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Over 450 articles discussing every level of the tea industry

Ruhani Sandhu

Ruhani Sandhu

“Every day I drink a different tea and I give my full attention to what I am drinking to focus on the flavors within it…”

A Very Brief History of Iranian Tea

A Very Brief History of Iranian Tea

In recent months I came across two Iranian films: “A Separation”, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, and a film entitled, “This Is Not a Film.”

PA Tea Festival 2021

PA Tea Festival 2021

The 6th Annual Pennsylvania Tea Festival took place in historic downtown Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania…

Celebrate National Iced Tea Month

Celebrate National Iced Tea Month

Today is the first day of Iced Tea Month and Thursday, June 10th is Iced Tea Day. According to Joe Simrany, past president of the Tea Association of...

World Tea Expo: Virtual Summit 2021

World Tea Expo: Virtual Summit 2021

Continuing their efforts to support specialty tea businesses, World Tea made an impressive Covid pivot last October with their first Virtual Summit...

True Tea Crimes

True Tea Crimes

Unlawful operations in China strive to perfect the art of counterfeit teas, as well as other tea crimes.

Aesthete Tea

Aesthete Tea

A week ago, a dear friend gifted me with an ounce of Aesthete Tea’s Golden Milk. The tisane is a warming and heady blend, filling me with its...

Interview: Olive Leaf Tea

Interview: Olive Leaf Tea

We recently got the chance to learn a little bit about olive leaf tea from Barbara Hare, co-owner of Baroness Olive Oil. Please enjoy! ( Please note...

How can a tea festival be virtual?

How can a tea festival be virtual?

The 2020 International Virtual Tea Festival (was the Chicago International Tea Festival) can now build on what some of the other tea organizations have done over the last six months, IVTF is offering a weekend tea marketplace along with meetings and webinars and some interactive fun.

Drinking Tea Virtually

Drinking Tea Virtually

Guest contribution by: Jennifer Brenner, Director of TeaFestPDX For many of us who run tea festivals, it was a hard decision this year to cancel...

Tea Trends of 2020

Tea Trends of 2020

Every year I write this article with enthusiasm for a world of possibilities for tea in the coming year, but this year is a little different. 2020...

Tea is the Life of the Party

Tea is the Life of the Party

The past eight years of my life have been a continuous tea party. I didn’t pursue this life because I loved tea, I pursued this life because I want...

A Standard of Transparency

A Standard of Transparency

The tea market and the industry have made it clear that transparency is the way of the future - but what is transparency? I have been building a...

Los Angeles Tea Festival

Los Angeles Tea Festival

“Your Passport to the World of Tea” LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: The Los Angeles Tea Festival comes to Los Angeles on August 10th and 11th as one of the...

Modern Mechanical Tea Harvest

Modern Mechanical Tea Harvest

Author on the Japanese mechanical tea harvester Ureshino City, Japan Ureshino is the home of the oldest tea tree in Japan -- planted 400 years ago...

Kyobancha, the Winter Warmer

Kyobancha, the Winter Warmer

Return to T Ching Classics: Winter Tea There’s nothing like the smell of a wood-burning open fire in the dead of winter to make you feel warm and...

Top Beverage Picks for 2019

Top Beverage Picks for 2019

I'm always fascinated to learn what the beverage industry thinks is going to be a hit each year. 2019 is predicted to be even more exciting then...

teaBOT Is Missing

teaBOT Is Missing

The teaBOT team describes its creation, via website, as: “...robotic kiosks that allow users to order a custom cup of loose-leaf tea and share their...

Five Years of Blogging About Tea

Five Years of Blogging About Tea

It’s been five years that I’ve been writing a blog about tea–the time flies.  I wrote about how tea culture seems to be changing last year so I’ll go into how my own perspective and experience of tea has changed instead.

China Tea Fairs

China Tea Fairs

China is not only the origin of tea but is the largest tea producer, consumer, and marketer in the world. Where the Western tea-consuming countries...

Wild Organic Yuzu-cha

When you scan the grocery tea isles in the West, one thing that stands out is the growing trend in flavored green teas. There’s mint, pomegranate,...

FUNmatsucha

FUNmatsucha

The real joy of being based in Japan and sourcing teas directly from farmers and wholesalers is that we get to see behind the scenes. We get...

