Liquid Proust Teas is Live :)

Below is a copy of what I posted on Steepster:

Liquid Proust Teas Just Hatched

I apologize for being a liar: I said I would open up on Friday (tomorrow) but instead I am opening tonight. This decision was made on account of me agreeing to work overtime tomorrow, 11 hours, and the extra money will be much appreciated in my wallet at PopCon this weekend 🙂

Tea is a lifestyle for myself, just as it is for many of you. Claiming that tea is just a hobby wouldn’t be suffice considering hobbies are generally known to be what people do in their free time and tea is not set aside just for free time because I ensure it is a constant aspect for me. Many of my friends and family members told me that I would open a shop over the last year and I laughed because I viewed teashop owners as rockstars and I don’t see myself as a rockstar. Well, it is quite possible that I may be among those individuals; not a rockstar, but a tea creator. Many of you have heard, read about, or seen something about Liquid Proust Teas and I am quite happy to say that Liquid Proust Teas is officially open.

Considering that Liquid Proust Teas is new, there is a lot of room to improve. Many things will change if I am successful with my first batch of teas such as: labels, packaging, presentations, and prices. When it came to choosing quantity that I would begin with I had two options: Go big or start small. After a lot of contemplation I made the decision to create quite a bit. This decision came from two factors. The first factor was an agreement with myself to start big to see if this is something I will continue for leisure or par time work. The other decision was based on mathematics. Once I did some computations that revealed I need the profit from 54 ounces of tea being sold to cover just my LLC filing cost I decided that small batches wouldn’t cut it.
Enough with the paragraphs…

Here’s some random information I want to put out there:

1.I will not be using Liquid Proust on Steepster to do or handle the business of Liquid Proust Teas. Steepster is a website that I really enjoy interacting with and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I’m hoping that people won’t get upset that I still operate on here in the same way that I do now. That means that Liquid Proust Teas from my end will only be discussed via Etsy or email; with the exception to #2 that is listed next.

2.I will not create a new posting on Steepster unless I have a new lineup that is being/is released. As of now, I plan to do that three times a year but this could change depending on demand.

3.I vow to be objective when describing my teas and letting the consumer be subjective. This pertains to the ingredients list. When I list teas they will be as they are; for example, gyokuro will not be labeled as ‘premium green tea’ but as gyokuro.

4.Pictures that are used for my storefront and blog are meant to be 100% accurate as they are pictures of what I package to be sent out.

5.In regards to blogging: I plan to show the process to the majority of the teas that I create, but there are times that I forget or Startrek distracts me…
6.Just something to know: Etsy stores pay a fee for when an items sells ($.20 & 3.5%) plus a transaction in regards to how payment is made which is roughly 3% + $.25 or $.3 (Paypal vs Direct via Etsy). This means that an item that cost $6 can accrue fees at about $.87 (if it is just that item). As a customer myself, this information has changed how I see these small specialty shops online.

Short term goals
1.Establish Liquid Proust Teas as an honest and friendly company one customer at a time.

2.Learn how to accept defeat when it comes to not creating a tea that measures up for others’ taste buds.
Long term goals

1.Provide aged oolong at a competitive price
2.Participate in farmers markets
3.Work on matcha truffles (issues with shipping…)
4.Work on one SICK Kickstarter that would allow me to travel and coblend with another tea company to create some badass blends 
a.Personally I see tea as something that brings communities together and it should be true not of just the buyers but the sellers (companies) as well
b.Question: What if the teas were called Badass Blend #1, Badass Blend #2, and so forth? (Really, but not really…)

Profits for my first ‘wave’ will go towards
1.Paying for the LLC filing cost
2.A large dehydrator so all the crazy fruits that are never in tea blends will show up and because tea infused jerky should be an option. That would include jackfruit, starfruit, durian, and more.
3.Purchasing samples of aged oolongs from a few suppliers to evaluate
4.Purchasing herbs from New Zealand and Japan to compare
5.1989 Pu’erh : I need to own a full cake at some… so why not the year I was born?

