TWEET: List your tea shop or estate on Tea Planet.
Imagine that you are flying to Reykjavik, Iceland and are thirsty for a quality cup of tea on arrival.
I recommend you stop at Te og Kaffee at the Smáralind Mall, not because I’ve been there — I haven’t. I can recommend the tea shop after visiting Tea Planet, a newly launched global directory of tea shops, estates and relevant historical and cultural sites.
This innovative visual directory is built on the colorful Google Maps platform which offers both a street map and satellite photo of each location along with interior photos, business hours, a description, consumer ratings and more. Tabs make this information available in Icelandic and other languages for locals. There is also a link to the shop’s website. In some instances, thanks to Google Street View, you can actually tour the shop. It’s the closest thing to walking in the door.
Submissions are free. Brick-and-mortar and online locations are welcome to list. Cafés are rated by their customers. Directory listings are easily filtered by category.
Tea Planet is the handiwork of Peter Davenport, founder of Teatra.de, an online resource rich with information for tea lovers worldwide.
“I love maps; they provoke a sense of adventure and they give you a concept of the world around you,” explains Davenport. “So instead of making a long list, we wanted to give our visitors a visual experience to navigate the world of tea,” he said.
It is easy to zoom in on an area of interest and click to see the details. Location pages are rendered with a large street map and photo of your destination at the top of the page.
“To my surprise, during development, I discovered that the folks at Google Street View even walked inside some the cafes,” said Davenport. “Try using Street View on the Tante T tearoom in Copenhagen. If you drag the Street View icon over the little orange dot, you’ll be presented with a wonderful 360-degree view of the inside of the tea shop. How’s that for exploring the world of tea?”
Hey this is fun. My next stop is Assam, India where I entered Dikom Tea Estate, a large and lovely garden owned by Rossell Tea, Ltd. that I visited last November.
“The world of tea is big and hard to comprehend so we did something special with Tea Planet. It is designed so you can be part of it too. By adding your local tea shops, tearooms and cafes, you help Tea Planet grow and help us illustrate how big the world of tea is,” said Davenport.
How many shops are out there? How many gardens and historical sites? Together, let’s find out.
“We can only do it with your help. It doesn’t matter if you live Seattle, London, or Mumbai. We want to document everything. Each location will get its own page where it can be reviewed, and (we hope) store managers and employees will come to engage with their customers, so if you add a location, let the staff know about it so they can come and use it too!” said Davenport.
The Tea Trade Network was founded 2010 by Jackie and Peter Davenport to create a solution for isolated tea bloggers on the internet. It allows tea bloggers to blog collectively, as a community, while still maintaining the integrity of their independent blogs. Previous innovations include the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Tea. Now that he has finished building a global tea map, Davenport is eager to develop online tools for tea education.
— Dan Bolton
©Mystic Media 2013