Tokyo: The 10 Essential Places for Tea

This hardly needs stating, but even so: Tokyo is a city like no other. The sheer density of food and drink around every corner, in every alleyway, and under every bridge is purely insane. I mean, how does a cafe with 12 seats, on the 8th floor of a gigantic department store stay alive? Moreover, how do people even know about it? The cuisine, in some small part, and the culture, in large part, are influenced by the Japanese Tea Ceremony, known as sado or chado, the practice of which is called chanoyu. Tea saturates Japan, and this intrinsic relationship can be felt from the [...]

Tokyo: The 10 Essential Places for Tea 2018-11-07T20:33:21+00:00

Huajuchen: The Largest Tea Festivals in the World

The Huajuchen Tea Expos. Perhaps you've heard of it, or even been to one. Or perhaps, what's likely if you don't speak Chinese, you've never heard of it at all. Yet, it's the largest network of tea festivals in the world and naturally, they're in China. China is a big country with a lot of people and is responsible for the production of the world's most cotton, the top two largest beer brands in the world (shockingly), and of course, the most tea in the world. It then shouldn't come as a surprise that they host the world's largest tea festivals, fairs, and exhibitions, most of [...]

Huajuchen: The Largest Tea Festivals in the World 2018-06-07T22:05:18+00:00

Into the Cloud Forest: Finding a New Specialty Tea Origin in Colombia

ARRIVAL Sitting on the plane, having made my way from Los Angeles to Miami and now to Santiago de Cali, Colombia, it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually met anyone who’d been to this place. I’ve known a few people that have traveled to Colombia, sure, but had I met anyone who’d been to a secluded, shrouded-in-clouds mountaintop tea estate? Not even Brian Keating, of tea consulting company Sage Group, had been there, and he helped organize the trip. I was an American meeting a contact in Colombia, who would take me into a tropical cloud forest to discuss the [...]

Into the Cloud Forest: Finding a New Specialty Tea Origin in Colombia 2018-06-10T11:05:04+00:00

Tea Tasting at Bitaco

This is an expanded section of a larger article detailing tea growing in Colombia and my travels there. You can read the full article here. At a conference table in Bitaco's processing facility, I sat down to do a full cupping of all of their teas. Mind you, I don't find myself in a subtropical cloud forest tea tasting very often, so I was eager to warm up my palate and taste what I had been experiencing this whole trip. They, on the other hand, have to do this every day to test batches they’ve just worked on, benchmarking quality as they [...]

Tea Tasting at Bitaco 2018-06-10T17:07:06+00:00

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 Outlook 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

Tea for the New Year: A Brief History

In Japan, the mid-seasons are the most popular and lively of the year. Spring is marked by the sakura cherry blossom viewings during which everyone joins together to enjoy the gentle autumn breeze under one of the beautifully blooming trees. Every year, autumn brings people together to admire the reddening of the maple trees. For as long as we humans are a part of nature, the natural cycle of our environment plays a significant role in how we live our lives. This, for example, determines the timing of when we plant seeds and harvest and when certain foods become available. The [...]

Tea for the New Year: A Brief History 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

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 Lanka 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

A Day on the Road with the Spirit of Tea Tour

The Spirit of Tea Tour officially began this last Thursday, September 28. Unceremoniously, but with excitement and vigor, Spirit Tea conducted their Tea Dialing-In Workshop and later hosted a Matcha Latte Art Throwdown. I attended both and can gladly report that at least someone is talking about tea properly. Workshop I arrived at Steelhead Coffee in Long Beach, California that Thursday afternoon and was greeted by Taylor Cowan and Jordan Scherer, co-founders of Spirit Tea. These guys are huggers, so after a warm few affectionate squeezes, we jumped into talking about the teas they were going to test out that day. [...]

A Day on the Road with the Spirit of Tea Tour 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

Meet the World’s Only Triple-Threat Tea Company

There I was, attending a swank cocktail party hosted by Brew Dr. Kombucha in West Hollywood on a hot July day, sipping on a “Marty Robbins” cocktail, talking to Marty Wall about the tea industry, kombucha, and spirits. The “Marty Robbins” is made with mint, lemon, Mint Lemonade Kombucha, and Tea Spirit No. 2 and is deliciously sweet. Marty Wall is a seven-foot tall, spectacled man who’s the Executive VP of Business Development for Brew Dr. Kombucha, and happens to also be sweet. Marty and I chat about the tea and coffee industry and commiserate at how difficult burgeoning products and [...]

