Tea Culture

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge, Tea Science, The Tea Book

Upcoming talk: Toronto Tea Festival

Saturday February 1st, 1.30pm The 8th Annual Toronto Tea Festival takes place over 2 days, Saturday February 1st and Sunday 2nd, at Toronto’s Reference Library, in the Appel Studio. I’m happy to announce that I will be speaking on Saturday Feb.1st at 1.30pm. Topic – Botany of the Tea Plant. I’ve really enjoyed researching this project. A bit of a deep dive for me, but I’m learning so much! My plan is to distill this knowledge into a concise 30 […]

Tea Cuisine, Tea Culture

A Sensual Feast of Tea And Chocolate

An Extraordinary Experience I have just experienced an adventurous evening of tea and chocolate pairing at Soma Chocolatemaker, in downtown Toronto, organized by The Tea Guild of Canada. We were met by Soma’s guide Samantha. As she lead us through the tasting of each morsel, she explained its place of origin and the close relationship the chocolatier had with their farm sources, confirming for me that specialty chocolate sourcing has parallels to direct-sourced fine tea. Curiously, some of the chocolate […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge, World Tea Expo

Portrait: Maria Uspenski

 Founder, The Tea Spot and author, Cancer Hates Tea   There are many reasons to attend World Tea Expo, but I’m finding that as I grow into the industry, I’m just as interested in tea people as product. Maria Uspenski introduced herself to me a few years ago, after The Tea Book was published. She was warm and enthusiastic. One of those rare humans who seems to glow from within. She had long been associated with the expo. Her company, […]

Social History of Tea, Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

A Closer Look: Taking Tea in 1715…

Anatomy of a Painting The 1715 oil painting, Two Ladies and an Officer at Tea, (above) has often been used to cite the prominent place that tea held in elite society of the early 1700’s. For tea social history enthusiasts, it is a quintessential image, one of the earliest to depict the partaking of tea in the western world. It is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s vast collection. While researching for a talk I gave on history of […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

Taiwan’s Winter Oolongs

An Interview with David Campbell of Tillerman Tea Whenever I taste a tea that is new to me, I embrace the opportunity to take a little detour and stroll into unfamiliar territory. I’m sure this pursuit of tea knowledge is the reason that many of us stay engaged in the industry. I first tried Winter Oolongs a few years ago and while I enjoyed them, I had no frame of reference for what might make them special. When I recently […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge, The Tea Book

Sip & Discover: Toronto Tea Festival 2018

In its sixth year, and now one of the biggest consumer tea festivals in North America, The Toronto Tea Festival is preparing for a large crowd of tea fans – both novices and connoisseurs and everything in between. The weekend event will be taking place at Toronto’s Reference Library in the Appel Salon Saturday February 3rd and Sunday, 4th, from 10am – 5pm. The Festival was founded by Tao Wu and his sister Mingzhu Gao, of Tao Tea Leaf in […]

Style and Design, Tea Cuisine

Gifts for the Discerning Tea Lover

There are still some good suggestions on the previous post (2013), but so much has happened in the tea world and my tea life that I thought it deserved an update.   curati.co I’m often asked which teas I can recommend and where to buy them. “Where can I find fine quality tea that is fresh and that I can trust to be sourced directly?” Since I don’t sell tea, I provide names of vendors I trust, but inevitably people […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

Urban Foraging

As the summer progresses and seasonal native plants begin their cycle of growth, attraction, and fruit bearing, I like to plod through my patch of the city to familiar spots where I find berries, leaves and flowers. This neighbourhood is a very built up residential area in midtown Toronto in close proximity to colleges and tourist attractions, and in spite of that there are still a few little oases of wild that exist mostly through abandonment and neglect. I have […]

Tea Cuisine, Tea Culture

Tea & Oranges

I have always been captivated by the line in Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne  “She feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China”. I recently learned that this line was inspired by Cohen’s introduction, by his friend Suzanne, to Constant Comment®, an orange spice tea blend from Bigelow. Constant Comment was one of the few teas (all loose leaf) that sat on my shelf when I set up house in a garage in Banff, Alberta (housing was scarce […]

Tea Culture

Toronto Tea Events!

Toronto Tea Festival, Saturday & Sunday, January 28th – 29th The end of January is shaping up to be an inspiring finale to Hot Tea Month, which is mostly celebrated in the US where it is necessary to add the word “Hot” to the title. Stateside, “tea” on its own usually refers to iced tea – not a cozy image for these short cold days. In Canada we seem to have adopted this celebration, keeping all three words intact, even […]