About Tony Gebely

Tony is the Executive Director of the American Specialty Tea Alliance which is a non-profit business association aimed at growing the specialty tea industry in America. Tony is also the founder of Tea Epicure, a global producer-focused tea assessment platform. Throughout his 13 years in tea, Tony has worked for many leading tea companies, helping them navigate the specialty tea sector. During this time he started the two-time World Tea Award winning website, World of Tea which has produced well-researched content on tea since 2009. Having traveled extensively through tea producing regions during his life in tea, and having a degree in Computer Science, he developed a pragmatic approach to tea which led him to write his 2016 treatise, Tea: A User’s Guide.

How to Prepare for Tea Masters Cup USA 2019

For an introduction to Tea Masters Cup, see our announcement page. The purpose of this article is to give potential contestants the information they need to express interest in participation and to prepare for the competition itself. How to Participate Tea Masters Cup (TMC) includes competitions in four categories: Tea Preparation, Tea Pairing, Tea Mixology and Tea Tasting. In its inaugural year in the United States, Tea Master's Cup USA will hold competitions in 2 of the four categories: Tea Preparation and Tea Mixology. The competition will take place within the World Tea Expo on June 11 and 12th. A detailed [...]

How to Prepare for Tea Masters Cup USA 20192019-04-08T06:52:47-05:00

Tea and Esophageal Cancer Risk

The following is a statement authored by the American Specialty Tea Alliance's Board of Directors. Last week, a study claiming that drinking hot tea may double the risk of esophageal cancer was published which set forth a wave of media activity claiming that drinking tea causes cancer. First, it is important to know that the cancer risk exists when consuming any hot beverage, such as coffee, soup, hot chocolate, etc., not just tea. And second, know that the key word here is "hot" -- the increased risk of esophageal cancer in the most recent study was only seen when tea was [...]

Tea and Esophageal Cancer Risk2019-03-28T09:15:09-05:00

Announcing Tea Masters Cup USA 2019

I am extremely excited to announce that the American Specialty Tea Alliance has partnered with the World Tea Expo to hold the first U.S. national qualifying round of the Tea Masters Cup at the expo this year in Las Vegas! World Tea Expo will take place June 11 – 13, 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the competition will take place June 11 – 12 on the expo floor. I think that the start of the Tea Masters Cup competitions in the United States is a landmark movement and we’re thrilled to bring this event to World Tea Expo [...]

Announcing Tea Masters Cup USA 20192019-02-19T06:19:40-05:00

2018 Tea Book Roundup

In this article, I cover 6 tea books that came out since our last roundup in late 2017. Overall, it was a strong year for quality tea books and we're continually seeing authors raising the bar and introducing new concepts and information to our industry. This is key, as there are no doubt a number of books each year that are just re-hashing the same information we've read in other books. What's your favorite addition to the tea library this year? The Life of Tea: A Journey to the World's Finest Teas by Michael Freeman and Timothy d'Offay This beautiful book [...]

2018 Tea Book Roundup2018-12-11T13:06:08-05:00

2018 Tea Outlook

A new year is upon us and the tea industry is rife with innovation, cheeky trends, and funky fads. We asked 11 tea folk from around the world what they see coming down the pike in 2018 -- here's what they had to say: Ms. Yu Lu Vice President of the China Chamber of Commerce of I&E of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA) “I think in 2018 there will be steady growth in export volume and value of tea in China. Regarding the increase in export volume, there are a few key figures that I can share. According to [...]

2018 Tea Outlook2018-05-15T08:40:31-05:00

2017 Tea Book Roundup

In this article, I cover 5 tea books that came out in 2017. Tea writers are raising the bar with each passing year and there are a few that came out in 2017 that will prove a valuable asset to your bookshelf. Three Basic Teas & How to Enjoy Them by Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace Virginia has been a longtime lecturer at the World Tea Expo on the topic of the Organoleptic Analysis of tea. Most recently, she taught in the Nutritional Science Division at Cornell University, focusing on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, disease, mind and memory. She's applied this knowledge to tea in this [...]

