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

Bitten By the Bug: Oriental Beauty, With Té Company

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To kick off Talking Tea’s fourth season, we’re at Té Company, an exquisite teahouse in New York’s West Village, talking about an exquisite tea – the aptly named Oriental Beauty.  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

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

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

The Qi of Tea: Tea’s Healing and Spiritual Qualities

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You might think we’re having an identity crisis this week on Talking Tea, since our host and guest on this week’s podcast share the same name. In this week’s show our host and producer Ken Cohen chats with renowned qigong master and author Ken Cohen, who also writes and lectures extensively about the health benefits of tea. 

Ken shares his personal tea journey with us, talks about both the health benefits and the spiritual benefits of tea from the perspectives of Western science and traditional Chinese medicine, discusses how our connection with nature and poetry influences our enjoyment of tea, and explains how the intention, heart and spirit we bring to the preparation and drinking of tea change not only our experience of tea, but also our relationship with the world.   Read the full show notes