Craft Tea

Craft Tea

Are you familiar with H.R. 1337? It was signed by President Jimmy Carter only four decades ago, in 1978, and contains the following amendment:...

Shiraore or Karigane?

Shiraore or Karigane?

The answer is BOTH! It’s a regional thing: Shiraore is for folks in Kyushu, while those posh folks from Kyoto call it Karigane! Both come under the...

Swadeshi

Swadeshi

My first exposure to Indian culture and history was in a modern Indian history class in college. One of the most impressionable terms I learned from...

What Number Is Your Tea?

What Number Is Your Tea?

As the season changes here in Japan, you never quite know whether to bring an umbrella or pull out the sunscreen. But one thing is for sure...it’s...

Rajiv Lochan and Doke

Rajiv Lochan and Doke

Rajiv Lochan was born in a tea garden in December 1953, and ever since has tried to do something different. Destiny took him to different corners of...

More direct tea sourcing

More direct tea sourcing

This is an edited section of a very long write-up about Tea Advice for Beginners.  The general theme is more direct vendor sourcing options--how to...

The first Spanish tea harvest

The first Spanish tea harvest

An online friend, Alicia Ocha, was recently a part of the first commercial tea harvest and production in Spain. That is, as far as she knows, but...

Heavy metals in tea?

Heavy metals in tea?

We all know the health benefits of tea, and in most cases there are few side effects unless you drink in extreme quantities. Heavy metal exposure,...

Not So Green Anymore?

Not So Green Anymore?

by GV Shashidhar Middle Eastern imports at 218,470  metric tons of tea in 2015 compared to 226,930 in 2014. In 2010, it was 250,000 metric tons of...

Moving on in business

Moving on in business

A short time ago, I received my final K-1 on a business a female partner and I incorporated in 2004. The business plan was tight, the recipes I'd...

Doke & Japan

Doke & Japan

Astringency in India teas - be it Darjeeling or green teas - makes them less attractive to the people of China & Japan. But this time during...

A Sencha with a Twist

A Sencha with a Twist

As you probably already know, Shizuoka is one of the largest tea producing regions in Japan. At the end of October, the city hosted its tri-annual...

Facebook Finger….

Facebook Finger….

World Tea Expo 2016 in Vegas witnessed a most dangerous disease. After a much-delayed six-flight journey through China, over incessant rain and...

The New Tea Party

The New Tea Party

Over the past decade or so music festivals around the world have seen more and more tea lounges and tea servers. These welcome additions to the art...

From Teaopia to CitizenTea

From Teaopia to CitizenTea

Does the name David Bellisario sound familiar?  If not, does the name Teaopia?  Teavana?  How about Starbucks?   If the name Starbucks doesn't, we...

It’s Time to CHILL!

It’s Time to CHILL!

Japan boasts a tapestry of some of the most beautiful seasonal landscapes in the world. Imagine the snow covered pagodas of Kyoto in winter, then...

Tea Evaluation and Scoring

Tea Evaluation and Scoring

News about a tea competition results awhile back started me considering what a tea competition evaluation and scoring process might be like.  As my...

Weather and Tea

Weather and Tea

I've recently noticed articles on how climate change is affecting the production of tea.  First, I noted an article on Assam's tea production being...

A Taste of Ikigai: From Pluck to Pour – Part Three

A Taste of Ikigai: From Pluck to Pour – Part Three

The sun began to rise and I with it. My current lifestyle is an exercise in regularity and balance. “Early to bed early to rise…” goes the saying. Admittedly, it wasn’t all that difficult seeing as we had a final roasting to do and a tea tasting to enjoy! We cupped seven or so different teas all before they got their final touches from the farmer.

A Taste of Ikigai: From Pluck to Pour – Part Two

A Taste of Ikigai: From Pluck to Pour – Part Two

On a fine, almost­spring Hawaiian morning, I set out with friend in tow from Hawi to Honoka’a, from the desert of the dry side of the Big Island to the food­producing rainforest side. I really couldn’t believe I was going to get to pick and process my own tea. It would be quite the understatement to say I was excited.

Shaken, not Stirred!

Shaken, not Stirred!

Kyushu is as solid as a rock! We may be shaken but we are not stirred... The ongoing earthquakes certainly make for interesting fodder over endless...