2017 Tea Book Roundup2018-05-15T08:40:31-05:00

The Artisan Specialty Teas of Sri Lanka

While in Sri Lanka this past August, I got an in-depth look at tea production throughout the country and happened upon some fantastic handmade teas. 95% of tea produced in Sri Lanka is Orthodox Black tea made by machine, but there is a growing number of artisan specialty tea producers in the country. If this artisan production is met with overseas demand, it's a sector of the Sri Lankan Tea industry that is sure to grow. In this article, I'll share with you my experiences sampling a selection of teas from Lumbini Tea Valley and Glenwood Reserve. Lumbini Tea Valley Chaminda [...]

The Artisan Specialty Teas of Sri Lanka2018-05-15T08:40:31-05:00

The Results are In: 2017 Tea Masters Cup Finals

The 2017 Tea Master's Cup Finals took place September 25-27 in Enshi, Hubei China. 29 participants from 13 countries competed in 4 categories: Tea Preparation, Tea Pairing, Tea Mixology and Tea Tasting. The competition took place within the 7th International Tea Forum run by the CFNA (China Chamber of Commerce for Import/Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products). The finals were judged by a panel of tea experts from around the world: Denis Shumakov from Russia, Tony Gebely (yours truly) from the USA, He Jie from China, Sharyn Johnston from Australia, Gabriella Lombardi from Italy, William Lee from Korea and [...]

The Results are In: 2017 Tea Masters Cup Finals2018-05-15T08:40:31-05:00

150 Years of Ceylon Tea

Our very own Tony Gebely traveled to Sri Lanka from August 6 - 14 to cover the 150th Anniversary of Ceylon Tea. As a guest of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, he was given unfettered access to the events in Colombo, many of the country’s tea estates, and the Sri Lanka Tea Research Institute. This post is the first in a series covering his tea adventures in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was a major producer of coffee in the 17-1800s until the island nation’s coffee industry was completely wiped out by a disease known as coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix). The [...]

150 Years of Ceylon Tea2019-04-10T06:40:08-05:00

Hands On: The Teforia Leaf

** Update: Teforia has closed its doors for good. See their website for the full statement. What follows is our original assessment of their second product, the Teforia Leaf. My first experience with Teforia was a visit to founder, Allen Han's workshop in 2015 where he showed me a prototype unit. As skeptical as I was, I gave Allen 5 grams of my favorite tea at the time, a Meizhan black tea I had sourced from Fujian Province. I had only been able to get two gaiwan steepings out of a 5 gram serving of this tea. Allen loaded the tea into his unit's infusion [...]

Hands On: The Teforia Leaf2018-05-15T08:40:32-05:00

List of Tea Producing Countries in the World

Being World of Tea, we have identified the following list of 62 tea producing countries across the globe. This is as complete a list as we've been able to make. To be included, a country must have at least one functioning commercial tea plantation or have been represented in the press about a tea growing operation. Argentina Argentina is the tenth largest producer of tea in the world and the largest tea producer in South America. Australia Tea has been grown in Queensland, Australia since 1884. Today, there are a number of commercial gardens in the states of Queensland, New South [...]

List of Tea Producing Countries in the World2018-05-15T08:40:32-05:00

Where Tea is Grown

We have identified the following list of 61 tea producing countries across the globe. To be included, a country must have at least one functioning commercial tea plantation. Argentina Argentina is the tenth largest producer of tea in the world and the largest tea producer in South America. Australia Tea has been grown in Queensland, Australia since 1884. Today, there are a few small gardens remaining in Queensland as well as a commercial producer of Japanese-style green tea in Victoria. Azerbaijan Azerbaijan is the fortieth largest producer of tea in the world. Bangladesh Bangladesh is the twelfth largest producer of tea [...]

