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Tea story continued

Tea story continued

This is Part 2 of Michael’s tea story. You can click the first link in the first sentence, or the link at the end of this post to read the first installment.

The rest was history, after drinking my first cup of Jasmine I was hooked on loose leaf tea. I would drink my cheap Jasmine tea every day, experimenting with different steeping times to find what I liked best. The next step for me was ordering loose

Backyard tea growing

Backyard tea growing

A few years ago, my sister gave me a dozen Indian tea seeds as a Christmas present. I had no idea how to go about growing a tea seed and I let them sit in my tea cabinet for 6 months. About that time, I started hearing about US grown tea

Flashback Friday: tea and breakfast!

Flashback Friday: tea and breakfast!

Many of us love to start our day with tea. Just tea! The variety of choices here is as wide as the world of tea! Many people like to start their day with a green or an oolong tea, but there are others of us who prefer to hit the morning hours with a nice strong pot of Pu’erh, Assam, or Breakfast Blend. Some of this choice has to do with flavor preferences,

One book = many books

One book = many books

Do you have a tea story you’d love to see published? Have you ever thought about publishing your own book? 81% of Americans say they want to write a book! Isn’t that a startling statistic? Is 81% of the population actually doing it? NO!

Transcendence

Transcendence

Living here in Miaoli and serving at the Center every day, the only opportunity I have for any interactions with people who aren’t into tea or spiritual work is in the workplace. I’ve been at my current job for one year now, and although I don’t talk much with anyone, over time they’ve reached the obvious conclusion that I’m a weirdo with mixed-up priorities.

World Tea Expo 2015

World Tea Expo 2015

Air is the key to the success in tea business – this is what I learned on this trip. Air helps deliver the fresh tea in the water – which is the mother of tea. This may sound new to many in the trade, but it is the truth. Removal of moisture from green leaf is the manufacture of tea, whereas addition of moisture back is the brewing of tea. This whole process of moisture removal and addition is to give shelf life while keeping the desired

Going to tea

Going to tea

You’re going out to tea today,
Be careful what you do;
Let all accounts that I shall hear,
Be pleasant ones, of you.

Mastery: why tea tastes different when they make it

Mastery: why tea tastes different when they make it

As a boy, I spent a great amount of time in my grandmother’s kitchen. We would talk about life and she would do her best to teach me how to prepare meals. “As a host, you only need to know one or two recipes really well and learn how to make them delicious.”

Transcendence

Bowl 8: Grace and beauty; gong fu tea

Our tea life isn’t just about a greater connection to Nature through the Leaf, but an attunement with our self as well. We must therefore cultivate both inner and outer harmony, a flow from the absolute into the relative. We learn this flow through the practice

The Huntington Revisited

The Huntington Revisited

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, or simply the Huntington, has been featured in several T Ching posts. Even poems in the style of the seventeen-syllable haiku were composed to commemorate its Japanese Garden’s 2012 reopening.

Marriages made in tea and dessert heaven

Marriages made in tea and dessert heaven

During my recent presentation at the World Tea Expo in Long Beach, CA., I paired five teas with five sweets proving that sometimes our preconceived notions can be turned upside down. I know implicitly that smoky black teas work beautifully with dark chocolate in a dessert and delicate white teas bring out the best in fruity baked concoctions like the

Nepal earthquake: tea reaches out

Nepal earthquake: tea reaches out

Two devastating earthquakes occurred in Nepal between April 25 and May 13. Words fail to describe the loss of life, damage to thousands of sites secular and sacred, injury – and the difficulty for victims accessing fresh water, food, medical attention, and basic supplies.

Transcendence

Bowl 7: Connection to the great nature, bowl tea

The Leaf is the highest of scriptures. In tea we read sutras written not in the language of man, but that of the mountain and forest, earth and air, brook, stream, sunshine and moonshine. These leaves contain vast tomes, if we but learn to speak their language.

Youth choose TEA

Youth choose TEA

When I started T Ching back in 2006, it was a direct result of my growing awareness about the health benefits of tea. Those of you who ever clicked on “about us,” are aware of this mission: “T Ching was born out of a concern for the declining state of health in the United States and abroad and the recognition that drinking tea was a simple and effective

Flashback Friday:  grow your own!

Flashback Friday: grow your own!

Curious enough – or serious enough – about Camellia sinensis to try growing your own? Even the thought of such a venture brings back fond memories of my father’s culinary adventures. The homemade root beer phase was a real hit with the neighborhood kids, especially since Dad bottled the brew in “stubbies,” or eleven ounce glass beer bottles.

Tea infused candy the next big thing?

Tea infused candy the next big thing?

