Interview with TAVALON TEA founder – John-Paul Lee
On a chilly afternoon, our interview with John-Paul Lee started with a warm greeting and a strong handshake. John-Paul Lee, the founder of Tavalon Tea and a visionary entrepreneur, opened Tavalon Tea in 2005. His tea business idea wasn’t positively received at the time. He went on to build a company with his passion and expertise to provide premium teas for both tea connoisseurs and newcomers. Today, he is running a successful and innovative cutting edge tea company.
The idea for a tea business happened a long time ago while John-Paul was sitting in a cafe in London. At the time he was still working in a consulting company. He knew then that he was not the type of person who could take orders and always stay in line. While thinking what kind of business he could do, he looked around and noticed everyone in the cafe was having tea. Not coffee, but tea. It was at that moment the tea idea popped into his head.
He put it all on the line: sold his car, his house, and pulled out seven credit cards to collect the initial capital in order to pursue his dream to bring Tavalon Tea to life. He still remembers when he started chasing his dream that lots people, including his parents, had a hard time believing the tea business was going to work.
No matter what business you are going to do, you must know about it comprehensively. John-Paul did lots research, read lots of papers in order to get as much information as possible, attending tea expos and talking with the experts.
When John-Paul started Tavalon Tea, he wanted to deliver an idea that tea can be fun, young, sexy and healthy. He stripped away any traditional images, created a new look of tea and began to educate his customers about the health benefits of drinking tea.
A key to John-Paul’s success is due in large part to his understanding of tea. “Other than the quality of tea leaves and the temperature of boiling water, the timing of when you remove the tea bag is also important. For example, if you are having green tea, you shouldn’t leave the tea bag in over five minutes. Or the green tea will be too bitter to drink.”
Tea is not only a healthy drink but also a functional beverage. You can drink tea anytime of the day. Depending on your purpose, tea can energize you in the morning or reduce your intensity at night.
Tavalon Tea offers many different kinds of tea cocktails, such as “smartini” made by genius tea ( also known as “white tea”). Collaborating with various spas, they have tea-infused spa treatments, like Green Tea Facial Mask and so on. Looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, Tavalon Tea also provides delicious treats, including tea-infused cupcakes.
Tavalon Tea has plans to open more tea bars and also BiBimBap places in the months and years ahead. Most recently, they are opening a new tea-bar location on the Upper East Side. There are also plans to begin to focus on making Tavalon teas easily accessible by launching retail locations all over the world. You can easily purchase our tea products either online at www.tavalon.com. or in hotels, restaurants and department stores, such as Bloomingdale’s.
In order to identify a good company is to know the people behind it. This was the story of John-Paul Lee, a brave, visionary and ambitious entrepeneur!