Where Tea is Grown2018-06-10T17:20:45-05:00

Exploring the Teas of Sichuan and Fujian with Jeff Kovac

Jeff Kovac is an instructor and lecturer for the Tea Association of Canada and owner of Four Seasons Tea Co. His tea life began while he was working in Sichuan Province. He studied tea there under tea arts master Lu Xing Chen. Jeff has gained unparalleled access to some of the highest grades of tea from China's Sichuan and Fujian Provinces. Teas of this quality are rarely found in the West. Because of the rarity of these teas that are often quickly snatched up by wealthy locals, Jeff sells most of his collection in small 5-10g packets to keep them affordable. [...]

Exploring the Teas of Sichuan and Fujian with Jeff Kovac2018-05-15T08:40:32-05:00

Satemwa, an Orthodox Tea Producing Estate in Malawi

Satemwa is a family-run tea and coffee estate located in the southern portion of Malawi in East Africa. The estate was founded in 1923 by a Scotsman named Maclean Kay. The garden is now run by his grandson, Alexander Kay. Satemwa is one of the last family-owned tea estates in the region, as most have been purchased by huge companies looking to produce commodity tea. I recently had a chance to try many of the beautiful teas that are produced at Satemwa and speak with Wouter Verelst who heads up Marketing & Business Development for the estate. Here are some highlights from our conversation: When [...]

Satemwa, an Orthodox Tea Producing Estate in Malawi2018-05-15T08:40:32-05:00

The Moonlit Tea Garden: A Conversation with the Founders of Jun Chiyabari

Jun Chiyabari is one of the most recognized names in Nepal's tea industry. The high mountain tea garden was started by two brothers, Lochan and Bachan Gyawali. I've been enjoying teas from their garden since 2010 and they just keep getting better with each passing year. It would be a mistake to compare their teas to those from Darjeeling -- Jun Chiyabari is truly in a league of it's own. Recently I spoke at length with Bachan and Lochan about their garden, how they got started, their tea making philosophy and what the future holds for Jun Chiyabari. Enjoy! How did [...]

The Moonlit Tea Garden: A Conversation with the Founders of Jun Chiyabari2018-05-15T08:40:32-05:00

Bristol Chai Coming to Montreal in April

The foursome behind the Montreal-based Camellia Sinensis-- Kevin Gascoyne, Jasmin Desharnais, François Marchand, and Hugo Américi, are brewing up a new venture with Gabriel Svaldi centered on masala tea. Svaldi previously worked at Camellia Sinensis for many years as tea house manager. The shop will feature a 12-seat bar serving 5 styles of masala tea slow-simmered in large copper pots and house-made pastries. Bristol Chai aims to be an alternative to the coffee shop take-out experience. From their Facebook Page (translated from French): "At Bristol Chai, we have no other purpose than to serve you chai according to tradition, but it [...]

Bristol Chai Coming to Montreal in April2018-05-15T08:40:32-05:00

La Colombe Coffee Announces Retail Tea Program

La Colombe is a specialty coffee roaster and retail chain founded by Todd Carmichael and JP Iberti in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the time of this writing, there were 22 locations across the United States. You may recognize this name from the TV show Dangerous Grounds which aired on The Travel Channel wherein Carmichael travels to remote, often dangerous regions in the world searching for great coffee. Carmichael also holds the world record for the fastest solo journey across Antarctica to the South Pole, a 700 mile journey he completed in 39 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes. La Calombe tapped Alexis Siemons, [...]

La Colombe Coffee Announces Retail Tea Program2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

American Tea Room Reopens Beverly Hills Location

After a 15 month hiatus, American Tea Room's original Beverly Hills outpost is open for business. The 14 year old tea business owned and operated by David Barenholtz now has 3 locations, one in Downtown Los Angeles, one in Newport Beach's Fashion Island, and the original location in Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hills location reopens with the addition of coffee and juice service and is pursuing a liquor license to serve wine and beer, but the bulk of the floorspace is dedicated to retail.   Barenholtz "experienced a number of difficulties during the Beverly Hills renovation, going through 3 designs and the [...]