Meet the World’s Only Triple-Threat Tea Company 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

The Spirit of Tea Tour by Spirit Tea & Marco

Tea Geeks, heads up! Coffee lovers seem to get special events every week. Festivals, tastings, competitions… Now we have a tea event especially devoted to the tea geek within: Spirit Tea and Marco’s upcoming series of events across the Nation, The Spirit of Tea Tour. Chicago-based Spirit Tea is teaming up with the beverage tech company Marco and traveling West through Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, and Seattle to engage the community with an educational tea workshop and pose a dare with a Matcha Latte Art Throwdown. The first part of the Spirit of Tea Tour will be a hands-on seminar diving into how to accurately dial-in [...]

The Spirit of Tea Tour by Spirit Tea & Marco 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

Women in Tea: Not Just a Gentlemen’s Business?

In China, the crafting and trading of tea is historically the domain of men. In contrast to the western stereotype of aristocratic ladies sipping afternoon tea from ornate cups, the Chinese tea drinking culture was mostly popularized by male scholars, who waxed poetic on the complex flavors and austere pleasures of their favorite teas. While women certainly brewed and drank tea as well, they escape mention in most discussions of tea history in China. So it probably comes as no surprise that when Alice Luong, owner of Red Blossom Tea Company, first started traveling to China and Taiwan to source teas [...]

Women in Tea: Not Just a Gentlemen’s Business? 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

Pursuing the Moon and Good Tea: A Conversation with Nihoncha Instructor Tyas Sōsen

I was able to chat with Huybrechts Tangetsu-an Tyas Sōsen, also simply known as Tyas Sōsen, the first Belgian and youngest foreigner to become a certified Nihoncha Instructor (Japanese Tea Instructor). He currently lives and works in Japan, directly sourcing naturally-grown rustic Japanese tea for his online store, The Tea Crane, and performing the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony (sadō, chanoyu, or chadō) at the Kyoto-based school, Kyūgetsu. He told me about his experience moving to Japan, studying for the Nihoncha certification, his sourcing philosophy and practices, and what it's like to perform the tea ceremony as a foreigner. What was your [...]

Pursuing the Moon and Good Tea: A Conversation with Nihoncha Instructor Tyas Sōsen 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

The Oolong Compendium

The word Wulong translates to black dragon. The proper pinyin is wūlóng (乌龙), but oolong (a haphazard transliteration) has become the most popular spelling in the West. Wulong leaves are semi-oxidized. This means that during production, oxidation is initiated, controlled and halted at some point before the leaves are considered fully oxidized. This is why you will often hear wulong described as being in between green tea and black tea. However, as with many things in the world of tea, it is more complicated than this. A distinct step in the processing of traditional wulong tea is the bruising step (also [...]

The Oolong Compendium 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

Tea at 10 of the World’s Best Restaurants

On April 5, the annual and much lauded World's 50 Best Restaurants list was released. Decided by an Academy of around 1,500 members, made up of chefs, food critics, restaurateurs, and more, the list serves as a manual for famous food names and places. Although controversial for its general lack of female chefs, Euro-centrism, etc., the list offers a glimpse into what might be considered the most cutting-edge, most refined, and most interesting dining to be had anywhere in the world in 2017. But... and this is a big but... What tea do they serve? If these restaurants are supposedly the "best", then surely their [...]

Tea at 10 of the World’s Best Restaurants 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

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 Kovac 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

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 Malawi 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

The 2017 Dutch Tea Champion Is…

The 2017 Dutch Tea Championship has concluded. As detailed in my last post, 14 contestants entered the preliminary rounds which included a submission video, written test, live tea preparation, and 20 blind tastings. After, there were four contestants left to compete in the finals. These finalists faced off on March 12 for the final prize. Their competitive rounds consisted of 17 more blind tastings, including a blind preparation, and a live tea presentation to be paired with a gourmet dish created by Jan Smink, one of the judges and the head chef of De Librije, a gourmet hotel and restaurant. Needless to say, this [...]

The 2017 Dutch Tea Champion Is… 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

HEI: The Modernist’s Clay Teapot

Recently funded on both Kickstarter and IndieGogo (for $50,000) upstart design company Defront has designed and built a teapot for the 21st Century modernist, and they call it HEI. Defront presents themselves as "a design brand established by designers, inventors, technologists, and social workers working across Eastern and Western culture." Their HEI teapot is the distillation of this mantra. A sleek design houses a built-in thermometer/lid with a magnetically attached stainless steel micro-infuser that has notches designed to help you measure out different teas. Despite this modern touch, the teapot and cup are molded from Yixing clay (or zisha), the hyper traditional Chinese [...]

