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.)
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
As December comes to a close and winter deepens here in the northern hemisphere, we’re continuing our turn inward as we conclude our two-part series on the spirit of tea as reflected in chado, the Japanese way of tea. Today we’re focusing on chabana, the art of flowers so integral to Japanese tea ceremony. Read the full show notes
We’re getting a bit contemplative this time of year here at Talking Tea, as the weather turns cooler and our bodies and minds begin to turn inward. So this December we’re offering two episodes exploring the spirit of tea as reflected in chado, the Japanese way of tea. To kick off this two-part series we’re looking at the life, work and influence of Kakuzo Okakura (pictured above), best known for his modern classic The Book of Tea. Read the full show notes
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. Read the full show notes
One of our guiding principles here at Talking Tea is that conversations about tea and tea culture have the power to deepen our understanding and enhance our experience of tea. Today on Talking Tea we’re exploring one of the ways people are increasingly coming together to share and talk about tea: tea meetup groups. We’re joined by Roy Lamberty, founder and organizer of the New York Tea Society, a popular tea meetup in New York City. Read the full show notes
Earlier this year, TJ Williamson of the World Tea Podcast invited us to join him in leading a session on industry-specific podcasting at Podcamp Toronto. And when the nice folks at Podcamp also gave us the opportunity to record a Talking Tea episode in front of a live audience at Toronto’s Imperial Pub, TJ graciously agreed to join us as a guest on Talking Tea, to chat about the backgrounds of our two podcasts, why we do what we do, and about TJ’s work in tea outside of his show. Read the full show notes
This week on Talking Tea we’re exploring the intricacies of sencha, the most ubiquitous of Japanese green teas. Sencha? Intricate? Many tea drinkers don’t think of those two words in the same context, but we sit down with Zach Mangan of Kettl, a Japanese tea seller based in Fukuoka, Japan and Brooklyn, New York, to sample some senchas and to look at how multifaceted this tea can be. Read the full show notes
If you’ve listened to our Talkin’ Matcha episodes you’ll recognize the name of Tyas Huybrechts. Tyas has been a blogger and tea ceremony instructor based in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan, and we’re delighted to welcome Tyas back to Talking Tea to chat about his new venture, The Tea Crane, a company focused on chemical-free Japanese tea. Read the full show notes
We’re releasing this episode in between the Western new year and the Asian lunar new year, and we took this opportunity to quiet our minds, turn inward a bit, and look again at tea as a contemplative practice. Chatting with us in this exploration is Ven. Hyeonmin Prajna, a Zen teacher in the Five Mountain Zen Order based in New York City, and a student and practitioner of Japanese tea ceremony in the Dai Nihon Chado Gakkai school of tea. Read the full show notes