I’ve been reading about tea for years and working with tea for years. The absolute breadth of possibilities with tea is amazing and one application is in candy-making. We carried tea-infused bars when we had our store in Temecula years ago, but it’s been

A brief outline of standards for Specialty Tea

A brief outline of standards for Specialty Tea

Since last November, I have been talking to a broad spectrum of people about standards for quality. Through these discussions, I have interacted with a wide and varied demographic – from consumers to producers and every group in between. What has been most surprising to me is just how many people had only a vague idea about what

Tea at sea?

Tea at sea?

During my most recent weekend getaway, while having breakfast at Crown Princess’s Horizon Court on Deck 15, I noticed the self-serve beverage station’s teabag teas. I asked a server if there were other tea services on board. My low expectation was met of course

Bowl Five: Physical well-being, diet and movement

Bowl Five: Physical well-being, diet and movement

t is unfortunate that much of the world has taken to compartmentalizing life: body for the doctors, mind for the psychiatrists and spirit for religion. True healing is a unification of these false barriers. A life of tea is a life, and applies equally to all aspects of truth.

The specialty tea manifesto

The specialty tea manifesto

The tea industry is a fifty billion dollar a year business whose fastest growing sector is called ‘Specialty Tea.’ ‘Specialty Tea.’ must be defined to establish value and give meaning to the term.

Bowl Five: Physical well-being, diet and movement

Bowl Four: Cleanliness and Purity

Reverence and purity facilitate a life of tea, and the communication of peace and wisdom through tea. Purity functions on all levels, from the body to the tea room, the spirit and the mind. We must respect the space and being-ness all around us, keeping our homes,

US League of tea growers membership drive

US League of tea growers membership drive

Brookhaven, MS – The US League of Tea Growers (USLTG) is excited to announce we will begin accepting members in April 2015! There are a number of levels to meet membership needs, and by becoming a member you are providing the much needed funds to assist in the mission of the league:

ITCC at WTE in LB . . . and other acronyms

ITCC at WTE in LB . . . and other acronyms

For tea lovers attending the World Tea Expo in Long Beach May 6-8, ITCC (International Tea Cuppers Club) will host their 6th Annual Cup Warming event. This year, the tea tasting social will be conducted on the main events stage on Friday, May 8, from 1:00 – 2:00.

Bowl Five: Physical well-being, diet and movement

Bowl Three: humility and gratitude, study, contemplation, prayer

All liturgies are in truth consummation and proclamation of a state of being—making the invisible become visible on the physical level. We make altars to our own inner truths. Bowing to the Buddha, I bow to awakening and stillness in me. I learn humility before the Divinity in me, and then begin to learn from the wisdom of those people, places and things

Tea travels

Tea travels

Tribute teas were prepared for the emperors. To do that, the leaf plucked had to be of the finest type which were then shaped by the most skillful fingers of the artisans. It was this message that Austin Hodge carried to India during his first trip to India during March of 2015. His message was heard loud and clear by the Tea Board of India and Tea Research

The memorial service for Steven Smith

The memorial service for Steven Smith

My dad, born in 1917, was a guy who used handkerchiefs. Along with hats, handkerchiefs were his constant companions. I remember on a bad allergy day, he would wave the hankie out the window while driving the car to help dry it out. One particularly stuffy day in Florence, Italy, we noticed cars pulling over and letting us pass. Apparently a white flag

Flashback: alphabet of teas

Flashback: alphabet of teas

One of the most fascinating aspects of the marvelous world of tea is the vast opportunity to pun our favorite beverage. How many of you tea drinkers find your “creativi – tea” and your “generosi-tea” aided for the better by the “availabili- tea” of the good brew? Yep. Thought so.

Tea-ing gratefully

Tea-ing gratefully

Tea has taken me on a journey to many actual destinations but above all to a place of calm–quiet, restorative, relaxing and solitary. The mere act of taking time to brew a proper cup of tea from fresh, premium quality leaves calms me, centers me, focusing my attentions away from the stresses, intensities

Bowl Five: Physical well-being, diet and movement

Eight bowls of a life of tea – part 1

Our tradition is based on a life of tea, and whether as tea monks who are committed full time or householders who may only devote a portion of their energies to this Way of Tea, the goal is the same: awakening and presence through tea. This life and practice is to help cultivate our own inner wisdom, and to then share our inner peace with others in the true spirit of tea—leaves and water offered freely in recognition of the oneness of Being, and the healing power in commune with Nature and each other.

The online tea companies bubble!

The online tea companies bubble!

I have been closely associated with the tea industry for 17 years now. The change in the speciality tea industry has been one of the most noticeable new achievements for our small tea world.

The next wave for tea?

The next wave for tea?

This morning I read an article by Jacob Jeber, son of Phil Jeber of Philz Coffee. If you haven’t heard of Philz yet, you probably will very soon. They just received a huge infusion of venture capital from people who normally invest only in technology, people like top executives in companies such as Yahoo.

