Elena Liao knew something was missing. She had been in merchandise planning at some of the nation’s best retailers for almost 10 years, but she didn’t feel captivated by her work. As she looked for side hobbies to do in her free time, she found herself naturally drawn to coffee — pourovers, specifically — yet during class she would be drinking tea from her birthplace of Taiwan. Taiwan’s complex history has given it a special relationship with oolong tea — a lightly oxidized tea somewhere between green and black — and Elena saw an opportunity to become a champion for the category. Knowing most large tea retailers would not spend money to find quality oolong, as it was such a small part of their portfolio, Elena decided to open up Té Company as a retail store, educational shop and brewing house to welcome tea drinkers of all paths to try Taiwanese oolong. Join us as we talk about the differences in teas, how oolong became Taiwan’s tea claim to fame, what it takes to run a small retail brand in NYC and more!
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