Thank you very much for reading all of that information. I will do my best to be transparent when it comes to the operations of my business so nothing is hidden. Earlier in the post I talked about continuing if I am successful with my first ‘wave’ of teas and what I mean by that is still undefined… do I say when I break even I’m successful or am I successful when I get good reviews? I’m uncertain, so I’m just going to do what I have done and give it 100 while hoping for the best.

Thankfully the future is unknown and we live it one day at a time.

If you have any questions in regards to Liquid Proust Teas feel free to shoot me a message on Etsy. Also, I love suggestions!

Lastly, regardless if you buy from me or not… if you give my tea a 1 or 100… look at my Etsy and laugh… I just want everyone to know that Steepster is only an oasis because of the people that interact on it. Intimidation was the only thing Steepster had for me a year ago because I didn’t feel adequate enough with tea to partake in the conversations on here. I haven’t even been on here for a year still and the amount that I have learned has been amazing. While I can’t make my hand appear from your screen and shake your hand, which would either be scary or awesome, I can say that much of my mission is to provide great teas to the community that is invested in the culture of tea. Just keep in mind that I’m not a super hero so this mission may not be achieved on my first go at it… then again, some super heroes end up fighting the same villain because of what I will call ‘reasons’ and therefore constantly fail their mission only to reattempt it.

Realizing that I’m now a small part of the world of tea makes me smile and I hope I can bring that smile to you.

Sinceriously,
Andrew Richardson
https://www.etsy.com/shop/LiquidProustTeas
https://liquidproust.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/LiquidProustTeas

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Final Touches Before Opening

Today I started my new job with Kimball Midwest and drank 0 cups of tea in the last 9 hours… that has led to my current headache. However, nothing stropping Liquid Proust Teas!

Yesterday my bestfriend came over and we tested one of the teas that I wasn’t sure how to suggest to steep which is a yellow tea blend with honeysuckle I recently made.What was awesome about this was buying tickets to PopCon in Indianapolis. Since I’ll be at that convention on my first weekend being open, I will have to respond to everyone a bit slower than normal. However, I’ll try to make it up by having pictures of me with superheros, Startrek people, aliens, video game characters, and random stuff 🙂

Taste Testing:

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Above is how we approached the testing 🙂20150623_2016441

Though you can’t see it well, this is the cups filled and yes I spilled some…
We both came to the same findings which was awesome because I was very pleased!

Now I’m just doing all the other random things that come along with start up including: business card creation, answering questions, working on social media websites, packaging, looking into fess for Etsy/Papal, figuring out how to reward people (free stuff!!!), organizing everything, and looking at the blends that are not finished with a semi angry face as I tell them to work faster. Those blends include Drunk Love, Bubbleyum, and Burnt Pudding (this is just a name, not the taste 😛 )20150624_1709031

Once again, a big thanks to everyone who has helped me with legal questions, tea process, customer outreach, and letting me  know I’m not insane 🙂

So, The Flavoring Begins!

For the last two weeks I have been playing with flavoring teas!
This has provided a wonderful challenge for my because I love learning a new skill. I had to pull back my imagination when approaching this new skill, but that didn’t last long because I have ideas that don’t stop running through my mind.

As I approach opening up my Etsy store the 26th, I’m beginning to become really excited. For the last few days I have been brewing ounces of my teas to get the temperature and timing down for the teas.

Of course, I have pictures and teasers of the new teas I have made 🙂

Tea #1 French Toast Dianhong

I flavored each one of these guys by hand 🙂

French Toast Dianhong

As you can see, the gold strands in this tea changed color as I flavored these guys.French Toast Dianhong closeUnsure if I should boost the flavor or leave it as it was once I tested these out, I found out that the later steeps brought out different notes so I decided to keep my measurements and hope that these do well enough to do once more. The idea of powdering these with powdered sugar wouldn’t leave my mind, but realizing how nasty the water would look… I decided not to do so.

Tea #2 Peach Vs Bergamot ft. Formosa

Peach vs Brergamot

Not sure why this blend came about… but, I wanted to make an oolong earl grey and then I brainstormed how I could make mine unique so I decided to flavor the oolong with peach first and then let it soak in some bergamot flavoring. The flower petals happened because this tea needed something in there or else it would just be brown strands :/

Tea #3 Tangerine Peals
Jasmine pearls blew up recently for whatever reason, but possibly I’m mistaken… but from what I have observed this seems to be true. While jasmine is nice and all, I tend to want something more than just floral notes in my tea. Upon finding tangerine skins I decided that tangerine is a nice flavor to add to jasmine pearls as an accent (not taking over).