American Tea Room Reopens Beverly Hills Location2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

Vahdam Tea Raises $650K for Development, Expansion

Indian tea brand, Vahdam Tea has raised $650,000 USD from Angel Investors. The company is owned by 4th generation tea entrepreneur, Bala Sarda and shipped 15,000kg of tea in 2016. Vahdam prides itself in it's procurement if fresh tea sourced within 24-72 hours of production and shipped directly from India to customers around the world. Vahdam is set to go head to head with competitor, Teabox. "Vahdam Teas has raised USD 650,000 from a clutch of eminent angel investors including Kanwaljit Singh's Fireside Ventures, Mumbai Angels, Singapore Angel Network, Ananda Ladsariya, Ajay Pandey," the company said in a statement. Vahdam Teas said [...]

Vahdam Tea Raises $650K for Development, Expansion2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

Tea Tastes in 2017: A Forecast

A new year is upon us and the tea industry is rife with innovation, cheeky trends, and funky fads. We asked 7 tea folk from around the world what they see coming down the pike in 2017 -- here's what they had to say: Henrietta Lovell Owner, Rare Tea Company “I see a significant trend for 2017 and beyond in the rise of the conscious consumer. People have, for some time now, started to wonder what lies beyond the industrial bag. But real change is starting to happen as customers – especially online where they expect clear, transparent company information – [...]

Tea Tastes in 2017: A Forecast2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

2016 Tea Book Roundup

In this article, I cover 6 tea books that came out in 2016. Tea writers are raising the bar with each passing year and there are a few (including my own) that came out in 2016 that will prove a valuable asset to your bookshelf (or kindle). Tea-Spiration: Inspirational Words for Tea Lovers by Lu Ann Pannunzio Written by fellow tea-nerd and blogger at The Cup of Life, Lu Ann Pannunzio, Tea-spiration is a 135 page beautifully illustrated and designed walk through Lu Ann's rituals surrounding tea. Pannunzio guides the reader though the many emotions that can be evoked by the tea experience using her own experiences as [...]

2016 Tea Book Roundup2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

Available Now — Tea: A User’s Guide

The day has finally come, my book Tea: A User’s Guide is now available! The work is a result of my 10 years as a student of tea. As you may know, tea is one of those subjects where the more you learn, the less you realize you know. Because of this, I vowed not to write this tea book in a vacuum. Rather, core ideas were shared here on World of Tea along the way and you, the readers, helped me refine them. Finer points were scrutinized offline thru extensive peer review. Because of this, I can safely say that [...]

Available Now — Tea: A User’s Guide2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

Guide to Good Tea in the Bay Area

You may not be aware, but the Bay Area is a hotbed of tea culture, nowhere else in the states can seem to support such a slew of high-end tea shops. What set the stage for such a great tea-scene? Well nearly a quarter of people in the Bay Area are of Asian descent and in the 1990s, David Lee Hoffman and Roy Fong began importing Chinese teas, the likes of which Americans hadn't seen. Since then, specialty tea has spread across the United States but the Bay Area still has the largest collection of high-end tea shops. Let's dig into [...]

Guide to Good Tea in the Bay Area2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

The Official 2017 Tea Festival and Trade Show Schedule

There are a growing number of tea festivals, industry trade shows and conferences around the world. This list is an attempt to capture them all and it will be updated as more dates are released. If we have omitted an event that you are aware of, please reach out to us and we will add it to the list. Which ones are you going to? Be sure to chime in the comments below! January January 12-14: Bangladesh Tea Expo in Dhaka, Bangladesh January 21-22: Tea Festival India in Bangalore, India January 28-29: Toronto Tea Festival in Toronto, Canada February February 25-26: Southwest Tea Fest [...]

The Official 2017 Tea Festival and Trade Show Schedule2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

Becoming Wu De: A Conversation with the founder of Global Tea Hut

Aaron Fisher was born and raised in Ohio in the United States. He studied Asian Philosophy and Anthropology in college. During his freshman year, he got into tea and meditation. After college, Aaron moved to Asia where he has resided for 20 years now. He has written several books on tea. He founded Global Tea Hut, a successful print magazine that ships with a new sample of tea each month that he and his team has sourced and the Tea Sage Hut, a free center in Taiwan that has been providing free tea education and meditation lessons for the past 6 years. [...]