Tea and Buddha

Tea and Buddha

The following is an excerpt from a talk I gave recently: Where there is tea there has to be Buddha. The legend says it was the eyelids which were...

A Bridge of Tea

A Bridge of Tea

On January 11th, 2016 at the Delhi Book Fair a Dialogue over Chinese and Indian Black Tea was held where I and Prof. Wang Xufeng, Dean of Tea...

Tea Culture

Tea Culture

If I divide my life into segments, then broadly speaking I can categorize the first twenty years for education, the second twenty for growing tea,...

Tea Festival Life

Tea Festival Life

Recently I went to my twelfth tea festival since I started Tealet in 2012. The LA International Tea Festival was a lively congregation of local and...

Tea Culture

Sugar

YI - Young India - is a branch of the CII - Confederation of Indian Industry - meant to develop leadership qualities in budding entrepreneurs. We...

The Elusive Tea Retail Concept

The Elusive Tea Retail Concept

Dan Bolton is a writer who has covered tea stories for many publications, including World Tea News.  I always enjoy reading what he has to say about...

Just Building a Tea Shop!

Just Building a Tea Shop!

When “bending like bamboo reed” as the saying goes, sometimes you have no clue where the wind will take you. That was us at the beginning of last...

Creating the Sorapot

Creating the Sorapot

By Joey Roth As a designer, tea has always fascinated me. Its simplicity belies the universe of experience it contains. I designed the Sorapot to...

A Tea Mission

A Tea Mission

Every tea lover to some degree has taken it upon themselves to introduce the tranquility and community of tea to others around them. It is an...

Interview: Conundrum Tea

Interview: Conundrum Tea

In September of 2015, a new tea vendor called Conundrum Tea launched.  I was able to try some of their teas when they launched, and really enjoyed...

Tea is Our Lifeblood

Tea is Our Lifeblood

A few weeks ago the Tea Board of India announced that 75% of tea producers in West Bengal (home of Darjeeling) were operating at a loss. An even...

A Bridge of Tea

Tea Certificate

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more social media sites have done unparallelled work for the cause of innumerable tea businesses all over the...

The Darkness of Tea

The Darkness of Tea

As readers of this blog are aware, or soon will be, the world of tea is ancient, diverse, and deep.  The same can be said of tea’s homeland, China,...

History Repeats Itself

History Repeats Itself

A friend called today very concerned about something. Another posted a link on my Facebook. The concern was this BBC post about Assam and the...

Life of a Tea Worker

Life of a Tea Worker

 A heated debate is going on in India whether or not the tea worker is paid ‘minimum wage’ as prescribed by the annals of Government. The employers...

The Advent of “Big Tea”

The Advent of “Big Tea”

When the thought of tea jumps into mind, even in this day where the leaf seems to be cropping up everywhere, we think of quiet solitary times, times...

Why Not Splash a Bit of Tea Behind Your Ears?

Why Not Splash a Bit of Tea Behind Your Ears?

Artisanal teas are one of those bandwagons that just keeps getting bigger and better every year, so it should come as no surprise that the legions of admirers climbing on board are growing too. As often happens with…

Recognizing the Leaf

Recognizing the Leaf

We two - India and China - have a strange relation when it comes to tea. We have nothing in common except that tea came to India from China and was...

Tea Goes Public

Tea Goes Public

Two retail specialty tea concepts have become public companies since 2011.  One was Teavana, now owned by Starbucks, and one very recently joined...

We All Love Tea, We May Just See It Differently

We All Love Tea, We May Just See It Differently

If we’re here as contributors, readers or both, it’s most likely because we are fans of tea. Chef Wemischner loves to be creative with tea in recipes. Ifang Hsieh enjoys traveling and finding new tea experiences. Michelle Rabin appreciates the health and relaxation benefits

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,

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

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.

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

Ten years of tea lovin’

Ten years of tea lovin’

Los Angeles is well known for hosting events, galas, extravaganzas, concerts, and festivals, but the TEA LOVERS FESTIVAL can now boast an entire decade dedicated solely to tea lovers. Kulov Communications did it again the first weekend in May in Pasadena, Ca with grand success!

