By Piyu Sen
Jeffrey Lorien, also known as Dr. Oolong, is owner of Zhi Tea from Austin. They will be presenting their wonderful arrays of teas at this year’s festival. Jeffrey was kind enough to interview with Houston Independent Book Festival.
Piyu Sen: Could you please tell us a little about your philosophy at Zhi Tea.
Jeffrey Lorien: Our philosophy is pretty simple. At the end of the day it is all about the customer experience, whether it is a sit down customer enjoying a pot of tea, a new customer learning about teas, a wholesale customer, or online. We strive to create simplicity, encourage wonder, and provide a leaf to cup experience of integrity and quality for everyone that comes in contact with our teas.
PS: As you know, we love supporting our local authors, presses, and journals. We also love supporting our local eateries and beverage companies! How has it been for Zhi so far?
JL: Incredible! Our growth rate has been phenomenal in these first four years, especially considering we have no sales person or sales team. It’s all about word of mouth and diligent community partnering have really spurred our growth. We couldn’t be more pleased.
PS: How do you go about choosing which teas represent your brand? Is it a group effort or an individual journey?
JL: I drive that piece for the most part as it is truly one of my passions. With that said, we do have at least one tea in our line that was either created from one of our team’s vision (like the new lady lavender) or suggested to be added (like a particular oolong).
PS: Tea and literature, what comforts! Do you have any personal tea/book favorites?
JL: We love the book, Tea Chings by The Republic of Tea, as it is a simple primer for the tea newbie. As for books for intermediate or expert tea connoisseurs are harder to come by. The new Four Famous Chinese Teas by Jason Chen is fabulous and highly recommended.
PS: What are you reading at the moment?
JL: Ha! The Steve Jobs biography!
Please make sure you check our Zhi Tea‘s table at this year’s festivities on April 14th!