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

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

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

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

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

Talkin’ Matcha, Part 2: How To Make It

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Have you been wondering how to make a bowl of matcha without the ritual of a formal tea ceremony? How to get a smooth, frothy lime-green foam that looks and tastes great? Talking Tea is here to help. In Part 2 of Talkin’ Matcha, tea blogger Tyas Huybrechts explains how to make a fine bowl of matcha in a few easy steps.  Read the full show notes

Talkin’ Matcha, Part 1

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This week Talking Tea talks matcha with Tyas Huybrechts, founder and blogger at Tea Talk, a blog devoted entirely to Japanese green teas. Matcha, a powdered green tea that’s whisked into a frothy brew, is fast becoming the caffeinated drink of choice among many in the West, and Tyas tells us about matcha’s history and cultural background in Japan, how it’s grown and processed, and what to look for in buying quality matcha.   Read the full show notes