitting Tea Journey to publish articles, pages or blog posts from a single content management system that magically transforms content into a mobile application for smartphones and tablets.
Tea Journey is also available as a PDF for download, principally for those in the tea lands. The production and distribution line item in the budget includes the monthly server costs and fees to license a ton of software from Stripe and Slack to QuickBooks and Help Scout.
MARKETING $5,000 CAD
Marketing expenses for the inaugural issue social media campaign are $5,000 CAD. The cost of marketing could be infinite, but all we have is enough to get the word out to you and our friends in tea. Tea Journey is a collaborative venture, which is how our marketing expenses can be kept to a minimum. Using Kickstarter and personally recommend the magazine to thousands of our friends on social media makes it possible to get the word out.
Please help us out by visiting www.teajourney.pub/social and spreading the word.
KS: What happens if you exceed our basic financing goal?
Will we make good use of such funds by marketing in more traditional ways such as with Facebook promotions and Google ads.
My company, Mystic Media Custom Publishing, is currently footing the bill for administrative, legal, accounting and business services — expenses that eventually will be borne by Tea Journey.
This is a bootstrapped business that uses a dynamic equity financing (thanks Mike Moyer at Slicing Pie - www.slicingpie.com). If it is successful the Kickstarter campaign will enable the TJ Team to formally enter into a limited liability partnership.
We hope that once you see the quality of this publication and understand the underlying benefit of improving the health and well-being of our subscribers (while also benefiting those in the tea lands), you will find it in your hearts to begin your Tea Journey and continue ours.
*Headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada and marketed in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and India, Tea Journey has an immediate goal of 5,000 paid subscribers via Kickstarter with 15,000 total subscribers by the end of 2016. Once the campaign concludes, subscriptions for the second and subsequent issues will be available at www.TeaJourney.pub (www.teajourney.pub/subscribe).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter