A Journey Through the World of Tea

Featured Tea Bloggers

Ken of Lahikmajoedrinkstea

Who are you?

I’m a musician and writer living in Munich, Germany.

 

What Blogs do you run?

Lahikmajoedrinkstea and lahikmajoeinbayern

 

How did you get into tea?

My wife turned me onto tea.  I was a coffee drinker until I married.  While brewing her a pot, I’d sometimes have a sip.  I’d had green tea on a trip to Japan, so I wasn’t completely new to tea.  My heart raced when I drank coffee, and slowly I started drinking more and more tea.

 

What’s your favorite tea?

Dark, strong teas are more to my taste (Assam Khongea and a good Friesland Blend).  I’ve slowly developed an affinity for more subtle tea, but 2nd flush Darjeelings (Singbulli and Margaret’s Hope) are still my preference.  The best Ceylon seems to come from the highest elevations, so I’ll never turn down a cup of Nuwara Eliya.


What’s your preferred method of steeping? (gaiwan, sorapot, etc.)

Am a bit embarrassed about this, but as much as I enjoy other sorts of steeping I don’t have any of the gear.  When I’m in a tea salon, I’ll happily go the gaiwan or sorapot routes, but at home I brew my tea in a very sturdy Art Deco pot that has treated me quite well.

 

What advice do you have for people just coming into tea?

This is actually what I try to address in my blog.  Don’t be intimidated by the snobbery.  The tea people who’s hearts are in the right place will be thrilled that you’ve joined the flock.  As much as there is to learn, and it can be daunting, we all had to start somewhere.

 

Green or Black? Why?

Although I love Oolongs and green tea, I find myself drawn to black tea.  At first, it was that I was interested in the history of tea and tea-producing cultures.  I’m fascinated by Japan and curious about China, but there’s something about India that I simply can’t shake.

 

How many cups or pots daily?

This one’s really hard to answer.  If I’m home in the morning, I can easily drink three or four pots before lunchtime, and I carry a few thermoses if I know I’ll be away.  I can easily polish off seven or eight pots in a day.

 

Tea enjoyed better with friends or solo?

When I first started doing research in preparation for my teablog, I found sites describing people getting together sharing rare varieties of tea with one another.  Am sure I’d take part in such experiences if I had more of a local tea community.  As it is, most of my tea comraderie is online.

 

Share with us some randomness?

One of my clients told me about a scam in some Shanghai teahouses where they prey on the gullibility of Western tourists.  They pour limitless tiny cups of tea without explaining that each one is rather pricey.  The dupe doesn’t want to appear rude, so he drinks everything that’s set in front of him, and unfortunately the bill can easily run in the hundreds of euros/dollars.

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Featured Tea Company: Bourgea Tea

What’s the history behind the company, how did you get your start?

We started in October 2008. I wanted to supply students on my campus with higher quality tea. I also wanted to change peoples views on tea.

Where are you located?

We are based out of Anderson IN.

From what Country’s do you get your tea from?

The teas are grown in China, Sri Lanka, India, and South Africa.

What do the customers mean to your company?

Customers are obviously important to all companies. I want my customers to feel that received good service and if they are new to tea I want them to fall in love with tea.

What are some of the difficulties with selling tea?

Most people think tea tastes bad. There is also lots of competition. Sometimes it can be hard to standout when you have a small budget.

This is a three-parter. What tea does every one order? What tea would you suggest for tea newbies? What is your most  unique tea?

The white peach and detox are the most popular teas. I think that people who are new to tea should start with the white peach. I call the white peach my gateway tea because its the tea that gets people into tea. My most unique tea is my lucari chai. It has pineapple in it and uses green tea as the base instead of black tea. It was created for a couple that got married and wanted their own tea.

What makes your tea company unique?

Every tea is hand blended. It was started out of my dorm room.

In three words, can your sum up the culture of your company?

indy, healthy, charitable

What is the companies mission?

The vision of the company is to change the persona of tea from its stigma as a drink for older ladies in fluffy hats and young girls at tea parties to its splendor as an amazing, flavorful resource for all those who need something spectaculicious to drink. Throw yo’ pinkie up and let the TEA revolution begin!

Don’t forget to check Bourgea Tea out on Twitter and Facebook.


A New Tyro: Janna Laverdière

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! My name is Janna, and I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Maine! For now, I currently reside in Michigan but I do miss home once in awhile. As a 20 year old junior at Michigan State University (Go Green! Go White!), I am studying Nutritional Science and specializing in Environmental Science. Someday I hope to attend the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, and become an Integrative doctor later down the road. I’m passionate about holistic health, wellness, and my new obsession with tea! 🙂 I especially love to travel, and appreciate the little things in life.
Where are you from?

Maine 🙂

How did you come to enjoy tea?

Oh gosh, I had always known about tea for the longest time. However, as a child who grew up in the U.S. I was never truly accustomed to it. The summer of my sophomore year in college, my boyfriend (not at the time) introduced me to tea. He actually sent me an ingenuitea (by Adagio) and the green tea starter set. After trying this high quality tea, vs. bagged tea, I fell in love.

