Now that summer is officially over, the events calendar in New York is heating up, and many of the recent activities were tea based. Curtis Vreeland, who writes about chocolate industry trends, contacted me to propose a â€œtea and chocolate crawlâ€ in preparation for an article he was researching about confections made with matcha tea. I was pleased that he was delighted with the hand-made confections at Chaâ€™An, one of my favorite tea houses. I saw the chef, Ms. Kato, the very next night at The Rubin Museum where Cool Grove Press launched their new book â€œTEA- Legend, Life and Livelihood of India,â€ by G.P. Baroowah.
The evening began with a formal Japanese Tea Ceremony, followed by remarks, about the state of tea in America, from Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Association of the USA. Chris Cason, owner of the trendy Tavalon Tea Bar, spoke about teaâ€™s growing appeal to young customers. He and Ms. Kato provided premium loose-leaf teas and refreshments for the event. Sari clad women presented the Tea Garden Jhumur Dance which mimics pluckersâ€™ movements. It brought back fond memories of my visit to Indian tea plantations in Darjeeling and Assam. The women in Darjeeling told me that one might pick a flower, but that tea is always plucked. Pluckers sing to the plants because all living things thrive on love.
It seems that the people of Tokyo and New York are bound together in more ways than one. Tea lovers from the sister cities met at the Nippon Club to celebrate a ceramics competition and enjoy a traditional tea ceremony presented in a room complete with tatami mats, calligraphy scroll, flower arrangement and lovely tea things. Our guide told us that men use a purple cloth, and women a red one, to clean all utensils before use. Wiping with the cloth also symbolizes â€œwiping the heart clean.â€
Come tour with me to learn more about the hundreds of ways to experience tea in New York City while sipping and shopping. The Chinese Tea Traditions Tour is next offered Oct.2nd and the English & French Tea Traditions on Oct. 23rd.