What's in a Name?

Adagio is Italian for slow. In the world of music, it connotes a tranquil, slow tempo. In a classical symphony, the movement market 'adagio' is the one played softer, more somber than others.

Why choose this name for a tea company? Simple. We felt it would perfectly capture the feeling we hoped our teas would evoke. An oasis of quiet and tranquility in an otherwise hurried, sped up world.

It didn't hurt also that Yahoo, the most popular search engine in 1999, the year of our launch, ranked entries alphabetically. And a company whose name began with an "A" would have a more prominent placement than an equally effective, but alphabetically-challenged "Zen Teas."

Once the name and theme were selected, all the other elements fell naturally in place. And so, many of our teas received musical names. Acquiring melodic names like Assam Harmony and Keemun Concerto. In many instances, the names are allegorical. For example, Moonlight Gyokuro refers to the shading process under which this tea is produced, where tea leaves are carefully protected from sunlight. And Li Zi Nutcracker is a play on this tea's Chinese name, a reference to its distinctly nutty flavor.

The musical theme is echoed in other aspect of what we do. It is reflected in the labels that appear on all our teas. And many of the images used to animate and enliven our online pages.

The latest incarnation of the adagio theme we chose to animate our company is our upcoming CD catalog. For a long time we resisted publishing a paper catalog. We couldn't see a natural fit with the other aspects of our communications. Until we hit upon a novel notion - the catalog will reside in the liner notes of a music disc. A disc containing - what else- adagio compositions.

Selecting the ten adagio pieces to include was perhaps the most difficult part. On the one hand, we wanted pieces that were accessible to all, not requiring a degree from Julliard to appreciate. On the other, we wanted to include works whose appreciation would grow with time. Something beyond the stuff of television commercials and matinee movies. I hope we have achieved this balance. The ten pieces that made the cut are:

Some are easily recognizable. Others are performed less often. One in particular had grown to become my favorite. And I have heard it for the first time as part of this selection process.

The other selection process concerned the list of products to include in the catalog. I am happy to say that virtually all our products are represented. More items could have been squeezed in, but we were adamant about the liner notes fulfilling their original purpose - enhancing the music's enjoyment. And so, in addition to containing info about the many products we offer, the liner notes also convey information about all the composers. Fascinating bits about their lives we hope you'll find interesting. Hopefully, enhancing your appreciation of the beautiful sounds you'll hear on this disc.

This project is nearing completion, and the catalog CD will be available later this month. We'll gladly email you to announce its arrival. In the meantime, we invite you to listen to bits of the music to appear on the adagio disc. We hope you may enjoy it.

A question we often get is, given the company's name and its musical-theme, what are the musical backgrounds of the people who work at Adagio? And how many collective years of training have you had? The sad answer to these questions is none. While we all possess a passion for music (the office is rarely quiet) the truth is that no one here can claim to play an instrument with any degree of skill. Or carry a tune that may cause others will stop and listen. Our shower curtains and pets are the lone witnesses to our talents.

But that's the point, isn't it? It is absolutely not necessary for us to be professional, or even serious musicians in order to appreciate beautiful music. The music of Mozart and Bach speak to us all. And we all are able to enjoy it. Appreciate it on different levels, sure, but still truly enjoy it.

The same I hope may be said for tea. Its gourmet taste and aroma speak viscerally to us all. An appreciation of tea requires no diploma or years of higher learning. Only a bit of time to let the water boil. The leaves steep. And a sprinkle of tranquility to enjoy it all. In other words, a chance to discover a bit of adagio in all of us. What a great word! Let's name a company after it.