I enjoy the time I spend on my own in our cupping room, studying, scrutinizing, and slurping as I evaluate current and new teas. As part of the job, I’m afforded the opportunity to get to know familiar teas in more depth as well as experience new teas. However, it is also satisfying to share one’s excitement with others, discussing obvious “notes” and illusive “hints.” Is it banana or currant, spinach or asparagus, gardenia or orchid? Even though such discussion may not yield definitive answers, there is something special about sharing the process of discovery.

Of course, tea also plays a more subtle role in all kinds of social interactions. Sharing cups of tea with a friend while wrangling with life’s challenges; sipping tea while in a meeting discussing business; guzzling gallons of iced tea at rambunctious summer family gatherings; toasting with cups of tea while having dinner with a table full of new friends – the list never ends. Tea has the power to bring people together in a way few things can. Strangers become fast friends over tea. People from different cultures and languages come to understand each other while sharing tea.

Last year at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas (yes, a year has passed already), the International Tea Cuppers Club and T Ching hosted a “Cup Warming” gathering of members, friends, and tea lovers. It was attended by a wide range of tea people, including tea farmers and producers, publishers, retailers, writers, exporters, distributors, and consumers – tea lovers one and all. It was so nice to meet so many different people all joined by a common passion. It is only natural that with a meeting of such fervent tea drinkers there be some blatant tea tasting going on.

At this year’s World Tea Expo, the ITCC is again sponsoring a gathering and is inviting members, friends, friends of friends, and even politicians to socialize and “cup” some wonderful teas. Following the tea ceremony demonstration on Friday, June 1, we will start sipping in the tea-tasting session room at 6:30 PM. There will be specially selected teas from India, Japan, China, and perhaps elsewhere, time permitting. Please contact the ITCC director for more information and to let us know you’ll be coming at info@teacuppers.com. There is no charge other than your smile.