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The tangerine skin was mixed into the jasmine pearls with some mild flavoring to be absorbed over dayssss finalThe little specks you see on the tea came about from when I rotated the tea around throughout the time they were taking their time in combat training (because your taste buds need to be convinced that these are good). The specks are pieces of the tangerine skin or small portions of the crushed pearls that were in the package.

Tea #4 Dark Chocolate Oolong
The title of this tea is probably misleading… this is a dark oolong blend with chocolate. I rubbed the flavoring for this tea on the top of the lid for this tea and powdered it so it wouldn’t go on the tea. This is a unique tea for sure.1 Dark chocolate close up

Tea #5 Angry Lemon Chai
This tea blend was made specifically for my younger brother as he like citrus fruits and chai tea.I was able to use a terrible ingredient in this tea too which means I can mark it off my list! That ingredient is lemongrass… which makes up a very small portion, but this was the time to use it for sure since it is a lemon (and lime) chai.

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#Tea #6 Megan’s Gold
This is a very limited supply tea as I made a batch for my best friend. She really likes her coffee and grapefruits so I integrated that into a three way blend of golden black teas. It took some time to figure out the steeping on this one, but once we did… I can easily say I’ve never had a tea like it 🙂

Megan's Gold tea photo Megan's Gold

Tea #7 White Melon Punch
I can’t just blend green, black, and oolong teas… I have to do it all! This is a blend of three white teas and melon pieces which sadly cost a lot. This tea is still doing its thing and all, but here is what I used.

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There is so much more… no worries though, Liquid Proust Teas will be open soon.

Here is a few picture of other teas that have not been on my blog yet. I will let you use your imagination to try and figure out what they are:

Japanese Trio Peach Blossom Oolong Smoky Breakfast Sweet and Spicy Oolong

I will be finishing up my yellow tea blend soon and starting to finish up the preopening stuff so next weekend I can finally ship out some happiness (well, that is if someone buys my teas of course).

I really hope that you enjoy seeing the process, reading the tidbits about the teas, and pictures 🙂

Gyokuro, Dragonwell, Oolongs, and More Genmaicha?

Since I am still job searching, I have lots of hours to put into tea creation!

Before I show you teas I have been working on I want to say that Liquid Proust Teas is now a registered Limited Liability Company through the State of Ohio and registered with the FDA. I still have about two weeks before I open up though.

My biggest adventure since the Blueberry Sandstorm for now is my Jackseed Gyokuro! This is a very odd combination but I wanted to work with something nutty and had this available.

Tea 1 : Jackseed Gyokuro

Step #1 Locate and purchase the jackfruit. Generally this fruit is sold whole and easily weighs 20lbs, so if you ever see it cut up you should grab some. The easiest way to deal with it is to cut the white center away and push on the back rind so the pieces pop out. For what I am doing it wasn’t that hard to cut the pieces and pull out the seeds. Before you do anything with them just make sure you take off the coating around the seed to make it easier to deal with. Next thing I did was put these guys on this bamboo tray so I could slowly roast them.1

Step#2 Take them out and cut them up! After steeping a few pieces in water at 175f I ended up spraying a little bit of vanilla on them and roasted them longer because I wanted something that had more flavor than these had.

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Step #3 Looking at the gyokuro: How much of this will I be able to use? Well by the looks of it, this gyokuro can all be used 🙂

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Step #4 Make sure the seeds are 100% ready to be added to the gyokuro.

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Step #5 Adding the seeds to the gyokuro. I didn’t have enough seeds for how much tea I had so I ended up with ounces of gyokuro unused.6

Tea 2 : Sweet Cocoa Roasted Genmaicha
First, I just want to say this turned out much better then I though it would. I’m actually keeping a few ounces of this tea for myself =)

Step #1 Look at the container of roasted bancha that was brought back from Tokyo with me. It took a beating in my suitcase, but it protected its inhabitants.