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

Speaking of tea

Speaking of tea

On our trip out to Doke Tea Farm in Bihar, we picked some leaves that were transported back to Siliguri. They get left out for 18 hours then frozen for no fewer than 18 hours. They are then rolled and dried using a very innovative process involving a hair dryer and a wooden box lined with metal.

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

Importance of seedling

Importance of seedling

There are an infinite variety of tea bushes found around the world. With the aid of modern science, planters have been looking at harvesting tea from certain types of bush found desirable for their specific needs. Some of these specifics are:

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.

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.

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 fading tea fields of Sri Lanka

The fading tea fields of Sri Lanka

During this year’s sourcing trip through Sri Lanka I took a passenger train from Ella to Colombo. The train was packed with locals in transit and tourists lining up along the window sills to snap photos of the picturesque countryside of the island nation.

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

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,

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,

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.

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

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.

Tea is a rising star

Tea is a rising star

It is with great pleasure that I report on the American Botanical Council’s Tea Report: 2014 has been a banner year with record breaking numbers in the U.S. Of particular interest to me is the strong showing for loose leaf green and white teas.

Sisters in tea: Siliguri and Lincang

Sisters in tea: Siliguri and Lincang

There is no doubt of the fact that Yunnan is the natural apogee of tea in the whole world given the location of world’s oldest tea tree in Fengqing, and tea trade routes going back several millennia.

western quality season

western quality season

Sri Lanka’s Dimbula region always inspires me. This beautiful region is found in the western part of the island. While the Dimbula region is home to some excellent tea producing sub districts such as the Golden Valley, upper Kotmale,

Taiwan tea competitions

Taiwan tea competitions

Recently I’ve had the recurring thought that part of my personal mission related to tea is to let the world know that Taiwan is the heart of specialty Oolong Tea in the 21st century. This is not a new idea, but it somehow it has felt particularly poignant lately.

Tea review: Doke autumnal 2014

Tea review: Doke autumnal 2014

This tea comes from a small producer in Bihar, south of Darjeeling. The flat tea garden, next to a river (a power plant outlet), is everything else than the almost eponymous “Darjeeling Himalayan vales” – and yet it can already rival with some of the finest Darjeelings.

Inquiring minds ask questions about specialty tea

Inquiring minds ask questions about specialty tea

A wonderful, kind, amazing man, known as The Candyman, David Klein, the originator of something you’ve all probably enjoyed – Jelly Belly jelly beans – invited me to join his Internet board of entrepreneurs recently. There is an interesting and wonderful interactive

Innovative water heater for single serve

Innovative water heater for single serve

Every once in a while a new idea is put into action and the result is nothing short of miraculous. Miito has an innovative prototype that I can’t wait to get my hands on. This ingenious induction wand marries form and function to create an

Biodynamic tea at New Moon Farm

Biodynamic tea at New Moon Farm

Lunar planting has long been practiced within the realm of agriculture. Planting by the cycles and rhythms of the moon is simple, tangible, and connecting. The influences can easily be seen in animals, plants, and soil. These effects remind us of the interplay

What is specialty tea?

What is specialty tea?

Among my peers in the tea industry there are many discussions taking place about the definition of terms like specialty tea and the use of terms like “real tea.” In his recent post, A Call for Standards, Austin Hodge brings up this very subject – which can take you down a rabbit hole of tradition and semantics.

Topping choices

Topping choices

I thought I would never write another tapioca milk tea-related post in this lifetime! Then last month in Pasadena, California, while driving through a shopping plaza’s parking lot

Tea varietals

Tea varietals

Many a “tea master” certification program will tell you that there’s a rule to what is and is not “tea”: All “true tea” comes from the same plant. This rule is an easy way to distinguish tea from herbal infusions/decoctions.

Tea as a tool for good

Tea as a tool for good

If the phrase “you are what you eat” holds true, then perhaps the same standard can be applied when tea enters the equation. Tea is not only one of the most consumed beverages in the world, but behind the scenes, there are thousands of hard-working

Adding spice to our lives

Adding spice to our lives

Chai Iced Tea, Chai Latte, Chai, Chai. The name seems to be in every coffee or tea shop these days. The word Chai is a Hindi word that means funnily enough means tea. The cup of tea with spices that we have come to love and know, is the way many millions of Indians enjoy their cup of tea.

