travel + tea interview: seann sweeney of the sustainable tea leaf

the travel + tea interviews series: bloggers, writers and photographers sharing about their experiences with tea, travel and writing.

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Tell me about your blog, how did you get to the point you’re at now and what are you thinking of doing next?

sustainable tea

I love tea and I also love sustainability. The goal of my blog is to inform and inspire people about all things sustainable+tea related. Sustainable tea is important not only because of the obvious benefit for the environment, but also for the growth of tea industry and the health of consumers and tea farmers.

To me, sustainability means balance. Balancing the environmental and social justice issues with the needs of business and the economy. Sustainability in the tea industry includes (but not limited to) organic and sustainable farming, recycling, reducing waste and pollution, water conservation, health of consumers, ethical business practices, economics and financial health of tea companies and the industry.

One of the key areas I try to cover in my blog is providing examples and ideas of how being sustainable can make a tea company more efficient financially and operationally. My blog is fairly new. Right now a lot of the content is on sustainable tea news and happenings in the industry.

What’s next? I plan to start an interview series with teahouse owners and others that work in the tea industry. I want to hear from them what they think about organic, fair-trade, what it means to be sustainable, how being sustainable has/could help their business. I also want to interview tea consumers and get their view on the topic. Beyond that, I have some other ideas running through my head but we’ll see how it all develops.

Tell me where in the world you are, how did you get there (what’s the story behind the journey) and where are you thinking of going next?

Right now, I live in Fort Collins. CO. I’m a nomad. I grew up in southeast Michigan, and then went to school at Michigan State University. I lived in Chicago for a summer during college, and then moved to San Francisco shortly after I graduated. After six years in San Francisco I moved to Fort Collins, CO. Although I loved it, after a year I moved away for a job in Madison, WI. Now I am back in Fort Collins (my girlfriend lives here so that brought me back) and it is not a bad place to move back to.

I like to experience living in different places and don’t mind moving around. It’s such a big country and world-why not experience it. I like the variety and the unique offerings and “claims to fame” each city has. I also like how each place you live has it’s own definition of normal, which might not be considered normal in other places. The different people and ways of life interest me as well.

What does traveling mean to you?

Experiencing new landscapes, people, cultures, food, teahouses, and ways of life. Me and my girlfriend are serious travelers. We have been dating for about a year and a half and we have already been to 12 US states and five Eastern European countries together in that time.

What does tea mean to you?

A rich and involved history, a variety of different tastes, a healthy beverage, a reason to get together, a conversation topic, a relaxing experience.

What’s your philosophy when it comes to blogging on the road?

I haven’t done that yet, but plan to in the future. I’m fairly new at blogging so this is now a new item on my “to do” list.

What’s your favorite tea related memory or location (it can be as simple as enjoying a can of green tea from a vending machine in Japan to participating in a tea ceremony) and why is it special to you?

Discovering my passion for tea started when I lived in Madison, WI. I have great memories of visiting the local teahouse and experimenting with new teas. What do you drink/steep at home? Usually Japanese sencha, I like to explore all kinds or teas, but I always find myself coming back to sencha.

If there is one tea you could introduce to everyone in the world, what would it be?

lapacho tea

Lapacho (herbal tea). It’s not very well know in the US. It has a very earthy taste (it is tree bark). I had some in Eastern Europe this past summer. It’s a medicinal tea, which is made from the bark of trees in S. America. It has been used by indigenous people in South and Central America for centuries. The bark can be harvested without harming the trees. I don’t know much more about it at this point in time, but plan to look into it more and blog about it.

Can you tell me three of your favorite tea or travel blogs?

T-Ching, Steepster, Leafbox Tea and TeaChat.

Can you tell me your favorite tea shop (and what made it totally awesome)?

morocco tea room at ma-cha teahouse

I actually have two favorites. 1) Ma-cha Teahouse in Madison, WI 2) Happy Lucky’s Teahouse in Fort Collins, CO Both have a great variety of teas, excellent atmosphere, sustainable tea options, knowledgeable staff/owners who love tea and love to talk tea.

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Seann can be found at his blog, The Sustainable Tea Leaf, and on Twitter.

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  1. […] Great news! I recently completed an interview about my blog, tea and my travel experiences as part of the “travel + tea interviews series: bloggers, writers and photographers sharing about their experiences with tea, travel and writing.” Please…feel free to read the Sustainable Tea Leaf travel+tea interview by clicking here. […]

  2. […] Lastly, if you want to read more about best practices when it comes to tea around the world, be sure to check out The Sustainable Leaf. Sean writes about sustainable tea farming and agriculture and about news in this sector, you can also read an interview that I did with Sean here. […]



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