In 2004, Yankees player Derek Jeter was in a historic slump. What 2004 was to Derek Jeter, March of 2022 was to us. We were in a tea slump—bored of our usual teas, unwilling to branch out, we were uninspired. Then, one fateful April 12, everything changed.
Rachel looked at Melissa, or Melissa looked at Rachel—you know how details tend to get lost in historic events such as these—and said, “What if we made a tea Instagram?” Immediately, the other person—Rachel or Melissa, depending on who you ask—was sold. And so, @sukleinteajourney was born. The purpose of the account: try every tea in the dining hall and rate them.
At first, the account was merely for our own entertainment. We followed a few close friends and posted some not so serious reviews. Within days, the account picked up speed. We started following more and more people and gaining follow backs. The tea company Bigelow started commenting on our posts. We started keeping track of steep time in an attempt to be extra fair in our reviews.
People began approaching us, asking to review their favorite teas. We started featuring guest reviewers, the most recent of whom being Kate Nicholson of BeWell Bowdoin. We started planning out which teas we wanted to try on particular days. We were drinking more tea than water!
In short, what had started out as an ironic Instagram account that we weren’t sure if we were going to continue, became a big part of our lives. Currently, we try to post most days and schedule at least a couple guest reviewers a week.
As our account began to gain more traction, we started getting creative with our posts. Instead of alternating taking pictures of each other, we started to take pictures of each other at the same time. This turned into even getting a third party to photograph our live reactions. When one of us got Covid-19, we were forced to think outside of the box. During quarantine, we taste-tested teas over FaceTime and reviewed teas while being socially distanced. Quarantine allowed us to have a lot of fun with our posts and brainstorm ideas for the future of our account.
While we are not sure how long we will continue to post daily, for the time being it has been fun to have a project to look forward to every day. It has introduced us to new people and connected us with people we already knew. We didn’t expect people to be so excited about the account. At least a couple of times a day, people will come up to us with questions or opinions on our latest posts.
This tea account has unexpectedly blossomed into something that we could have never anticipated. It has become a big part of our lives, and how we interact with other students on campus. For now, it has been fun to have something as wholesome and fun as tea connecting us to the rest of the community.
Our advice to you: if you have been thinking about creating a beverage-rating Instagram account, but aren’t sure if you want to (a situation we are sure that many of you are in), do it. We can’t speak for @sophnsadiedrinkseltz—another Bowdoin based beverage review Instagram account—but for us, it has been a great experience.
Rachel Klein and Melissa Su are members of the Class of 2024.