A road trip gone awry

July 26th, 2012
Porche & Jag EType by CooperTeaMaster
Porche & Jag EType, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

In the 60’s and 70’s When I was a young man I would gaze enviously at the sports cars of the day thinking to myself…”I will never own anything like that..!” It did not occur to me at the time that as I aged, so did the cars!! And in 2000’s it would be possible to own a 1971 car (IF you were prepared to put up with the repair bills!)

A few years ago I purchased from a friend probably one of the world’s most favored sports cars..the famous Jaguar E type. What a magnificent design, what flair, what style, what a large number of cylinders (12 in all).

So when a friend who owned a 1957 Porsche asked if I was interested in a road trip into the Colorado back country and the mountains I said “Yes” and off we set. All was well for the first two days, then on a dirt road in the back country my elegant E type said “Enough” and stopped working.

The pictures tell the story…it turns out the electric leads to the fuel pump were shaken loose over some ill advised rough roads we took…Note to self “On the next road trip in the Jag stick to the tarmac”

The Porsche made it back to Boulder with a passenger. The Jag sits in a mountain town awaiting my return to pick her up. The next road trip I think I will take my 1960 Morgan…slower, but simpler, but equally as stylish in its own way.

A quick relationship

July 20th, 2012
Kiki & Jessie by CooperTeaMaster
Kiki & Jessie, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

If you did not laugh at the idiocies that life bring to your door then life would be miserable indeed. Kiki (a version of Kidogo which is Swahili for “small”) is a Chihuahua male, who moves fast. Jessie is a large Lab cross who has fallen in love with Kiki and likes to chase him so that he will pay attention to her. Kiki has a dazzling rate of speed and a racer’s turn, Jessie has passion on her side…so she keeps up….a glorious shot of true love in action…..

When is a rare fish not a rare fish?

March 7th, 2012
Barrys Rare Fish by CooperTeaMaster
Barrys Rare Fish, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

The Hog fish cannot be caught. It can only be hunted and speared. This makes it a very difficult fish to enjoy as not many brought to the table. It not a rare fish but it is a rare fish to eat because of this. It is also an EXTREMELY GOOD fish to eat. It is tender, sweet, firm and not dry. It looks like a HOG…look at that snout!! So when one of my favorite restaurants (The Clam House in Palmetto) announced that they had a large Hog fish available I bought the whole thing.
Eight of us showed up to enjoy the feast which was probably a bit too many people but who cared..we all got to get a taste of this rare dish…I freely admit that I am a “Foodie”…but there are worst things in life to be. I think I have mentioned before that If you make your living tasting things, then why not taste as many things as you can. Life is for living after all.
Thank you Mr. Hog Fish. You made my evening, and it would appear Capt. Bob’s as well, he is my friend clutching the tail end of the Hog!

The Passing of a Friend

March 1st, 2012
Noble Flemming by CooperTeaMaster
Noble Flemming, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

Anyone who can go through life with the first name of “Noble” deserves respect. To go through life with “Fearnley Hutchinson Fleming” as your other names deservers more than respect it deserves awe!! To make life easier on the rest of us N.F.H. Fleming acquired the nickname “Toby” because of his love of “Toby Jugs”, those unique English drinking vessels. It stuck with him.