HEI: The Modernist’s Clay Teapot 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

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 Chiyabari 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

The 2017 Dutch Tea Championship, An Introduction

I’m new to the world of Tea Competitions. Conceptually, I wasn’t even sure how one would work, but I knew that there were many out there to chose from, in multiple countries. When I started talking to my tea folks about them, it was suggested that a fun place to start (and one not previously covered on World of Tea) was the Dutch Tea Championship, a competition run by the International Tea & Coffee Academy in the Netherlands. And it begins in just over a week. Started in 2015, it’s a fairly new event that grew out of smaller events the [...]

The 2017 Dutch Tea Championship, An Introduction 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

The Teapot Artisans of Instagram

Since the beginning of tea culture, there has been the teapot. In fact, many would argue you can't have one without the other. This vessel, into which you add the basic elements of tea and water, supports a beautiful illusion that the tea which issues from the spout could not have been created without the teapot. Likely adapted from traditional ceramic rice wine pots, teapots are intrinsic to Asian culture. The Japanese 茶碗, or 'chawan', literally means teacup, but it's so ubiquitous that it can simply refer to any cup or small bowl. Artisans, potters, and ceramicists continue to craft and tweak [...]

The Teapot Artisans of Instagram 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

The Current State of Organic Orthodox Tea in Nepal

Organic Orthodox Tea in Nepal “Chiya khayau? (Did you drink tea?)” No, it’s not intense curiosity about your drinking habits – it’s a colloquial way of greeting people in Nepalese culture. Whether you are strolling around the urban corners of Kathmandu or on your way to experience an adventure in the jagged Himalayan mountains, you are bound to encounter local people engaging in everything from lengthy philosophical conversations to rants about the mundanity of their daily lives over a cup of chiya – tea. Tea is the beverage with which the majority of the people in Nepal prefer to kick off [...]

The Current State of Organic Orthodox Tea in Nepal 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

Tea Spot Rebrands as Wēi Lóng Dòng Tea House in Austin

So Han Fan, owner of West China Tea Company, has expanded and rebranded his former teahouse Tea Spot along with partner Chris Caballero as Wēi Lóng Dòng Tea House. With the help of smTEAx and crowd-sourcing through IndieGogo, they were able to take a concept housed within Austin's food and beverage collective, the Spider House Cafe, and turn it into a physical location. [Wēi Lóng Dòng Tea House], which translates into “lofty dragon cave” in Mandarin, emphasizes Chinese teas and tea ceremonies. Fan firmly believes that tea brings communities together, which is the goal of the cafe. On deck are over 130 teas all [...]

Tea Spot Rebrands as Wēi Lóng Dòng Tea House in Austin 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

High Mountain Tea Opens Brick & Mortar in Toronto

High Mountain Tea, a brand-new online tea company, opened their first physical retail location in Toronto yesterday. Specializing in what looks to be primarily Taiwanese oolong and black teas, with a few additional Chinese imports, they claim to travel to both countries to source. Additionally, they have a simple and elegant line of teaware for sale. These include clay gong fu sets, porcelain tasting cups, and ceramic kyusu pots.  Founder Conor Murphy grew a passion for tea after having a transformative Puer tasting with his cousin, who happens to run Living Tea, an online tea business specializing in Puer that does [...]

High Mountain Tea Opens Brick & Mortar in Toronto 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

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, Expansion 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

A Day Making Puer Tea on Jingmai Mountain

In the extreme south of China, only a couple of kilometers away from Burma, lies beautiful Jingmai Mountain. From the top of its 1600m elevation, the villagers wake to the rooster crowing and admire a sea of clouds covering the valley. As the sun rises, the village square comes alive. It’s early Spring in Jingmai; the skies are blue and the mornings are chilly. Some street vendors serve rice noodles to folks gathered along the busy streets. 7 AM. The tea pickers are ready to go to work. They carry a large bamboo basket on their back that contains a couple [...]

A Day Making Puer Tea on Jingmai Mountain 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

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 Roundup 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

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 Area 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

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 Hut 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

Say Tea (and Cheese)

Watermelon, ice cream, corn on the cob. Check. Cold beer. Fresh-squeezed lemonade. Check. Then there’s hot tea. Probably not the first thing that comes to mind for hot summer days. But it’s a real treat if you stick with lighter white teas, greens and oolongs or Champagne-like Darjeelings. Want to liven up your next barbecue? Try serving tea with just the right cheese and you’ve got a refreshing snack that surprises your guests and takes things up a notch. Most people naturally head for wine or beer with cheese for any occasion—winter, spring, summer or fall. (Indeed, there are lots of [...]