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Step #2 (not pictured) Weigh out genmaicha and hojicha to figure out how much 10% would be for the cocoa mixture to be added.

Step #3 Mix the 10% of the cocoa into the genmaicha. I used a pure cane sugar mixture with caramel flavoring.

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Step #4 Add the hojicha on top so the picture look cool :p3

Step #5 Mix it all up and be amazed how the cocoa powders the tea mixture and the pure cane sugar decides to just stick all over and make the tea look beautiful. 4

Tea 3: Lily the Dragon

Step #1,2, and 3 Look at the dragonwell, look at the lily, and blend. Don’t forget to come up with a name! This was an easy blend to do because all I needed to do was measure out the tea and the flower. I chose lily because dragonwell has a strong taste for a green tea and can hold up to the flowers taste. 1

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Other Teas: Yeah… I was slacking and forgot to take pictures as I made them

1) 7 Oolong Blend6 Oolong Blend

2) Rosey Dancong w/cream

Dark Rose Dan Cong w cream

Blueberry Sandstorm Genmaicha

Before I begin writing about my first completed tea, I would like to say that Liquid Proust Teas is going through the process of becoming official! I’m registered with the FDA now and awaiting the confirmation from the state of Ohio in regards to filing for Liquid Proust Teas LLC.

The projected date to open my online shop is June 15th and I am hard at work to get everything done.

With all that being said: BLUEBERRY SANDSTORM GENMAICHA!

You can imagine that tasting blueberries in a sandstorm would be difficult and that is true with this tea as well. While the blueberry notes are in there… there is so much more going on. Upon thinking about all my tea creations I decided to challenge myself and include ingredients that I don’t like. This blend I had to choose something that had a color that was complementary and also something many people like. The ingredient that fit with this tea was hibiscus and I was very selective as to the low amount in this blend and to the pieces included (I tried to remove all the ones with white on them and keep the dark purple ones).

Instead of talking about it all I would like to use pictures and captions:

Step #1 Bake cinnamon into aniseed stars. This was done to lower the potency of the aniseed stars a bit and also include some dessert or desert flavor into them. The cinnamon was lightly brushed off after.

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Step #2 Evaluate the genmaicha

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Step #3 Not going to tell you…

Step #4 ADD SOME JAPANESE SENCHA!!!

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Step #5 Powder the mixture with ground freeze dried blueberries from Canada

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Step #6 Make the cake mix… I mean, add all the stuff that a blueberry sandstorm would potentially have: blueberries, small cinnamon pieces, dried apple, rooibos, aniseed stars, and the challenging ingredient hibiscus. Don’t worry about the rooibos taking over, at 170f it only complements the aniseed stars as well as adding to the overall sandstorm party in a cup.

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Almost Done: While this beautiful mixture looks done, it still has to be gently mixed and customly scooped into one ounce allotments to be packaged.

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While the tea is titled Blueberry Sandstorm Genmiacha, this has project Dessert Storm for me 🙂

The Beginning

Tea creation, how hard can that be?

Well, tea has been around for quite awhile and people sill have yet to perfect it. Some may challenge that statement, but I believe there is no perfection to a living process that is happening between mankind and nature. Tea has a fascinating history that has caused the lives of others through war and also brought communities together to experience life in a new way.

My purpose for taking on unique blends is to contribute to the tea community. Differentiation does not occur with me when it comes embracing tea enthusiast or the social drinkers. The only difference that occurs is how much jargon I use. Joy is the feeling I get when I get to journey with another person to the bottom of a cup.

I am unsure how large this project of mine will become, but I do plan to produce some gems. My first experiments have shown that there is a lot of learning and hands on practice to happen before I am comfortable with selling my blends.

My trails can be seen here: http://steepster.com/companies/liquid-proust

As of now the first tea that will be available on Etsy (when I create it) will be Blueberry Cobbler Genmaicha and it will be released within two weeks.

Each post will include pictures of how the tea was handled and evaluated prior to becoming an official blend offed by Liquid Proust Teas.
-Liquid Proust

“A powerful idea communicates some of its strength to him who challenges it.” – Marcel Proust

 

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