Becoming Wu De: A Conversation with the founder of Global Tea Hut2018-05-15T08:40:33-05:00

Zhang Ping Shui Xian Production in Photos

Zhang Ping Shui Xian (漳平水仙) refers to a style of compressed oolong made from the Shui Xian cultivar of Camellia sinensis. The tea is produced in Zhang Ping, Fujian Province. Below is a gallery that outlines the production of this tea style in photos. Thanks to Chenggui Wang (王城贵)for providing these photos. Click any of the images below to open the gallery view.

Zhang Ping Shui Xian Production in Photos2018-05-15T08:40:34-05:00

Badass Tea Instagrammers of Russia, Latvia, and Belarus

This post features some of the coolest folks I've discovered on Instagram from Russia, Latvia and Belarus. Enjoy! https://www.instagram.com/p/7vi7Lqw-CR/ https://www.instagram.com/p/5HfzoLsv_H/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BBmkNojMv8A/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BAmDr9PMv5M/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BAUbI_jl-Vf/ https://www.instagram.com/p/oOHM9el-e2/ https://www.instagram.com/p/7Nqtm_DCFM/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BBvKI8wl2ko/ https://www.instagram.com/p/66-gi0DCDA/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BBUl2pwLwwd/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BBPmKeHLw3K/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BBryLmMw-N2/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BAhRxX8rw1k/ https://www.instagram.com/p/_4uN-vHaok/ https://www.instagram.com/p/zUIRkKHag3/ https://www.instagram.com/p/8SZ39-naum/ https://www.instagram.com/p/73G37IiLJM/ https://www.instagram.com/p/5MmCXBQ-MX/ https://www.instagram.com/p/_9ZNubCLDm/ https://www.instagram.com/p/mpVz-7iLCP/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BBrzJLMnPIa/ https://www.instagram.com/p/9T3qBuRJOk/ https://www.instagram.com/p/4_nrJONmtK/ https://www.instagram.com/p/47QeYww-Pi/ https://www.instagram.com/p/3VhQVsp4AA/

Badass Tea Instagrammers of Russia, Latvia, and Belarus2018-05-15T08:40:34-05:00

Tea Masters Cup: An Exposé

Tea preparation in Russia and several countries in Eastern Europe is sophisticated. Tea there is treated as more of a craft much like third-wave coffee is being treated in the United States. It's amazing to see how tea culture has progressed in a different way than it has in the United States. One great example of this progression can be found within an organization called Tea Masters Cup. I’ve been following the organization for several months now, speaking to it’s organizers and to winners of the cup. Tea Master's Cup has been occurring yearly since the first event in Moscow in 2013. The growing event draws large crowds, sometimes [...]

Tea Masters Cup: An Exposé2018-05-15T08:40:34-05:00

2016 Tea Festival and Trade Show Schedule

January January 30-31: Toronto Tea Festival in Toronto, Canada   February February 14: Tea Lover's Festival in Los Angeles, California (USA) February 20-21: Houston Tea Festival in Houston, Texas (USA) February 27: Southwest Tea Fest in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA) March March 1-3: Russia Coffee and Tea Industry Event in Moscow, Russia March 10-13: Thailand Coffee Tea & Drinks in Bangkok, Thailand March 17: Tea Masters Cup in Riga, Latvia March 19-20: Coffee and Tea Festival NYC in New York City, New York (USA) April April 5-7: Global Dubai Tea Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates  May May 7: Midwest Tea Festival in Kansas City, Missouri (USA) May 10-12: [...]

2016 Tea Festival and Trade Show Schedule2018-05-15T08:40:35-05:00

2015 Tea Book Roundup

In this article, I cover 9 tea books that came out in 2015. Tea writers are raising the bar with each passing year and there are a few that came out in 2015 that will prove a valuable asset to your bookshelf (or kindle). Hopefully my own book will be in this list next year.  The Art and Craft of Tea: An Enthusiast's Guide to Selecting, Brewing, and Serving Exquisite Tea by Joseph Wesley Uhl This book, authored by the man behind Joseph Wesley Black Tea, an online tea shop out of Detroit is one of the shining stars of 2015. The [...]

