Lakyrsiew: Unlocking the Magic of the Leaf

Today we’re continuing with our periodic series of shorter episodes focusing on one tea, one producer or one region that may be new to the tea stage or that we’re excited about and want to explore further. We’re joined by our frequent guest Kevin Gascoyne, co-owner of Montreal’s Camellia Sinensis Tea House and one of the world’s leading experts on Indian tea,  to explore Lakyrsiew, a young boutique tea garden in India’s very wet Meghalaya state.

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Emptiness in Tea Practice

When a friend who’s a longtime Buddhist meditation teacher asked me recently if “emptiness” comes into our study and practice of chado, the Japanese way of tea, I didn’t quite know how to answer. On Talking Tea we had chatted a bit about emptiness in a Daoist context, and its relation to tea, in our episode Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections, and we touched on some of the connections between tea and Buddhism in a few of our earlier episodes. But I hadn’t thought about how, or if, emptiness comes into play in the specific practices of the Japanese way of tea.

To explore this question further, we asked Drew Hanson, an instructor in the Urasenke school of chado and founder/owner of the Boukakuan Japanese Tea House in New Jersey, to join us again on Talking Tea. (Drew was our guest in two earlier Talking Tea episodes, Tea, Heart to Heart and Chabana: Flowers for Tea.) 

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Bamboo Pu’er, Beyond the Novelty

There’s a certain novelty factor to bamboo pu’er – sheng or shou pu’er packed and (usually) aged in a bamboo tube. It’s not the way we usually acquire our pu’er, and it can be both challenging and fun to crack open the bamboo log and see what’s inside. But aside from the novelty, are bamboo pu’ers worth exploring for serious tea drinkers?

To look inside the bamboo log a little more deeply, we’re joined once again today on Talking Tea by John Wetzel, founder and owner of Stone Leaf Teahouse in Middlebury, Vermont. Specifically we’re focusing on one bamboo pu’er, a 2016 sheng from Naka Shan. 

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The Korean Way of Tea, with Brother Anthony of Taizé

Jirisan, a historic tea growing region in South Korea

For quite some time we’ve been wanting to explore Korean tea culture on Talking Tea, so we’re very happy to be joined in this episode by Brother Anthony of Taizé, a prolific writer, translator and teacher and co-author of two notable books on Korean tea, The Korean Way of Tea and Korean Tea Classics.   

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Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections

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Today we’re exploring connections between tea and Daoism, the millenia-old Chinese religious and philosophical tradition that has had such a profound influence on culture and history in and beyond China. We’re joined by Robert Coons, who straddles both the tea world and the world of Daoism. Robert is a well-known tea vendor based in Canada and China and is also a writer, teacher and podcaster on Daoism, qigong and Daoist meditation.   Read the full show notes

Sensory Immersion Into Tea

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In this episode we’re at the 2020 Toronto Tea Festival and its kick-off event, Kevin Gascoyne’s Rare Tea Tasting. Kevin is an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the tea industry,  a co-owner of the Montreal-based Camellia Sinensis Teahouse and a frequent guest on Talking Tea, and this is just the second time Kevin has presented a tasting in this format.  Read the full show notes

Talking Teapots, In-Depth with Scott Norton

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When a listener requested an episode about teapots. we realized that this was a topic we haven’t really delved into on Talking Tea. And having attended one of tea blogger, writer and teacher Scott Norton’s incredibly comprehensive seminars on yixing teaware, we invited Scott to join us for an in-depth overview of teapots, their design elements, their history and how to best match your teapots with your teas.  Read the full show notes

Chemistry, Climate Change, Bugs & Tea

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Today we’re exploring a bit of tea science on Talking Tea. We’re joined by Eric Scott, a tea scientist and researcher at Tufts University, to chat about some of the ways a basic understanding of the science of tea can benefit us as tea consumers and tea professionals, and to get a glimpse into the research Eric is doing on the effects of climate change on tea and tea markets. Read the full show notes

Gender, Empire and the Making of the Western Tea Market

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We’re delving into some sticky topics today on Talking Tea as we look at the roles mass marketing, gender, racism and modern British history have played in shaping tea markets and tea culture in the West. Joining us is historian Erika Rappaport, author of the recently published book A Thirst For Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World. Erika’s work as a historian focuses in the areas of gender, consumer culture and British history, and “A Thirst for Empire” delves into all of these areas in looking at the forces that shaped tea culture and tea markets in the West.   Read the full show notes

A “Tea Cave” in Vermont

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Today Talking Tea is in Middlebury, Vermont, at Stone Leaf Teahouse, a unique tea space in this bucolic town. Joining us is John Wetzel, founder and owner of Stone Leaf.

The town of Middlebury may be best known for being the home of Middlebury College, but since its founding 10 years ago Stone Leaf has also become well-known in and beyond Middlebury for the quality of its teas and for the warmth and tranquility of its teahouse.  Read the full show notes