A Journey Through the World of Tea

Featured Tea Blogger:Melissa Wrzesniewsky

Who are you?
My name is Melissa Wrzesniewsky. I am Philosophy Major at Drew University in New Jersey. I absolutely love tea and everything about it, especially the culture and history behind tea!

What Blogs do you run?
I run my personal tea blog, Expanding Leaves, which I started earlier this year! I started it to share my experiences and thoughts on teas and cool tea related things that I run into!

How did you get into tea?
I have been drinking tea most of my life, in bagged form, and mostly Lipton or herbal teas from the vitamin store. My mom would always steep me  Echinacea tea when I was sick growing up, and it always tasted horrible. Sometime in high school, I started to drink bagged tea, which was all I had been exposed to during my life. I drank bagged green tea and bagged earl grey black tea, which seemed to be a step up from the vitamin stores’ herbal teas I grew up drinking. Little did I know the best was yet to come.

On a fateful day, in the supermarket, while looking at the expansive tea aisle, searching for something new, for something to fall in love with, I found a woman standing in front of 20 large circular silver cans, all with different labels on them, Chocolate Chai, Rooibos, Silver Needle, Dragonwell, Assam. Then, all these words were overwhelming to me, who knew there was so many types of tea? I sure didn’t. I stood next to the woman, and asked her what this was about, and what she was doing. I wish I had gotten her name, knowing what I know now, finding a fellow tea lover is hard, especially in a metropolitan area that is fast paced and here everyone drinks coffee on the go. I owe my love, admiration, and head over heels craziness to this stranger. She told me all about loose leaf tea, explaining every detail, and suggested I smell all the teas, and get samples of the ones that interested me.

I went home with 10 different small bags of tea that day. My way home was filled with excitement, I didn’t know it then, but looking back, I had just learned about something I would fall in love with and drink every single day from that night forward. When I got home, I chose to brew up chocolate chai, and it was love from the very first sip. In hindsight, that night, in the Wegman’s tea aisle, was the most influential of my life so far.

Whats your favorite tea?
I don’t really have a favorite. For a long time, my favorite tea was Dragonwell Green Tea, but since I have been getting serious with Oolongs, they have become my favorite type of tea.  If I had to choose an absolute favorite, I would pick Iron Goddess of Mercy/Tie Guan Yin. The way the tea’s flavors and aroma expands and changes with each steeping really intrigues me.

What’s your preferred method of steeping (gaiwan, sorapot, etc.)?
Gosh, I wish I had a cool teapot like the Sorapot! They are too expensive for a college student like me right now though. Currently, I really love to steep my oolongs in this wonderful Dragon Yixing Teapot that I received as a gift from my brother, Matthew for my birthday this year. I love this teapot so much! The yixing clay really seems to bring out the flavors and aromas of oolongs very well!

What advice do you have for people just coming into tea?
Try anything and everything you can get your hands on. Make the effort to get into tea socially online. Twitter and Message Board networking have been my best friend throughout my tea journey.  I would also recommend to go to any local tea-house that you can find, as the people there are so sweet and are very knowledgeable and more than happy to help you in your journey into tea!

Green or Black? Why?
I don’t really drink much black tea, so green it is! I love the way Green teas taste differently from different regions. I also love how green teas are very fresh and get so little production, that it can taste as if you plucked them from the plant yourself, dried them, and steeped the tea!

How many cups or pots daily?
This really depends on the day and what I am drinking. It is usually upwards of 5-7 cups, sometimes more though!

Tea enjoyed better with friends or solo?
This depends on the situation. I love to share a cup of tea with a friend and chat about everything and anything we can think of. But, at the same time, I really like those personal moments, where tea calms and regenerates your spirit. That almost meditative state that sipping on a cuppa alone puts me in really helps me put myself and my life in perspective.

Share with us some randomness?
How come cow spots don’t come in a variety of colors like human hair does? I would really love to see a cow with strawberry blonde spots some day..

Follow Melissa and Expanding Leaves on twitter.

Don’t forget to join the conversation over at Expanding Leaves

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6 responses

  1. The site looks great! Thanks for featuring me on it! Can’t wait to read more on here 🙂 Have a great day!

    August 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

  2. Thanks again for agreeing to be featured.

    August 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

  3. Lovely interview with lovely Melissa. Hopefully lots more people will read about you and enjoy your site. Your videos are informative & fun.

    Oh, and by the way Lissie..cows have black spots, yes – but also brown spots, and some are red with white spots. Perhaps no blond spots, but it’s hard for cows to get hold of a bottle of L’Oreal..;)

    Jordan, great site! And I love your interviews, hope you can do lots more!

    August 23, 2010 at 8:49 pm

  4. Pingback: This Week in Tea « Tyro's of Tea

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