Toby was an awesome figure in my life and I dedicated my book to him and the influence he had in my life. He had a wonderful dry wit, and a gentlemanly demeanor but when required he had an eye that could freeze a waiter at sixty paces. He hired me in London in 1970 to come and join Lipton in the US. No sooner had I arrived then he suggest that I get my hair cut, as he gently put it “I don’t think you are a hippy Barry, so I don’t want you to look like one”…mind you , my hair barely touched the back of my collar…but I dutifully went off and had a haircut. He was a wonderful mentor, a skilled tea man and a gentle manager who lead his team of tea buyers with aplomb. My favorite story that I told many times was of a lazy, warm summers day. It was a Friday to be precise because that was the day that all of us tea buyers had to troop into Toby’s office, sit in a semi circle in front of his desk and discuss the buying orders we were about to send out to the various auction centers around the world. There were three of us…Richard, Tony, Me. Tony was discussing the orders he planned to place in the Cochin market when all of a sudden there came a gentle snore from Toby’s side of the desk. He had fallen asleep! Tony was at a loss and stopped talking and we just sat there waiting for the great man to awake. Toby had about a five minute nap then awoke with a slight start and without a moment’s hesitation said ” Quite So…yes…sounds good…whose next” It was my turn and without blinking an eye I gave my report and we all filed out.

Such style, such aplomb, such a character. He changed the world of tea and not many people can say that.

I flew over to Paris for Toby’s 90th birthday…and that is the picture above. Toby passed away this week.

I loved you Toby…I will miss you greatly.

A Holy Difference

December 25th, 2011
A Holy Difference by CooperTeaMaster
A Holy Difference, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

I have always believed you should never take life too seriously and when faced with a “downside moment” take the opportunity to laugh at life in general and the occasional ridiculousness of it all. Put another way…the glass is always half full….

I was raised in the highlands of Kenya, at 5,500 feet above sea level on the equator. Add those pieces of information together and you get the earths nearest point to the sun, a lot of sun, and a lot of time out in the sun.

Skin cancer comes in many forms…I was lucky to have a mild form…and the fact that it was near the end of my nose and the resulting pressure bandage make me look like Rudolph (I should have colored it red) is a chance to laugh at the other immaculate imagery of my bronze sculptor…..

Laugh at life and others will laugh with you…cry and you cry alone….

I am all for laughing ……but skin cancer is no laughing matter so if you have an unexplained bump or lump get it checked out……its worth the time even if you do end up looking like a lost reindeer….

A Delectable Treat

November 14th, 2011

I have received comments that my blogs are being missed….!  Well thank you kind readers…we shall resume, perhaps not as frequently as before but certainly more often than the last 6/ 9 months….!

So where to start?  In my world TASTE is EVERYTHING.  I make my living by tasting, and tea tasting is a passion for me, and the sensory joy of flavors and aromas literally “make my day”.

Thus I resume my blog with this extraordinary taste sensation. It was prepared in Naples, it was delicious, savory, aromatic, chewy yet fresh, laden with goodness and at this point I am beginning to feel hungry just describing the emotions I experienced consuming this dish.


You at least dear reader can enjoy the picture!!!!

A Delectable Treat by CooperTeaMaster
A Delectable Treat, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

5k Pajama Jog!

August 1st, 2011
5k Pajama Jog! by CooperTeaMaster
5k Pajama Jog!, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

Cooper Tea is teaming up to assist Sleep Tight Colorado and providing the participants with fresh Tropical Green Tea!
Sign Up Today because everyone deserves a warm nights sleep!

Visit www.sleeptightcolorado.com for more info!

Rob Carefull’s wonderfully sculpted bronze bust

July 28th, 2011

Here I am with the artist, creator & visionary behind the bronze which so stunningly sits next to me.

An immortal sculpture … good looking too

July 28th, 2011

A schoolboy friend, and by that I mean someone that I went to school with when I was 9 years old in Kenya, has taken up sculpting in his retirement.  Talents he certainly never showed at school have emerged!  A group of old school friends got together through the miracle of the web and over the past few years we have made sure that we meet up regularly.

This year Rob came to the Masters Golf tournament along with “the gang” and asked if he could do a bust in bronze of me.  I accepted!  (I mean how often does one get an offer like that?)  Much debate was then entered into among my friends as to whether the bronze should include my hat!  At first Rob was against the idea but he finally agreed that it probably was part of my persona.  Sculpting a hat in bronze is an art in itself it turns out.  The result of Robs labors were unveiled this week while Sandy and I were in England.  Admiration to the fellow who may capture my character...

