A “Tea Cave” in Vermont

20181223_115135

Today Talking Tea is in Middlebury, Vermont, at Stone Leaf Teahouse, a unique tea space in this bucolic town. Joining us is John Wetzel, founder and owner of Stone Leaf.

The town of Middlebury may be best known for being the home of Middlebury College, but since its founding 10 years ago Stone Leaf has also become well-known in and beyond Middlebury for the quality of its teas and for the warmth and tranquility of its teahouse. We chat with John about Stone Leaf’s origins, how he developed his vision for the space and for the company, and how he drew on both US coffee culture and tea culture in Asia and Europe as influences for his design. The teahouse sits partially underground (it’s built into a slope), and though John half-jokingly calls it a sort of “tea cave”, he also explains how he used this feature as part of his design, to create a space well-suited for the storage, preparation and enjoyment of tea, a space that allows for both focus and connection.

Stone Leaf carries a wide variety of teas, and we chat about one of their newest teas, a hongcha (red tea, known as black tea in the West) from Alishan in Taiwan. Alishan is usually known for its oolongs, and this tea is in fact made from the oolong Jin Xuan cultivar. We talk about the use of this cultivar in making a hongcha, the influence of cultivar and terroir on the tea’s flavor, aroma and appearance, and about emerging trends in making new styles of teas from cultivars and regions traditionally associated with different varieties.

More information about Stone Leaf, including the location of the teahouse, its online store and special event info, is at its website, stoneleaftea.com. You can  also find Stone Leaf on Instagram at stoneleafteahouse  and on Facebook at Stone Leaf Teahouse

 

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken  

more about Talking Tea 

Sign up for our email list to get updates on new episodes and events.

 

The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.

 

This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

 

Image of interior of Stone Leaf Teahouse, courtesy of Stone Leaf Teahouse.

Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.

Pairing Tea and…Cheese?

 

IMG_0985

Most everyone is familiar with pairing wine and cheese, but pairing tea and cheese is much less well known and less understood. (By the way, that’s tea in the glass in the photo above, not wine.) Some tea drinkers may even find the idea of tea and cheese pairing a bit counterintuitive, if not a bit, well, odd. But at Talking Tea we’ve experienced some delicious pairings of tea with cheese, so we wanted to explore the issue more in depth.  Read the full show notes

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

Silver needle leaves

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

TT Gua Pian

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