Whats your favorite tea?

I absolutely love Matcha! I couldn’t live without it! But if that wasn’t an option, then I would say Oolong. Something about it just reaaalllyyy hits the spot. 🙂

What is your favorite tea moment?

My favorite tea moment was possibly visiting Samovar for the first time. I was blown away by how beautiful it looked! I went to the location by the Yerba Buena gardens, and although I didn’t have anyone to share the experience with, it was absolutely beautiful for the first time. I enjoyed their Matcha Nouveau (matcha with soymilk), which was fantastic 🙂

Is tea better solo or with friends?

I think it really depends on the mood. When I’m drinking Matcha I like to drink it alone so I can focus on how it affects my body and soul. Something about Matcha just really adds that extra kick in my step, it’s indescribable. However, if I’m drinking green, or oolong, or something along those lines, I like to share the experience with another. It makes the social experience a whole lot better- 🙂

Lastly what advice would you give to people just getting into tea?

Ooh! I used to be one of those people. You just gotta dive into the water, and explore! Be open minded, and although you may not like it at first, give it a few more tries. It’s like when you first hear a song on the radio, and you think to yourself, “Ehh.. this isn’t that great.” Then all of a sudden, once you hear it the second or third time it’s your new favorite song.
I know one of the biggest problems I had when starting out was the bitter taste from steeping too long, especially with green teas. Once I figured out the tricks of the trade, which takes some trial runs, tea became a lot more enjoyable to the point where it is now a passion of mine!

Don’t forget to follow Janna on Twitter.


Featured Tea Blogger: Deb of Tea and Travel

Who are you?

I’m Deb, I love traveling and I love tea – I’ve been living in Toronto for the last six months. Before being here I was living in Sydney, Australia and the UK (after growing up in New Zealand). Professionally I’ve worked as a PA in the publishing and retail sectors. Personally I would love to make a living from writing and publishing about topics I care about.

What Blogs do you run?

Tea and Travel, I write about tea and tea related travel destinations, do tea reviews and interviews with tea bloggers, tea store owners, tea-ware designers, the Way of Tea practitioners etc. I also really love tea photography and share great photos that I come across.

How did you get into tea?

Back in 2004 Brad, my husband, had a colleague who drank loads of loose leaf green tea at work, then he got into it, then I got into it, and the rest is history.  There are so many things I love about tea, there is so much history, so much to learn and discover – and there are some fantastic people in the tea community that are always willing to share, have a chat and share their knowledge and experience. Tea people are awesome.

Whats your favorite tea?

I love so many and am willing to try anything new but, I’m a big oolong fan, Tieguanyin / Iron Goddess of Mercy is a real favourite; but I also love roobios and a really good quality chamomile.

What’s your preferred method of steeping? (gaiwan, sorapot, etc.)

At the moment I steep in a white, porcelain teapot.  The Sorapot is amazing, a little out of my price range at the moment but I think it’s beautiful (and I’m hoping to interview Joey, the designer soon!)

I have a real fondness for glass teapots; I know they don’t have the same history as some of the old style clay pots, or Japanese side handled pots but I enjoy watching the leaves change and unfurl with each steeping. For me it’s a bit like watching fish in an aquarium.

I also have two tea mugs from ittala that made the trip from Australia to Canada (we only came her with two suitcases, so they had to be special to make the cut!) they are by my favorite European designer Klaus Haapaniemi

What advice do you have for people just coming into tea?

Give everything a try!  You can go into a tea store and buy 50g of loose leaf tea for a few dollars and just experiment; also trust yourself, everyone has different tastes so if you find something you like just explore it further – you never know where things will take you.  Also, there are some great resources online and some great in-store tea experiences to explore.  Tea is a big category but don’t feel intimidated, just pick somewhere to start and then just keep going!

Green or Black? Why?

Green, I think. I really love Japanese green teas like genmaicha/brown rice tea and matcha; although I usually have my matcha as a latte with soy milk (& sometimes a little honey) it’s like desert tea.

How many cups or pots daily?

Usually a few pots in the evening, after work; more on the weekends.

Tea enjoyed better with friends or solo?

Both, I love hanging out in the evenings with Brad, sharing a pot of something new – but then having tea during the day, at work is a little calm amidst the chaos.

Share with us some randomness?
I studied Plant Science at University and worked in a lab, pre-grad for a few months for a Summer. The project I helped on was published in the journal Phytochemistry (back in 2001) and while I absolutely loved the experience, it did teach me that wasn’t the path I wanted to take in life – for me, tea is much more enjoyable, and real, expression of my love for plants and plant science (as well as history, travel, social history and writing).



Featured Tea Blogger: Jamie

Who are you?
Jamie from Montreal – girl geek extraordinaire.

What Blogs do you run?
Lucid Quark

How did you get into tea?
Started drinking tea years ago when I lived in Banff (Canadian Rockies). The group of people I hung out with there was a perfect balance of artistic environmentalists and academic philosophers.

