Tea Knowledge

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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”. […]