Learning Tea With Babelcarp

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We’re calling this episode “learning tea” because learning about tea can be like learning a language – like learning English, or French, or Chinese, or any other language. There’s a vocabulary to tea, and the world of tea is so vast, with so many words, facts and concepts to learn and keep track of, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Compounding this in the English-speaking world is the fact that tea terms are often actually in another language – most commonly Chinese or Japanese. So what’s a tea drinker to do?   Read the full show notes

Montreal’s Tea School

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What did Talking Tea do this summer? We went to summer school, of course. Tea summer school, that is. In August we attended one of the English-language Summer School workshops offered through the tea school at Montreal’s Camellia Sinensis. After the workshop we sat down with Kevin Gascoyne of Camellia Sinensis to chat about current and emerging trends in tea education.  Read the full show notes

Tea Goes to College

An institute dedicated to intensive, interdisciplinary tea education and research is not something you’ll typically see at a college or university in North America – or anywhere else, for that matter. But it’s exactly what you’ll find at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, where an initiative originally undertaken by students has resulted in the groundbreaking, university-funded Tea Institute at Penn State.  Read the full show notes

Tea Culture/Youth Culture

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This week on Talking Tea we look at the growing popularity of tea and tea culture among youth and teens. Chatting with us (via Skype) is Connor Adlam of Tching.com, the well-known blog and online forum for tea information.   Read the full show notes

How To Spot a Quality Tea – Part 2: Silver Needles

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In our last episode of Talking Tea we began to explore the elements of a quality tea with Shunan Teng of New York City’s Tea Drunk. As examples of what to look for in choosing tea, Shunan selected two historically famous teas from China. We began in our last episode by looking at Gua Pian, a green tea, and now we chat with Shunan about Bai Hao Yin Zhen, also known as Silver Needles, as we continue discussing how to spot a quality tea.  Read the full show notes

How To Spot a Quality Tea – Part 1: Gua Pian

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This week on Talking Tea we return to Tea Drunk in New York City to chat with Shunan Teng, founder and owner of Tea Drunk, about tips and tricks for identifying quality teas. As an example of what to look for in choosing tea, Shunan selects a Gua Pian, a historically famous green tea from China.   Read the full show notes

Baozhong: Born in China, Rooted in Taiwan

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We’re continuing our exploration of Taiwanese oolongs this week with a focus on one of the most celebrated of Taiwanese teas, Baozhong. Shiuwen Tai, of Seattle’s Floating Leaves Tea, gave us such a fantastic and comprehensive intro to Taiwanese oolongs in our last episode that we had to invite her back to give us some more in-depth knowledge, and we asked Shiuwen to talk about Baozhong because, well, it’s one of our favorite oolongs.  Read the full show notes

The World of Taiwanese Oolongs

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This week on Talking Tea we begin exploring the spectrum of Taiwanese oolongs with Shiuwen Tai of Seattle’s Floating Leaves Tea. Shiuwen chats with us via Skype about the history of tea in Taiwan, and how Taiwan’s tea production has been influenced by its relationships with both China and Japan. We discuss some of the factors that go into forming the unique flavor profiles of oolong teas from Taiwan, including aged oolongs, why mouthfeel and texture are important in evaluating tea, and then take a closer look at two oolongs: Alishan, a high mountain Taiwanese oolong (the photo shows an Alishan tea garden), and the famous Tieguanyin.   Read the full show notes

Kevin Gascoyne on Darjeelings, Fair trade and the Future of Tea

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We’re back in Montreal this week on Talking Tea chatting with Kevin Gascoyne of Montreal’s famed Camellia Sinensis Tea House.

Kevin, a co-owner of Camellia Sinensis, is known around the world as a prominent tea taster, educator and author. We talk with Kevin about his passion for Darjeeling teas, how classically grown Darjeelings compare with newer clonal teas, and current trends in tea processing. Kevin also discusses fair trade and labor conditions at tea gardens in India and elsewhere, and shares his perspectives on the future of tea’s popularity and growth, both in North America and worldwide. And, as an added bonus, we chat with Kevin about Camellia Sinensis’ groundbreaking studies on caffeine and anti-oxidants in tea.  Read the full show notes

A Relaxed Approach to Tea & “Tea Decadence” at Montreal’s Cha Do Raku

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Today at Talking Tea we’re in Montreal beginning our exploration of this city’s vibrant tea scene. Our first stop is Cha Do Raku, a new tea house and shop in Montreal’s Plateau district. Cha Do Raku (it means “decadence of tea” in Japanese) and its owner and founder, Shiho Kanamaru, have already made a name for themselves through the highly regarded teas offered through Cha Do Raku’s online store. Today we visit Shiho in her new shop and chat about how she realized her dream of a tea space that embodies the spirit of doraku, a simple, relaxed enjoyment of tea.  Read the full show notes