Whats your favorite tea?
Right now, it’s matcha that I make myself (the manual labor is relaxing). In the morning, I’ve been having genmaicha lately and I only drink herbals in the evening.

What’s your preferred method of steeping?(gaiwan, sorapot, etc.)
That really depends on what type of tea I’m having (I have different pots for different types), also depends whether or not I’m in a hurry and making it to take with me. I don’t have a Sorapot, though I wish I did – they’re amazing.

What advice do you have for people just coming into tea?
If someone asks me about tea, I usually offer something more common at first. Like a Chinese red or something flavored and fun (the Taurus blend from Adagio usually gets at least a smile). I’ve found that it takes a long time for people to develop an appreciation for pure teas and the complexities of the steeping process. Try to start out with an easy comfortable tea.

Green or Black? Why?
Prefer green if it’s either Japanese or Taiwanese, I just prefer the clean taste most times. Other times I’m in the mood for a fuller taste so I’ll reach for a smoky black or a Chinese red tea.

How many cups or pots daily?
Easily six litres of tea per day, more on the weekends (believe it or not).

Tea enjoyed better with friends or solo?
Everything is better with friends, love sharing.

Tell us something random?
I add matcha to my water bottle and shake, if I’m running late in the morning. Don’t know how random that is but it sure gets me some odd looks.

Don’t forget to follow Jamie and Lucid Quark on twitter.


Featured Tea Blogger: May King Tsang

Who are you?
My name is May King Tsang and I am the founder of MayKingTea. I conduct tea-tastings in the comfort of people’s homes, to celebrate a special occasion or as a corporate team-building experience. As a public speaker, I also raise awareness of the health benefits of loose leaf tea one cup at a time :o) I also retail and wholesale loose leaf tea.

What Blogs do you run?
www.maykingtea.wordpress.com

How did you get into tea?
Funny story. I’ve been drinking tea since I was yay high (imagine me indicating my height with my left hand ) but just like everyone else, I was probably drinking the not so great stuff. Jasmine tea that was loose leaf but probably scented with jasmine essence rather than scented with the real flowers; drinking Pu’erh in Chinese restaurants when ordering Dim Sum on a Sunday but none of the lovely aged cooked stuff that I’m accustomed to now.

A very good friend of mine asked me to go into business with him, to open up, wait for it,  :o) a coffee house with art evenings such as film showings, poetry readings, talks by artists, that kind of thing. We did a bit of research and I reluctantly went into a Starbucks coffee house to check out the competition. I had to call my husband up to find out from him what coffee I ought to drink! And when I looked at the tea menu, all they had were tea-bag herbal infusions, and that was when I had my eureka moment. It wasn’t a coffee house I was interested in but a tea-house!

I went back to my friend and impressed on him about the tea-house idea. He loved it, and we refined our research. As time went on we realized that our visions for the tea-house were quite different and so we went our separate ways but he’s still a very good friend of mine, and that’s how I came into the world of tea.

Whats your favorite tea?
Difficult question. Depends on what I fancy that day, but I tend to like greens, oolongs and pu’erhs

What’s your preferred method of steeping?
Whatever I can get my hands on. I remember growing up and my mum just filling a flask full of tea, leaves at the bottom and the flask would just be topped up with hot water as and when required. These days I might have a flask of hot water so that I don’t need to keep using the kettle, I’ll have an infuser over my cup and reuse the leaves as required. Gaiwan is also a favorite.

What advice do you have for people just coming into tea?
Just keep asking questions. In the world of tea, you’re never alone! LinkedIn is a great place for tea discussions and advice. There are so many tea specialists out there who will be more than happy to help. Tea is a wonderful community to be involved in as the community is all about sharing.

Green or Black? Why?
Not sure what you’re asking here. If you’re asking my preference, then I would say green tea, just because of the huge variety of flavors you can get depending on country, region, estate etc. There are some absolutely delicious red teas though, but if you regard Pu’erh tea as a black tea, then that would be a difficult decision for me :o)

How many cups or pots daily?
Never really counted, 5-6 cups? 2 teapots?

Tea enjoyed better with friends or solo?
Absolutely with friends although I often enjoy being in a tranquil room, placing my hands around a cup and smelling the aroma of the tea. With the delicious oolongs I have in my range, it just makes me smile when I smell the wonderful aroma

Share with us some randomness?
Not sure if you wanted a tea random or a random random so I’ve shared both:

Tea random: I loved Lapsang Souchong so much that I drank it very several months every day, until one day I couldn’t face it anymore. That was about 20 years ago but I tried it again a few weeks back and I rather liked it!

A random random: My parents and their friends sing Karaoke so much they call it K :o) Reminds of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman when he refers to Jack Daniels as John because he’s known ‘him’ for so long.

Don’t forget to Follow May King on Twitter, check out her posts on the MayKingTea blog, and visit MayKingTea.com


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