The Sencha Episode

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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

Tea, Heart to Heart

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This week on Talking Tea we return to the Tea Institute at Penn State University to explore the evolution and burgeoning growth of interest in Japanese tea ceremony study at the Institute and beyond, and the transformative nature of tea ceremony practice. We first chat with Drew Hanson, founding instructor of the Urasenke program at the Institute. Drew talks with us about his own journey from art to tea, the history and development of the Japanese track at the Institute, and changing demographics and perspectives among students of Japanese tea ceremony.  Read the full show notes

New Visions in Japanese Tea

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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

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

Tea, Zen, Awareness

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

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

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