The author of Keen Tea Thyme sat down with us (virtually of course and most likely with a cup of green tea) to answer a few questions we had prepared for her about her tea journeys and how it all began. Grab your own cup of tea and embrace the words that the former journalist, Carolynne, uses to express her interest in tea and also her readers! After only blogging for about a year, Carolynne has had many success with the growth of her readership and is continually updating her tea blog with fresh material. We had a great thyme learning more about Carolynne and her blog experiences, hope you do too!
How did Keen Tea Thyme begin?
I started blogging barely a year ago, after a friend dared me. (She told me I would be a great blogger, and since I love to write, I gave it a shot.) I tried to blog just about my life, but it wasn’t very exciting. So I decided to start blogging about tea. I wanted my blog to not just be a haven for tea reviews – although that type of site does have its place. I’m a former journalist, and I wanted my blog to be more like a magazine, or news site – a place where tea connoisseurs of all levels could read, learn, celebrate and enjoy tea.
Where did the name Keen Tea Thyme” originate from?
I wanted something catchy for my blog title. My last name is Keenan and I am “keen” on tea. Then I added “thyme” because of the fun wordplay – I’m a nut for wordplay, puzzles, word games, etc. Plus it’s a great spice.
What does tea mean to you?
Tea is about sharing, about family and friends. I treasure the moments I have with my grandmother, Oma, and my mom discussing life over cups of tea. I’ve been a fan of tea for years, and loose tea just for about five years, but whenever I visit my Oma – or whenever the three of us are together – we share a pot of tea and catch up on our lives. This is something I hope to share with my future children, and their children.
Do you have a favourite cup of tea? If so, what and why?
I don’t really have a favorite, but I enjoy green tea most. I drink a LOT of tea, and green tea always tastes lighter, crisper than the darker varieties. Depending on the season, I’ll drink chai (autumn) and iced (summer), too.
Do you like to pair your cup of tea with a favourite treat? If so, what?
I drink tea at all hours of the day so I don’t necessarily pair it with anything else. I do love to add a sugar crystal or two to the chai tea, to help bring out the flavor. I don’t know it that counts as a treat!
What is your favourite segment from your blog?
I have many favorite segments; I love the company profiles, which run every other month. Getting to know small business owners is one of the reasons I started this blog. I also love the CelebriTEA features, because I get to gab with fellow tea bloggers about…TEA! I have lots of ideas about my blog and find story ideas everywhere. That’s part of my training as a journalist. I’ve been writing for professional publication since I was about 16. I wrote for The Baltimore Sun and The Gazette (two local papers) in college. When I graduated, my dad and I went on a road trip around the US and I applied at any paper I could find. But I ended up getting a job at The Gazette (Mount Airy), which was a paper I interned at with the wonderful Carol Blackburn. She is a mentor and a friend. I left journalism after four years, for a variety of reasons, but have always wanted to continue writing. Writing is my passion, my dream, my first love. So I started this blog and the rest is history!
Inspiration comes from anywhere and anyone. Where or who would you say you find inspiration the most to write pieces for your blog?
Like I said, I’m a former journalist and by training can find story ideas everywhere, everyday. But I always think back to my readers. What would my readers find interesting? A company profile on a certain tea company? Learning about a fellow tea blogger? And my RealiTEA posts – real tea in real time, tea-in-the-news. As a journalist you’re taught to identify and know your audience, so I take that to heart. Luckily my audience tends to like the same things I do so if I think a story idea is interesting I’m betting my readers would too.
What do you think made Keen Tea Thyme so successful today?
I’m proud of the work I’ve put into Keen Tea Thyme, and I’ve forced my blog into the spotlight when needed. I credit the online tea community, such as my friends from Steepster, for helping me get the blog off the ground, and tell me what works and what doesn’t. I market the heck out of my blog too, finding new and creative ways to advertise my blog. Marketing, promotion, PR, and journalism just come naturally to me and I truly enjoy every minute I spend working on Keen Tea Thyme. I think about my blog often, and carry a notebook of ideas. My dream is to make Keen Tea Thyme THE place on the Web to learn about and celebrate tea.
Aside from blogging about tea, what is another one of your pass times?
I love to write on any level! Ever since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed of being a novelist. I have a book series in the works, but nothing concrete. I write constantly, every day, if possible. I’m the dork who loved to write research papers –or what I called, investigative pieces. Writing is who I am, who I will be. It’s a part of me, and writing comes naturally to me as well.
What’s next for Keen Tea Thyme and/or yourself and your journeys with tea?
I hope to soon move my blog off blogger to my own domain site, so I can have more control over the content and formatting. I’d also love to start selling my own blends on my site.
Any last words you’d like to say:
This is the first interview I’ve done in which I haven’t been the interviewer! Each day I am amazed at how wonderful the online tea community is. I’ve made some great friends and have learned so much, I hope my blog can help give back even in some little way.
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