These are all very expensive teas,” Hodge said. “You won't find these teas in Teavana. The teas are rare and hard to come by even in China.
Tucson, Arizona (PRWEB) December 23, 2014
Kevin Rose is known as a Silicon Valley guru, venture capitalist and partner in Google Ventures. In 2009 he traveled with Seven Cups founder Austin Hodge to the rainforests of Yunnan in southwest China to taste tea where it originated.
“The trip was difficult – but the tea was amazing,” Rose said at the time.
Now Rose wants to share that amazing tea with his followers. He has about 1.5 million followers on Twitter alone.
He picked Seven Cups tea as one item in his first holiday gift box on sale through Quarterly.co. Celebrity gift boxes are a hot item now in online retail.
Hodge hand-picked some of the best teas from the Seven Cups inventory of teas that were personally sourced throughout China. Seven Cups has been one of the leaders in the tea industry for more than a decade in Direct Trading.
Quarterly.co promised "-Awesome tech stuff-" “There’s nothing high tech about these teas. The holiday gift box has things that Kevin thinks are cool.We are happy he feels that way about our teas.” Hodge said. In pictures of box contents shared over social media, bags of the hand-made tea sit alongside wireless speakers, fitness trackers, and laptop accessories.The contents were kept secret until all the boxes were delivered, just in time for Christmas.
“These are all very expensive teas,” Hodge said. “You won't find these teas in Teavana. The teas are rare and hard to come by even in China."
Rose traveled in 2009 with fellow celebrity millennials Tim Ferriss, author of the best-selling “Four Hour Work Week,” and cinematographer Glenn McElhose.They joined Hodge’s tour group in China. While in Yunnan province they produced a 10-minute segment of their popular “Random Episodes” series. They were eating chicken skewers grilled on a bicycle cart in the center of the city of Jinggu.
They recounted the challenges encountered while touring tea farms and factories throughout the province. Tea geek Rose has a tattoo on his left bicep – an image of the fabled Chinese emperor Shennong who is said to have started tea farming some 5,000 years ago. The name means "the Divine Farmer."
“Every tea master in China wants his picture taken with my tattoo,” Rose said. "They even want to print the tattoo on the wrapper of the puer tea cakes."
This was no luxury travel tour. In 2009 the government didn't want foreign tourists roaming around the poor Chinese countryside. “It was a very raw trip,” Hodge said. “The bus broke down in the middle of the night. We ate in countryside restaurants that came with plenty of flies, and stayed in Chinese truck driver hotels. The squat toilets also came with plenty of flies and the hotels had flocks of mosquitos.” Those days are gone now in China, according to Hodge, replaced by good roads and 4 and 5 star hotels.
“It’s been difficult,” Rose said in the video, describing chicken heads in the soup and other cultural extremes. “We had a great time. The tea has been amazing – and the factories we toured, the puer tea we had – it’s been an experience.”
Rose is an internet entrepreneur who co-founded Revision3, Digg, Pownce and Milk. Rose is now a venture partner at Google Ventures.. In 2007 MIT Technology Review named Rose one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. He’s been a guest of Jimmy Fallon three times.
Hodge said that even in 2009 he knew of Rose “through my web designer – who once told me ‘you should get in touch with him. He’s really into tea. I was surprised when he found us and signed up for a tour.”
Rose and McElhose have stayed in touch with Hodge. They visited Tucson and enjoyed Mexican food and margaritas together. Last month, Quarterly.co called Seven Cups and announced that “Kevin Rose has selected you” for his holiday gift box.
Hodge and his wife Zhuping Hodge founded Seven Cups Fine Chinese Tea in 2002 and opened the teahouse in 2004. Zhuping is one of the first women to be certified to teach tea culture to tea professionals in China. She is a native of China. They met at a teahouse in China.
Seven Cups currently sources teas from around 50 producers in 10 different regions of China, homeland of the world’s first and finest teas, Hodge said. Seven cups sells tea online to connoisseurs in more than 90 countries. Many of these teas have only been available to the Western world in the last 10 to 20 years.
In 2012 Travel + Leisure named Seven Cups Teahouse one of the best places to drink tea in America. Tea aficionado Bruce Schoenfeld first tasted da hong pao – a rare Chinese oolong tea – that was traditionally prepared by Zhuping at the teahouse in Tucson. “It altered my tea-drinking life,” he wrote.
Hodge writes a widely read blog and has been extensively published in China. In 2011 he was the only foreigner given the “Top Ten Outstanding Persons of China” award, presented by the Chinese tea community for his contributions in promoting fine Chinese teas. He serves as an Honorary Director at the Chinese International Tea Culture Research Institute in Hangzhou. He is currently working to establish standards for Specialty Tea. Seven Cups continues to provide educational tea tours to China. Seven Cups has won many awards, both locally and internationally. Seven Cups Teahouse is at 2516 E 6th St., Tucson, AZ 86748
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., M-Sat and 11:30 a.m. 6:00 p.m., Sunday.
For more information about the teas, the teahouse, or its yearly tours, visit http://www.sevencups.com.