There is an amazement of tea that’s hard to capture in words. It can happen when we experience a tea for the first time and are astounded by flavors and aromas unlike anything we’ve experienced before. Or when we revisit one of our favorite teas and find elements we never noticed before. Or when we find ourselves drinking a tea that’s been expertly prepared and artfully presented in a way that awakens all of our senses.
Today we’re at 29b Teahouse in New York City, where the owners and staff strive to create and recreate these moments of tea amazement every day. We’re talking with Stefen Ramirez and Andreas Vagelatos, two of the owners of 29b, about their unique philosophy and approach to tea.
We chat with Stefen and Andreas about their backgrounds and the origins of 29b, and how they developed their goal of fostering a sophisticated but easily accessible process of understanding tea for both new and experienced tea drinkers. Stefen talks with us about the inspiration he drew from vertical wine tastings, and he and Andreas share their views on the importance of cultivars, process and oxidation and the role of comparative tea tastings in developing tea knowledge and awareness.
Andreas has a background in the mingei school of Japanese art, and we discuss the impact mingei principles of austerity had on the design of 29b and the selection of 29b’s teas and teaware. And Stefen and Andreas share their insights on how 29b has combined a carefully curated tea menu, tea pairings and elements of design to create a deeply inviting experience of tea.
29b Teahouse is an outgrowth of Tea Dealers, a tea company based in New York City. For more info on 29b Teahouse and Tea Dealers, including opening hours and Tea Dealers’ online store, go to Tea Dealers’ website, tea-dealers.com.
Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.
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The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.
This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.
Photo of Stefen Ramirez at 29b courtesy of Tea Dealers.
Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.