Who is Pearl Dexter?
If you are a new tea lover, that your journey with specialty tea began after 2012, it can be understood that she flew under your radar, even though her passion and her work laid the foundation for a niche industry in fine teas that we continue to build on today. While she is a poet, photographer, teacher, business consultant, and writer, she is best known as the creator and editor of Tea A Magazine. The magazine was first published in 1994 and continued until 2012 when she sold it and it evolved into a digital resource, Daily Tea.
What is striking , reading through the dozens of back issues, is how the articles are still relevant and timely. Even twenty years later. Through this we can appreciate Pearl Dexter’s tremendous contributions. T Ching has begun publishing a series of articles that focus on women who have made meaningful and lasting contributions to the tea industry. Her lifetime of work in tea education is a contribution that we want to recognize and make part of the history we’re preserving.
Tea A Magazine (1994-2012)
In the early days of specialty tea in the U.S., with exciting new teas finally becoming available, tea lovers were excited about all things tea. Tea writers and educators needed ways to share their experience. And speciality tea businesses needed ways to advertise to an interested community. The articles were about travel to tea producing countries and remote tea fields. There were recipes for teatime favorites and guides to brew memorable cups of tea. Tea A Magazine was an opportunity for us to meet some of the leaders in artisan tea as they contributed articles. And we followed the journeys of early tea entrepreneurs plying their passion for tea with creative retail designs.
It was an event in the lives of most of us tea lovers who felt a little lonely in a coffee-dominated world. As new editions arrived in our mailboxes, we would quickly carve out time for a favorite brew and a quick scan of the latest news from Tealand. Tea A Magazine helped us feel like a community. We learned more. We were inspired to travel to domestic tea locations and to exotic and remote fields.
Pearl Dexter was one of these writers and educators but she was also a visionary who recognized the need for a magazine and set the standards for tea journalism and inspired online blogs and magazines like T Ching. She created Tea A Magazine. Publishing for eighteen year, she and her team created more than sixty editions that are now collectors items. Dexter recently announced that she would make some of these collector editions available as complete sets of 62 issues. Only six editions are not included in this set. With limited sets available, it is a rare opportunity to collect some of our own tea history. (Those of us who have our complete sets aren’t likely to part with them any time soon.)
Pearl Dexter on YouTube
For those of you who missed the opportunity to meet her in person at one of her new business training sessions or at one of the World Tea Expos, you can still get a flavor of her dynamic personality through her YouTube Video series. Her enthusiasm for tea. And her infectious flair and exuberance for living each day. She is one of the women in our specialty tea lineage who helped make each cup more meaningful and a daily tea practice one of the bright moments of the day.