Say Tea (and Cheese) 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

The Problem With Tea Sommeliers

What is a tea sommelier? When I ask this, people generally describe someone who pairs tea with food and prepares tea at a restaurant. This is, after all, what most people believe the job of a wine sommelier is and they wouldn’t be wrong, although this is only one branch on their tree. I decided to investigate this, since for years I’ve been bothered by the term ‘tea sommelier’ and by the general misalignment with true sommeliers. After months of research, I’ve learned that tea sommeliers can spend large amounts of money to be certified, are trained in unstandardized ways with [...]

The Problem With Tea Sommeliers 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

2016 Southwest Tea Festival Recap

On February 27th, 2016, the Southwest Tea Festival was born as the weather guaranteed a bright day to shine through the skylight on the vintage Downtown 3rd Street's Farmer's Market building. Local vendors, musicians, and tea experts shared their wares and creativity to over 600 hundred attendees. The excitement was evident in the spirit of the local participants and those visiting from California, Arizona, and many other states. The iconic downtown building was filled to its limit with people and energy around tea, music, and niche crafts. https://vimeo.com/159272303 Tea products were available for sale from Las Vegas companies Tealet, Joy’s Teaspoon, [...]

2016 Southwest Tea Festival Recap 2018-05-15T08:40:34+00:00

That’s Amari: An Ancient Love of Herbal Drinks

I loved amari before I even knew what it was. I lived in an old-time New York-Italian neighborhood for ages and sometimes found myself ordering digestifs from dessert menus. It’s what you did. In fact, the tradition of taking amaro after dinner goes back centuries, to a time when people got their medicine straight from the garden, from botanists or the apothecary, usually as a tincture or tea. Most amari taste medicinal and tend to embody the essence of bittersweet. Known to treat everything from stomachaches to cholera, they’re made by infusing brandy or other spirits with herbs, leaves, flowers, roots, [...]

That’s Amari: An Ancient Love of Herbal Drinks 2018-05-15T08:40:34+00:00

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 Belarus 2018-05-15T08:40:34+00:00

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 Exposé 2018-05-15T08:40:34+00:00

Five Years in Tea: A Retrospective

After working for American Tea Room for 5 1/2 years, I’ve decided to move forward with my career. Although I began my career more familiar than some with the world of tea, since the middle of 2010 I began an obsession, first working as a sales associate for American Tea Room, right smack in the middle of Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle. After a few years, I worked my way up to Store Manager and became intimately involved with the operation of the brand, eventually assuming the role of Beverage Director, officially, and unofficially as Training Director for all employees. I designed [...]

Five Years in Tea: A Retrospective 2018-05-15T08:40:35+00:00

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 Roundup 2018-05-15T08:40:35+00:00

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 Cocktails 2018-05-15T08:40:35+00:00

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 Ceremony 2018-05-15T08:40:36+00:00

Tea for iPhone, an Interview with the Developer

I recently sat down with Samuel Iglesias, tea-enthusiast (nerd) and first-time iPhone developer to discuss his journey in creating an app called "Tea." Who helped you with the app? Tea is the result of a collaboration between me (@siglesias) and designer Mac Tyler (@mactyler). I came up with the concept after being frustrated by my scattershot, do-whatever approach to making tea--sometimes it would taste great, other times not so much, and I would never be exact about how long I steeped it, just sort of let it sit there until my intuition told me it was ready. After learning that good [...]

Tea for iPhone, an Interview with the Developer 2018-05-15T08:40:50+00:00

Online Tea Communities

Just wanted to share a bunch of tea communities with you that I've been following over the years: Badger and Blade Forums http://badgerandblade.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=90 Leafbox Tea Forums: http://leafboxtea.com/forum Tea Subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/tea/ Tea-Mail http://groups.yahoo.com/group/teamail/ Tea Advisor: http://teaadvisor.com/ Rec.Food.Drink.Tea: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.food.drink.tea/topics Tea Chat: http://www.teachat.com/ Twitter: Using the hash-tag #tea http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23tea Steepster: http://steepster.com/discuss

Online Tea Communities 2018-05-15T08:40:50+00:00

Pu-erh Tea and Tobacco: A trip to Iwan Ries

Much has been written on tobacco notes in young pu-erh teas. Because of this, some local Chicago tea friends and I decided to take this idea for a spin and spend a day at Iwan Ries with Certified Tobacconist Ron Carroll. Ron wanted to learn more about pu-erh and we wanted to compare the subtle complexities of pipe-tobacco with the nuances of pu-erh tea. Instead of immersing ourselves in not-taking and in-depth comparisons, we just enjoyed ourselves and let the conversation flow. Thomas Conner of TeaSquared elaborated on the day: http://teasquared.blogspot.com/2010/05/tea-and-tobacco-smokin.html