2015 Tea Book Roundup2018-05-15T08:40:35-05:00

Is the Rooibos Supply Really Threatened?

Rooibos is a tisane made from the oxidized leaves of the Aspalathus linearus plant. The plant is native to South Africa and rooibos production is protected by a Geographical Indication. The Geographical Indication states that rooibos must come from the Western Cape's Cederberg region in a 20,000 square kilometer production area. Rooibos is a hardy dry land crop and is grown without irrigation, thus crop yield is directly correlated to rainfall amounts. The plant's main survival mechanism during extended periods of drought is it's large tap root that can reach down 3m into the soil. South Africa is currently seeing a [...]

Is the Rooibos Supply Really Threatened?2018-05-15T08:40:35-05:00

Tom Clemente Named President of Smith Teamaker

Smith Teamaker names a new president following the death of Steven Smith in March of 2015. Today the company announced that Tom Clemente is joining the company as President. Clemente arrives as Smith prepares to open the doors to its new Portland headquarters and tasting room in SE Portland on December 2, 2015. Clemente is no stranger to tea, having led the sales organization at Tazo Tea after its acquisition by Starbucks. At Tazo, Clemente met and worked alongside Steven Smith and other future members of the Smith leadership team. Prior to Tazo, he worked on the successful launch of Starbucks packaged coffee [...]

Tom Clemente Named President of Smith Teamaker2018-05-15T08:40:35-05:00

The Definitive Guide to Tea Cocktails

The following is an interview I conducted with my good friend, Tyler Fry. Tyler is a bartender at Chicago's famed "The Violet Hour." The bar was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation's 2015 award for Outstanding Bar Program. In this article, Tyler shares with us his knowledge surrounding tea cocktails. Is there any history to using tea in cocktails? Absolutely! There certainly is old, historical precedent for tea in booze and mixed drinks, dating as far back as 1727. While we don't necessarily see tea in old cocktails or being used in the mixological sense that we think of today, tea [...]

The Definitive Guide to Tea Cocktails2018-05-15T08:40:35-05:00

World Tea Expo 2015 Highlights

World Tea Expo here in Long Beach has been a blast! From the moment James Norwood Pratt cut the ribbon, it's been an action packed expo. There were a few stand-out exhibitors and sessions that are worth mentioning but the best part about these events is being together with thousands of fellow tea-lovers. I cover some of my favorite things from the expo below. To see more photos and happenings, check out my Instagram feed. The Need for Standards in Specialty Tea A much anticipated panel moderated by Austin Hodge starring Dan Bolton, Kevin Gascoyne, Jennifer English, Elyse Petersen, and Anshuman Kanoria. [...]

World Tea Expo 2015 Highlights2018-05-15T08:40:36-05:00

How We Used Tea in Our Wedding Ceremony

Because tea is what brought Katie and I together, we thought we'd use it in our wedding ceremony. Let me explain first how tea brought us together because some people seem to think this kind of thing just doesn't happen. Geoffrey Norman aka "Lazy Literatus" has a "standing 'scientific' theory that tea and dating don't blend." I asked him what he thought of our relationship and he said that it "seems to exist in stubborn defiance of my theory" and that Katie and I must have "sold our souls to Guan Yin... or something equally plausible." All joking aside, Katie was working on [...]

How We Used Tea in Our Wedding Ceremony2018-05-15T08:40:36-05:00

Fermented Tea Classification

Fermented Teas China Hunan Heicha 湖南 黑茶 Fu Zhuan 茯砖  “Fu Brick” Hua Juan Cha 花卷茶 Qian Liang Cha 千两茶 “Thousand Tael Tea” Bai Liang Cha 百两茶 “Hundred Tael Tea” Shi Liang Cha 十两茶 “Ten Tael Tea” Hua Zhuan 花砖 “Flower Brick” Hei Zhuan 黑砖 "Dark Brick" Xiang Jian 湘尖 “Hunan Tips” Tian Jian 天尖 “Heaven Tips” Gong Jian 贡尖 "Tribute Tips" Sheng Jian 生尖 "Raw Tips" Qu Jiangbo Pian 渠江薄片 "Qu Jiang Thin Slice" (coin-shaped tea) Sichuan Heicha 四川 黑茶 Nan Lu Bian Cha 南路边茶 “South Border Tea” Xi Lu Bian Cha 西路边茶 “West Border Tea” Kang Zhuan 康砖 “Kang Brick” literally [...]

