Today on Talking Tea we’re exploring a tea origin and tea culture we haven’t yet visited on the show. Turkish tea isn’t widely known outside of Turkey, even though Turkey is a significant tea producer and has one of the largest per capita tea consumption rates in the world. To introduce us to this unique tea and tea culture, we’re joined by Aimée Lévesque, owner and founder of Le bruit de l’eau, an online and brick-and-mortar tea house located in Rimouski, Quebec.
Aimée tells us about her own tea journey and the impetus for her starting a tea house in her home town of Rimouski, located on the St. Lawrence River about 500 km northeast of Montreal. And then we delve into Turkish tea. We discuss the history of tea production in Turkey, from early attempts at tea growing to the establishing of tea agriculture in the Rize region of northeastern Turkey, as well as the influence of Georgian tea and the use of assamica and sinensis cultivars in tea production. We chat about Turkish tea culture, which is ubiquitous in Turkey, the uses and benefits of the uniquely shaped Turkish tea glasses, and methods of brewing Turkish tea, especially in the traditional tea pot known as a çaydanlık.
After nearly a year hiatus from releasing new episodes, and nearing what’s hopefully the end of a worldwide pandemic, we’re very happy to welcome back Robert Coons to talk with us about tea as a medium for meditation and health, from a Daoist viewpoint. Robert is a well-known teacher and writer on Daoist meditation, a tea vendor, an acupuncturist and practitioner of qigong and martial arts, and was our guest two years ago in our episode “Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections”. He’s about to launch an online course on tea meditation, so we took this opportunity to get an overview of Robert’s perspectives on tea as a meditation practice.
When a friend who’s a longtime Buddhist meditation teacher asked me recently if “emptiness” comes into our study and practice of chado, the Japanese way of tea, I didn’t quite know how to answer. On Talking Tea we had chatted a bit about emptiness in a Daoist context, and its relation to tea, in our episode Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections, and we touched on some of the connections between tea and Buddhism in a few of our earlier episodes. But I hadn’t thought about how, or if, emptiness comes into play in the specific practices of the Japanese way of tea.
To explore this question further, we asked Drew Hanson, an instructor in the Urasenke school of chado and founder/owner of the Boukakuan Japanese Tea House in New Jersey, to join us again on Talking Tea. (Drew was our guest in two earlier Talking Tea episodes, Tea, Heart to Heart and Chabana: Flowers for Tea.)
There’s a certain novelty factor to bamboo pu’er – sheng or shou pu’er packed and (usually) aged in a bamboo tube. It’s not the way we usually acquire our pu’er, and it can be both challenging and fun to crack open the bamboo log and see what’s inside. But aside from the novelty, are bamboo pu’ers worth exploring for serious tea drinkers?
To look inside the bamboo log a little more deeply, we’re joined once again today on Talking Tea by John Wetzel, founder and owner of Stone Leaf Teahouse in Middlebury, Vermont. Specifically we’re focusing on one bamboo pu’er, a 2016 sheng from Naka Shan.
For quite some time we’ve been wanting to explore Korean tea culture on Talking Tea, so we’re very happy to be joined in this episode by Brother Anthony of Taizé, a prolific writer, translator and teacher and co-author of two notable books on Korean tea, The Korean Way of Tea and Korean Tea Classics.
Today we’re exploring connections between tea and Daoism, the millenia-old Chinese religious and philosophical tradition that has had such a profound influence on culture and history in and beyond China. We’re joined by Robert Coons, who straddles both the tea world and the world of Daoism. Robert is a well-known tea vendor based in Canada and China and is also a writer, teacher and podcaster on Daoism, qigong and Daoist meditation. Read the full show notes
In this episode we’re at the 2020 Toronto Tea Festival and its kick-off event, Kevin Gascoyne’s Rare Tea Tasting. Kevin is an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the tea industry, a co-owner of the Montreal-based Camellia Sinensis Teahouse and a frequent guest on Talking Tea, and this is just the second time Kevin has presented a tasting in this format. Read the full show notes
When a listener requested an episode about teapots. we realized that this was a topic we haven’t really delved into on Talking Tea. And having attended one of tea blogger, writer and teacher Scott Norton’s incredibly comprehensive seminars on yixing teaware, we invited Scott to join us for an in-depth overview of teapots, their design elements, their history and how to best match your teapots with your teas. Read the full show notes
Today we’re exploring a bit of tea science on Talking Tea. We’re joined by Eric Scott, a tea scientist and researcher at Tufts University, to chat about some of the ways a basic understanding of the science of tea can benefit us as tea consumers and tea professionals, and to get a glimpse into the research Eric is doing on the effects of climate change on tea and tea markets.Read the full show notes
We’re delving into some sticky topics today on Talking Tea as we look at the roles mass marketing, gender, racism and modern British history have played in shaping tea markets and tea culture in the West. Joining us is historian Erika Rappaport, author of the recently published book A Thirst For Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World. Erika’s work as a historian focuses in the areas of gender, consumer culture and British history, and “A Thirst for Empire” delves into all of these areas in looking at the forces that shaped tea culture and tea markets in the West. Read the full show notes