Writer/ David E. Sumner
“I just got a big order from Germany,” he says in a recent interview. Paul buys teas directly from more than 20 farmers in Taiwan, whom he has personally chosen after visiting their farms.
“I have visited each one. I look at their tea to see if it is clean and where it is located; I meet the farmer and see what kind of person they are. If it’s a small family farm in a clean environment and they do a good job of growing excellent tea, then that’s who I look for,” he explains.
Adamson grew up in a family business, Adamson’s Karate Studios, which operates eight studios in central Indiana, including Zionsville and Carmel. His father and mother started the business 40 years ago and each studio is managed by one of the family members. Paul, one of four Adamson brothers, is a sixth-degree black belt and has been studying and teaching martial arts most of his life. Paul’s wife, Jasmine, who holds a second-degree black belt, works at the front desk of their Zionsville studio. While they don’t have separate retail stores for their teas, local customers can pick up orders at one of their karate studios.
Paul, who earned a degree in Asian history, studied Mandarin Chinese and martial arts in Taiwan in the early 1990s, where he acquired his taste for tea. “I made a lot of connections with tea drinkers, tea farmers, and tea culture there. What impressed me most about tea is that you can discern the ‘terroir’ that is, the place where the tea was grown—its weather, kind of soil, amount of sunshine—by its taste. About six years ago, I decided to go ahead and offer teas over the Internet. So had a website built,” Paul says.
He says he built the business mainly by promoting it on social media.
He met his wife, Jasmine, in Taiwan in 1996, and they have two sons and a daughter. His mother-in-law, who lives in Taichung, Taiwan, helps with the business. “When I get an order, I send it to my mother-in- law, and she ships it to us,” says Paul.
“We are one of the few companies that offer true Face-to-Farmer™ sourcing,” Paul says. “That means that every tea we offer, with few exceptions, is bought directly in cash from the farmer face to face. The tea comes from the tea plant, and that’s all there is. There are no additives, no sugars, no preservatives, and no flavorings. We deal with premium, high-quality farm-direct teas made just by the tea plant.” He travels to Taiwan about twice a year to visit farms and purchase tea.
Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company sells more than 40 varieties of teas from five basic tea families: Puerh, Black, Oolong, Green, and White. “Oolong teas are the most popular. They’re a great starting point to get into the tea world–not too green, not too dark, and kind of in the middle,” Paul says.
“I want three winners out of every deal: I want the farmer to be happy with the money he gets; I want customers to be happy by getting the world’s best teas; and then I want to have fun doing it and make a little bit of profit.” He offers free tea-tasting parties with a minimum of ten people.
“Tea connects people,” he says. “It’s a good connecting point. Not only is it interesting to talk about, it’s more fun to sit and drink it with somebody so you can comment on your experiences. It’s a very social, people-centric hobby. And it’s healthy.”
All teas can be ordered online; free shipping on orders more than $25. Visit www.BeautifulTaiwanTea.com or email Paul for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org