The likeness is startling to me.  Rob has captured me in my opinion..and you can judge for yourself in these pictures….in the long and winding road that is one’s life, you just never know what the next corner will bring.  Thank you Rob, my heirs will know me, a rare gift to be able to pass on to generations yet unborn……..

...true to the way nature made me!

Entrepreneurs’ Commonality: Risk Taking

June 6th, 2011

Some have a vision of the future.
Entrepreneurs turn it into reality.

Do you sleep well at night?

Do any fears hold you back?

Would you rather be lucky or good?

It is of my opinion the above three questions guide entrepreneurs to successes of varying degrees.  In my following story I illustrate how.

In 2009 I won the  Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Rocky Mountain region. Me after a well rested night

It was my third appearance and I guess the third time is lucky!  I went on to the national finals and lost out to the foreign language self taught program, Rosetta Stone.  Not to worry, he was a worthy winner.  And this year I was asked to be a judge for the Rocky Mountain region, which has now been expanded to include a few  more western states.  I accepted the honor but little did I know how much work was going to be involved…

The first thing I received was a HUGE book containing all the background information of the contenders; newspaper, magazine & blog articles as well as company financial information!  And what a bunch they were…brilliant in their various endeavors and concepts, some large, some small companies - but all of them innovative, creative and “out there” in the world of risk.  Fascinating reading but time consuming and tiring holding onto the book that weighed about 8 lbs….Then  I was given a web site to view all the financial information which I then had to correlate with the various companies.  That involved a lot of back and forth and I began to feel like a new MBA who has been given the task of analyzing 60 or so companies for acquisition!  I could only  handle 6 or 7 at a time as after a while the numbers and the companies just started to meld together and become a jumble of facts.  So I broke up the work with days off in-between.

What became apparent as I read through all of these documents was the commonality of risk taking.

I suppose it is one of the basic premises of being an entrepreneur .  So I began to develop a series of questions for the actual interviews I was obliged to conduct, and my first question was :

WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?  I was not expecting indigestion to be an answer and nor was it .  It seemed that not much kept entrepreneurs up at night at all — unless it was an all night party.  Almost every answer to this question was greeted by a wry smile and a response along the lines of “NOT MUCH”…it seems that perennial risk takers sleep easy at night…and if you don’t then you will be unable to cope with the pressure that each morning brings - as you head back to your start up….

The next question  I chose to use was ‘WOULD YOU RATHER BE LUCKY OR GOOD?” because it is my experience that LUCK has a HUGE amount of impact on success or failure.  Its all timing and invention and concept but there has to be that moment of “good fortune” attached to it.  At least that has been my experience and I even have a mantra that goes along the lines of “ I would rather be lucky than good”.

So I was surprised when the majority of those I spoke to said that they would rather be good.  The only response I could have to that desire is “Good Luck!”

Then I looked at each company founder and executive that I had to, developed a series of independent questions related directly to their company - and without any reservation each individual knew his business.  Inside and Out!

So at the end of this entire process what did I learn?  I found that entrepreneurs come in different shapes and sizes and ages but ALL are passionate about their idea and what they do.  They were all are true believers and their tolerance for risk is off the charts.  To them risk is just as irrelevant as fear.  Show me fear..let me touch it.  You cant!!  Fear is inside  your head…it is not tangible…it is there - OK, but to an entrepreneur with a dream it is irrelevant.  They sleep well at night and some of them choose to be lucky.  The truth is in my opinion that they are all good at what they do…so choosing to be lucky as well is a “no brainer”….and finally, it is NOT about the money.  Money appears to be a way of “keeping score”  - it’s about taking your idea and making it a success in the market place…the rewards that come from that may include money (lots of it in fact) but to the entrepreneur that is not the most important feature.  To the Venture Capitalist its all about the money…but that’s another story.

So endeth this blog!