Fermented Tea Classification2018-05-15T08:40:36-05:00

The United States League of Tea Growers

The United States League of Tea Growers had it's founding meeting on June 8, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the World Tea Expo. The meeting was attended by several tea growers and many influential people in the tea industry. Nigel Melican and Jason McDonald headed up the meeting in hopes to get a group together for: Building up plant husbandry knowledge Developing best practice processing know-how Developing appropriate automation Product and process innovation Trials related to US conditions Access to cultivars specific to US requirements Generic promotion of US grown teas Collaboration and information sharing Access to information resources Development [...]

The United States League of Tea Growers2018-05-15T08:40:36-05:00

Tea in Michigan

Katie and I were attending a wedding in Traverse City, Michigan last fall and while heading to Sleeping Bear Dunes, we made an awesome discovery. We happened upon a small tea shop called "Light of Day Organics" - we were surprised to learn that the owner, Angela Macke not only grows 240 different ingredients for her tea blends, but also has been growing Camellia sinensis since 2005! We were able to see the several varieties plants that she had in the greenhouse adjacent to her tea shop, unfortunately we did not have enough time to see her plants in the ground that have [...]

Tea in Michigan2018-05-15T08:40:36-05:00

British Tea Culture

British Tea Culture, we all know it exists, we all know it's important, but what exactly does it mean? I set out to figure this out by interviewing over 110 people from the United Kingdom about their tea habits. I wanted to see what makes their tea culture unique across all social classes. I deliberately did not ask tea connoisseurs, for we know that the "connoisseur crowd" is a common stripe among all tea cultures. Assumptions made: British Tea is a black tea, mostly a blended black tea. Teas blends are commonly made up of teas from India (Assam), Sri Lanka, or East Africa. The following [...]

British Tea Culture2018-05-15T08:40:36-05:00

Tasting Tea: Taking it Deeper than “Vegetal”

One way that people describe green teas (not just green teas, just using it as an example) is by using the word "vegetal" -- meaning that the taste reminds them of the taste of vegetables. One quick tip to take your tea appreciation to another level is to see if you can figure out which vegetable it reminds you of. Use this as a guide to help you find the exact vegetable: Does it smell/taste like a leafy green? Spinach Kale Chard Lettuce Does it smell/taste like grass? Fresh Cut Grass Dry Hay Does it smell/taste like a root vegetable? Carrot [...]

Tasting Tea: Taking it Deeper than “Vegetal”2018-05-15T08:40:36-05:00

Tea Business Model: Buying Directly From a Tea Producer

As the tea scene explodes in America, we’re seeing many different business models, both on the wholesale side and on the retail side. One that I find particularly interesting is the small but growing trend of tea farms selling directly to American consumers, whether shipping directly from the farm or by shipping to the states for later distribution. I sat down with Chicco Chou of Mountain Tea to learn more about this business model. Chicco was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1987, his family owns 3 tea farms totaling 600 acres in Taiwan, China and Indonesia. His two uncles Zhi Xing [...]

Tea Business Model: Buying Directly From a Tea Producer2018-05-15T08:40:36-05:00

Guide to Tea in Chicago

The Chicago tea scene is blowing up. If you are visiting Chicago and are super into tea, please make it a point to visit these Chicago tea shops: Easthill Tea Company (Bucktown) This tasting toom in the Bucktown neighborhood offers tea tastings (reservation only), Chinese style tea preparation and a number of prepared to-go beverages. If you are looking for a traditional tea service mixed with a modern cafe vibe, this is your place. Visit their website. Todd and Holland (Forest Park) This family-run shop in Forest Park (easy to get there from Downtown via blue or green line El trains) [...]

