I have just returned from a convivial ‘Meetup’ of the Henderson/Las Vegas Tea Lovers Group, featuring the book launch of “The Infusiast – Diatribes from the Devotea”. The Devotea being Robert Godden, the Australian Tea Merchant and writer who has gained a following through his blog Tea Sprouts.
A pocket of old Las Vegas
The venue was a 1940’s cottage converted to an artist studio in a part of Las Vegas I had never seen. A small miracle that these pretty cottages still exist when so much of the original Vegas is gone. We sipped some of Devotea’s blends Lord Petersham and a subtle and smooth Rose Vanilla blend. We discussed the limits of tea reviewing – Robert no longer reviews tea because he found himself stymied by repetitive descriptors and finally couldn’t get beyond “tastes like tea”…
Robert’s rich Aussie accent and sharp wit made for an entertaining evening. It was hard to believe that he and his wife, Lady Devotea (Anne) were sleep-deprived and jet-lagged.
He regaled us with stories of false starts with the book, his eventual discovery of the right literary “device” – he used 7 pots as chapters, like the number of colours in Isaac Newton’s colour spectrum (VIBGYOR). We heard of the couple’s one year experience owning and running a cafe in Adelaide. In spite of all efforts, tea only accounted for 6% of their sales.
Robert read from page 85 of his book wherein he tells of Captain Pidding, a deceiver who in the 1830’s passed off cheap tea as high quality Chinese, even going so far as to wrap it in fake Chinese packaging under the Howqua brand. The book is equal parts tea history, lore, legend and acerbic observations and judgements. Short nuggets timed to last for the duration of a leisurely cup of tea.
Robert is in town for World Tea Expo to meet and explore. After that it’s off to New York City, Philadelphia and Virginia. Learn more about his US tour. He’ll be posting updates regularly.