He will be missed

He will be missed

It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Steve Smith on Monday. As I was unaware that he had been suffering with liver cancer, I was caught completely off guard by the news of his death. I’ve felt a cloud hovering over me all day. I can’t stop thinking about this wonderful man and his contribution to tea both in Oregon,

Transcendence

Birthdays

Wu De is fond of saying that with the medicine of one plant, it is possible to tap into the medicines of all plants. I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. I’ve also found that my interactions with various medicinal plants has fueled my dialogue with Tea and that, conversely, my interactions

NPR launches tea Tuesdays

NPR launches tea Tuesdays

In February, NPR launched Tea Tuesdays, an occasional series that explore the science, history, culture and economics of tea. The posts also appear in NPR Science Desk’s food blog The Salt.

TBF: ten essentials for the tea drinker

TBF: ten essentials for the tea drinker

Wildfire. Tornado. Hurricane. Earthquake. Imagine having five minutes to pack up what you value – as well as what you might need – as you prepare to be a refugee. Everyone grabs the photo albums and the poodle. Those items go with you without thought.

Last chance to vote for T Ching!

Last chance to vote for T Ching!

Don’t you hate those on-line surveys which ask you to do one thing, and just a click and a half later you are in a maze of self-help windows? Just one tentative click – and Whooooosh. The survey to nominate the Bests,

Bowl Five: Physical well-being, diet and movement

The Seeker

There have always been seekers. People dissatisfied with the normal view. People searching for more meaningful vantage points. Wandering down the same worn paths looking for teachers, looking for answers. It was like that long ago too.

The tea boat to China

The tea boat to China

Today I sold my car. Tomorrow I’m going to pack up my house and put all my belongings in storage. At 9 AM the following day I’m going to get on a plane for Taiwan. I plan to spend several days there finding tea farms and teaware, and then take an actual boat across the Strait of Taiwan to mainland China.

TBF:  Real fake Anshun?

TBF: Real fake Anshun?

With its endless mountains, abundant rainfall and pure environment, China’s Southwest Guizhou (Gway Joe) province is a perfect location for growing tea bushes. However, despite a long history of tea cultivation, the province is little known in the West. Even within China it takes a distant back seat to other places like Yunnan, Sichuan, Fujian and Zhejiang.

Teabags: the gateway brew

Teabags: the gateway brew

Whole leaf enthusiasts know the exquisite difference between a cup of carefully steeped whole leaf – part ritual, part alchemy, part spirituality – and half careful attention to detail. We also know how convenient tea bags are. In desperate circumstances, we will buy a

US Tea Growing: new agribusiness brewing up a storm!

US Tea Growing: new agribusiness brewing up a storm!

Mt. Vernon, Texas – Can you grow tea in the US? Yes! A recent tour of Southern US tea estates by growers, educators, retailers, and enthusiasts proves that a giant is about to awaken. According to consumer goods research firm, Packaged Facts, domestic tea sales at restaurants, grocery stores, and shops are up nearly 32% from 2007. Sales last

Tea and the art of being present

Tea and the art of being present

As a good friend of mine recently discovered, competing with the allure of a smartphone or tablet can be a losing proposition. She had looked forward to a friend’s visit only to find that friend hooked on one of the many addictive online games…

Back seven: green badge of courage

Back seven: green badge of courage

Some of the most neurotic people I know are regular tea drinkers (they also happen to be some of the greatest people I know.) So which came first: The “mentally-fit” tea drinkers, or the neurotics? Is tea-drinking becoming a badge of health, or an acknowledgment that you’re “medicating” or trying to lose weight?

Humble beginnings: my tea story, part one

Humble beginnings: my tea story, part one

My story begins where all good stories should, the beginning. My story begins with Hornepayne were I was born and raised. Hornepayne is a town of less than one thousand people located in northern Ontario. People in Hornepayne like to say that it snows eight months of year and rains the other four. One would think that good warm tea would

Bihar: the untapped potential

Bihar: the untapped potential

When the Indian Tea Board declared four blocks of the Kishangunj district, namely Pothia, Thakurgunj, Bahadurgunj, and Kishangunj itself (from the far northeastern corner of Bihar bordering with North Bengal and Eastern Nepal) in 1999 as a non-traditional tea growing area

What is commodity tea?

What is commodity tea?

In my last post I discussed the various definitions of specialty tea with little to no resolution of what ultimately defines specialty tea. Since then, I have spoken with many leaders in the tea industry who have given me the idea that one may be better able to understand specialty tea if they first understand commodity tea.

Mom, me, and tea

Mom, me, and tea

My mom passed away recently. She is on my mind every day. How does that relate to a tea blog? It’s an important part of my personal tea story. It was the end of a very long adventure the two of us lived together.