Guide to Tea in Chicago2019-04-01T06:59:46-05:00

Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong

Etymology: “Tieguanyin” translates to “Iron Guanyin,” Guanyin being the “Goddess of Mercy” Other Names: Iron Goddess of Mercy, Ti Kuan Yin, Ti Kwan Yin Origin: China, Fujian Province, Anxi County Taste: Overwhelmingly floral and slightly vegetal. Behind the Leaf: This tea is named after the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara ("Guan Yin" in Mandarin), also known as the "Iron Goddess of Mercy." Tie Guan Yin was first used only as a tribute tea to the Royal Court. The tea leaves from Anxi County are known for their overwhelming floral fragrance and are harvested from a Camellia Sinensis cultivar named Tie Guan Yin. They are [...]

Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong2018-05-15T08:40:37-05:00

Describing Muscatel

Muscatel is an elusive taste found in some Darjeeling teas, most likely second flush teas. It is very hard to describe the taste in words, but it is easy to recognize the taste once you are familiar with it. James Norwood Pratt goes as far as saying that in tea, muscatel "denotes a unique muscat-like fruitiness in aroma and flavour." Rajiv Lochan, owner of several tea gardens in India and CEO of Lochan Tea Ltd remarked that muscatel is "very difficult to describe but it is something extraordinary and rare." I asked my tea friends how they would describe this elusive taste [...]

Describing Muscatel2018-05-15T08:40:37-05:00

How to Start an Online Tea Business

I get questions from people that are in the early stages of launching an online tea business several times each week. Many of the questions are the same, surrounding the topics of technology, marketing, sourcing, law, and overall strategy. Thus, I’ve put together my best thinking on these topics in ebook form. Best of all, it’s available for free below. Download "How to Start an Online Tea Business (PDF) Who am I? I’ve been working in the tea industry for over 10 years now. For three of those years, I ran my own online tea company, Chicago Tea Garden. Since then, [...]

How to Start an Online Tea Business2018-10-05T09:16:39-05:00

An Homage to Chicago Tea Garden

This is more of a bit of disconnected ramblings that I needed to get out since deciding to close down my company, Chicago Tea Garden. Hopefully you find what I've learned useful. Seven years ago I left the United States to spend a month abroad in China. While in China, I learned about the rich tea culture there as I traveled from city to city. This was when my interest for tea began. Upon my return home, I purchased a cubic-meter crate full of Yixing pots and sold them through the coffee shop I was working at during college. I studied the Gong [...]

An Homage to Chicago Tea Garden2018-05-15T08:40:37-05:00

Kill-Green in Tea Production

Have you ever wondered why Japanese green teas are so green? And why Chinese green teas are not as bright green, but are typically yellower? The reason lies in the processing steps for each tea and in particular the "kill-green" step of the processing some tea types.  The term kill-green is derived from the Mandarin shaqing (杀青), which means "killing the green." Kill-green is also referred to as “de-enzyming” or “fixing” and is a process of tea manufacture used to halt the oxidative browning of tea leaves by denaturing the enzymes responsible for oxidation--  polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase. Think of an [...]

Kill-Green in Tea Production2018-05-15T08:40:37-05:00

What is Green Tea?

The definition of green tea in it's simplest and most generalized form is a tea that is made up of leaves that were prevented from oxidizing, shaped and then dried. However, green teas are not unoxidized. No tea is truly unoxidized because tea leaves begin to slowly wither and oxidize the moment they are plucked, something that is unavoidable since hours may elapse from the time of picking to the time of processing. So let's draw a line here and speak only of controlled processes.  The most prevalent form of green tea production involves heating the leaves shortly after plucking (some green [...]

What is Green Tea?2018-05-15T08:40:37-05:00

Chicago Tea Tasting

Had a great tea tasting for my company, Chicago Tea Garden in January. If you live in the Chicago area and would like to attend a tasting, please signup here. Thanks to Flickr user faraocious for taking these awesome photos! view the whole set by foraocious here.

Chicago Tea Tasting2018-05-15T08:40:37-05:00
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