Chabana: Flowers for Tea

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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

Okakura and the Spirit of Tea

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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

Tea Cocktail Experiments

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Today on Talking Tea we’re doing something a little different from our usual format. A few weeks back we were invited by the folks at Tea Dealers and the 29b Tea House (featured in our prior episode Ambassadors of Tea) to join them in conversation at an evening of tea and alcohol experiments they were planning and record the event for Talking Tea. We did just that, and we’re pleased to bring you the event as a Talking Tea episode.  Read the full show notes

Glimpsing Tea’s Past, Finding Tea’s Presence, at New York’s Floating Mountain

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Today on Talking Tea we’re witnessing tea history brought into the present at the serenely beautiful Floating Mountain teahouse in New York City, where ongoing programs on tea history and tea meditation are opening fresh perspectives on tea preparation and on tea as a contemplative practice.   Read the full show notes

Dong Ding: Everything Taiwanese Tea Has to Offer

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Today we welcome back to Talking Tea Shiuwen Tai of Seattle’s Floating Leaves tea to chat about one of our favorite teas, Taiwan’s celebrated Dong Ding oolong.

Shiuwen believes that Dong Ding represents everything that Taiwan has to offer in terms of producing tea, and we chat about the qualities that make Dong Ding unique in this capacity. We discuss three basic styles of Dong Ding – traditional, fragrant and charcoal roasted – and together we taste and compare both a traditional and a charcoal roasted Dong Ding.  Read the full show notes

Ambassadors of Tea

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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

An Intro to Cultivar and Origin

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When we serious tea drinkers start to broaden our knowledge of tea, we often encounter two terms that can seem mysterious or confusing: cultivar and origin. What is a tea cultivar, and why is it important? And what exactly does the origin of the tea refer to, and why should we care?  Read the full show notes

Two Tea Podcasters Walk Into a Bar…

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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

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

Arriving At The Source

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Most tea consumers never have the opportunity to visit the source of the teas we drink – the tea growers and tea makers in the various tea-producing regions around the world. So here at Talking Tea we’ve been wanting to hear an insider’s take on sourcing trips, to get an idea of what sourcing trips are like and what tea retailers look for when they source their teas.  Read the full show notes