Pu-erh Tea and Tobacco: A trip to Iwan Ries 2018-05-15T08:40:50+00:00

Pu-erh Ice Cream Float

Alright, I know I'm not into ridiculous flavored teas -- the kind where the taste of the tea is lost. But I am a fan of using teas in recipes where tea compliments another food, or another food compliments a tea. So while drinking some of my Green Elephant Pu-erh, I was thinking that it would go great with vanilla ice cream. So I filled a mason jar with a nice chunk of my beencha and filled the jar with boiling water, I sealed the jar and left it in the refrigerator for 12 hours. The resulting tea was completely black, like coffee [...]

Pu-erh Ice Cream Float 2018-05-15T08:40:50+00:00

Tea 4:20 Edition: Smoking Tea

Smoking tea. There has been some information circulating the internet about a growing trend of smoking tea from tea-bags. Chances are someone has mentioned this to you at some point, or talked about smoking other herbs and spices in your kitchen (especially if you’ve ever been a teenager). After all, clove cigarettes are a thing right? Doing a quick search will show you that there is a bit of information online about the healthful effects of smoking tea leaves. I do not condone this, I would not try this if I were you, I’m not telling you to try this — smoking anything is harmful to your health. But… [...]

Tea 4:20 Edition: Smoking Tea 2018-05-15T08:40:51+00:00

The Gong Fu Cha Institute at Penn State

I had a chance to speak with Jason Cohen, president of Penn State's new "Gong Fu Cha" institute. The institute aims to: "build a tea library in order to document the vintages of tea and to propagate through instruction the art of GongFu Cha." If you go to Penn State, you can join the institute every Wednesday from 6-9 in the HUB-Robeson Center. I asked Jason a series of questions... here we go: What got you started in tea? I got started in tea in the summer of 2007. I was in China for about 2 months, during which I lived [...]

The Gong Fu Cha Institute at Penn State 2018-05-15T08:40:51+00:00

Chicago’s Chinatown – Not a Tea Mecca.

I set out about two weeks ago to explore Chicago's Chinatown -- just off the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line stop. I hoped to find tiny tea-houses tucked away off the main streets, tea importers, tea shops -- I hoped to find a mecca of tea right in my own city. However, I found none of this. Not even an inkling of hope. I left completely and utterly disappointed. I began walking around, first North on Wentworth to China Square on Archer, there were many shops, Americanized restaurants, Chinese Herbs, bookstores, and a few stores selling cheap souvenirs. The only store slightly of [...]

Chicago’s Chinatown – Not a Tea Mecca. 2018-05-15T08:40:51+00:00

Tea and Gender

There have been no polls or studies in the United States that I've seen that reveal the demographics of tea drinkers in the country. But evidence is suggesting that the bulk of tea-drinkers fall in the 18-35 year old male category. A growing group of men drawn by the history and culture behind the drink. "'The vast majority of Asian tea masters are men, and in fact, the tea industry itself is known as a "gentleman's" business. Women might drink much of the tea in the western world, but men are usually the ones buying and selling it in the wholesale [...]

Tea and Gender 2018-05-15T08:40:51+00:00

Interview: Yunnan Sourcing’s Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson is an American who settled in Kunming China and founded the tea export company Yunnan Sourcing. He spends his days working on the floor of one of the largest Pu-erh trading centers of the world. How did you come to love tea? It all started with Yunnan. I traveled for about 5 months in Yunnan province in 1998-1999. At that time I started to drink Pu-erh and other Yunnan teas. I had this idea that I would try and introduce it people in the USA. I purchased and shipped back more than 80 kilograms of Pu-erh tea at that [...]

Interview: Yunnan Sourcing’s Scott Wilson 2018-05-15T08:40:51+00:00

The redundancy of "Chai Tea" (Masala Chai)

We've all said it, "chai tea" -- the greatest redundancy in the world of tea. In the Hindi language, "chai" means "tea", so saying "chai tea" is the same as saying "tea tea." Just think about that the next time you are in a coffeeshop and hear someone order a "chai tea latte" -- whatever that is. Granted the popularized form of "chai tea" in America is syrup or powder based anyway - so calling what most drink in America "masala chai" would be a bastardization.  Masala refers to a mixture of spices; in masala chai, usually cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star [...]

The redundancy of "Chai Tea" (Masala Chai) 2018-05-15T08:40:51+00:00