Tea Culture

Social History of Tea, Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

Tea Festival: Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario

On Saturday, November 5, 10am – 5pm, The Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton Ontario will hold its first Tea Festival. I’m pleased to have been invited to speak. My topic – The Many Ways of Tea: Tea’s Journey Around the World. If you are in the Hamilton, Ontario region, come and participate. I’m scheduled to speak at 1pm and 4pm. In between I’ll be book signing The Tea Book. I hope to mee you there! Preview Save Save Save Save

Style and Design, Tea Knowledge

The Gaiwan: Tea Vessel With Soul

When I first embarked upon my tea studies at George Brown College in Toronto, I was introduced to an odd little tea vessel – the gaiwan  –  which looked like a wide-lipped sugar bowl with lid and saucer. I struggled to use it – the lid needed to be positioned in a way that allowed the tea’s liquor to flow in a stream without letting any (or not many) leaves to escape the vessel. The index finger had to control […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

Monkey Time!

Year of the Monkey The Monkey appears ninth (out of twelve) in the Chinese Lunar calendar’s Zodiacal line up. New Year celebrations run from Sunday February 7th (New Year’s Eve) to Saturday February 13th. People born under the sign of the Monkey are said to be quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, lively, smart. A year of the Monkey is said to be unlucky, so precautions must be taken e.g. making sure the rice jar is not empty and avoiding sharp […]

Tea Culture, The Tea Book

The Tea Book update: Book signing at Majesteas, Toronto

The Tea Book, DK publishers On Saturday, September 19th, 1pm, I will be at Majesteas, a tea shop at 950 Queen St. E. near Carlaw Ave. in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. This will be my first book signing event since the release of The Tea Book in July. Owned by fellow tea colleagues Robert Gignac and Ian Macdonald, Majesteas is celebrating 5 years in business! They have a great selection of good quality tea, especially excelling in black teas, […]

Globe-trotting, Tea and Travel, Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

The Scent of Jasmine: Making Tea in the Heat of the Night

In mid-August 3 years ago, I was fortunate to be in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province during Jasmine harvest season. My host, Chris West, formerly of Min River Tea, arranged for us to visit the old factory of Master Yu on the outskirts of town. We would be accompanied by the provincial Minister of Agriculture. He was to be present during the filming of CCTV’s beautiful documentary series, 茶,一片树叶的故事 06 一碗茶汤见人情, which roughly translates as “Tea, the Human Story”. […]

Tea and Travel, Tea Cuisine, Tea Knowledge, World Tea Expo

World Tea Expo: The Matcha Effect

Matcha seems to fit the mood of the moment. It’s electric greenness reflecting the colour that we associate with health and nature. It was seen everywhere at World Tea Expo, 2015 or was it just that I was experiencing The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon! Matcha’s Origins Matcha’s use has strayed somewhat from its original ceremonial origins. Ceremonial matcha grades of Usucha (thin) and Koicha (thick) have been available in select tea shops for many years. Matcha was originally a throw back to […]

Tea and Travel, Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge, World Tea Expo

World Tea Expo 2015: Random reports, Pt. 1

Like a dream it arrived and then was over and now I’m home. I wish I could reconstruct the experience of World Tea Expo in order to give you a picture of what actually happened and when. At moments it was elating, challenging, fascinating, funny and puzzling. Every time I try to reassemble the days chronologically, however, my brain resists. This year, my reports will be based on random observations, capricious interludes and impressions. Quite unlike me really not to […]

Tea Knowledge, The Tea Book

Announcing: The Tea Book

The Tea Book, DK Publishers This year has been devoted to research and inspiration for The Tea Book, a collaboration with DK publishing (a division of Penguin Random House). Famous for their Eye Witness Travel books and many and varied guides to culinary pursuits, DK chose to publish a book on tea at a time when the world’s favourite hot beverage is poised to gain even more ground in markets around the world. This comprehensive primer for tea lovers will […]

Social History of Tea, Tea Cuisine, Tea Culture

Revising Afternoon Tea

Tiered cake stands, white linen, dainty sweets and bone china teapots are well-worn symbols of Afternoon Tea, – the popular, more formal approach to serving a cuppa. To that end, hotels and other venues have dreamed up all kinds of themed afternoon teas – the edible garden, Asian-inspired and ultra chic! Afternoon Tea is often erroneously called “High Tea”, a name which originally defined the meal that was served at a high (dining) table close to the supper hour. In […]

Tea Cuisine, Tea Culture

Cheers! Tea with Spirit

In Celebration of a Good Year The events of my 2014 were exciting and life-changing. Work in the tea world was plentiful, which explains dear reader, why posts have been spotty at best. One of the projects I’ve been working on has allowed me to explore tea mixology (the craft of cocktail blending using tea as a flavour ingredient). I’m not actually a fan of spirits, but I have loved learning about the interplay of flavours to create the right […]