K2K:Kolkata to Kunming

K2K:Kolkata to Kunming

On 25th November 2014, I attended the 10th edition of K2K Forum – Kolkata to Kunming – took place in Kunming, in the Yunnan province of China. The twin sister cities host the forum alternately, and this was the fourth time for me since 2010.

tea in a coffee world

tea in a coffee world

For me, the Thanksgiving holiday included an incredible day of driving along the Coast Highway in Southern California from Oceanside and down through the little towns that hug the Pacific Ocean at some of its’ most beautiful coastline like Carlsbad, Cardiff, Leucadia, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and La Jolla.

Gifts for the tea-o-phile

Gifts for the tea-o-phile

Giving gifts can be wonderful for both the recipient and the giver. Think about some of the cherished gifts you have received . . . isn’t it delightful how a thoughtful gift brings to mind the one who gave it? On the other hand, when you think of silly – or thoughtless – gifts

Tea’s third wave – call for standards

Tea’s third wave – call for standards

In the spring of 2014, Jesse Jacobs of Samovar Tea, wearing a cream-colored canvas apron over a fashionable t-shirt, announced the coming of the tea industry’s Third Wave. Can the tea industry really be on the verge of entering into a movement equivalent

A call for standards

A call for standards

The last decade has seen a boom in what the industry calls ‘Specialty Tea’, but if you ask for a definition you will come away confused. What is so special about ‘Specialty Tea’? Not much.

How tea retail works

How tea retail works

With the growing interest in tea, many tea lovers have chosen to follow their passion in becoming a tea retailer. Some may have dreams of wealth and fame, but the honest truth is that it’s a hard business and the only thing keeping them motivated is their love for tea.

Biodynamic tea at New Moon Farm

Natural tea farming

We are about an hour out of crazy-hectic central Taipei, Taiwan’s super-modern capital of 8+million. It couldn’t seem further. This is truly lush, thick Nature. We drive up a steep and winding road through ever-smaller villages and into ever-thickening forest

how to choose the perfect matcha

how to choose the perfect matcha

For those new to matcha, it can be a challenge to understand the different varieties of matcha and determine which one is right for you. We hope to help you with this guide

The world of tea comes to Xiamen

The world of tea comes to Xiamen

The Second Annual ITCC Cup Warming at the Xiamen International Tea Fair was held before an audience with a voracious interest in tea. With distinguished presenters

tea blossom

tea blossom

October 2014 saw me back in Xiamen for the tea expo but my mind was still wandering with tea blossoms which we were to enter into a technology sharing agreement with China in Beijing on October 20th.

Building a teahouse

Building a teahouse

I’m at a very exciting part of my life, because I’m getting to do something I’ve always wanted to do – create a teahouse. After a year of rapid growth my tea import company,

Fear and loathing on Wuyi Mountain

Fear and loathing on Wuyi Mountain

Austin Hodge has already written a fantastic article about Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong that contains all the historical information you could reasonably want to know about the topic. I suggest you all read it before proceeding.

Taiwan tea drink culture

Taiwan tea drink culture

This is the take-out drink store that is just next door to my apartment in Taichung, Taiwan. It also happens to be my favorite of its kind. The main

Back Seven: Meet Rajah Banerjee

Back Seven: Meet Rajah Banerjee

This post was first published on the T Ching blog almost seven years ago, on October 25, 2007. Please read yesterday’s post, by Rajiv Lochan, wherein the author establishes Banerjee’s influence on the tea industry even today.

Record Price: Makaibari

Record Price: Makaibari

When something sells extraordinarily well, eyebrows are raised. This is probably the base of branding, and it is exactly what Makaibari did –

Global Tea Hut: an exploration of red tea

Global Tea Hut: an exploration of red tea

You may be surprised to know that Red Tea is the most popular type of tea in the West. How is it that most Westerners drink Red Tea without ever having heard of Red Tea? Simple. It just isn’t usually known by that name in the West.

Canny Scots:  Coffee bust

Canny Scots: Coffee bust

This is Part 2 of Dananjaya Silva’s post about the history of tea in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Follow the link to read Part 1: Canny Scots.

Innovative tea space

Innovative tea space

Retail establishments are getting more creative. In the Pearl district of Portland Oregon, there is a terrific shop called Christopher David. It’s an interior design shop, and a floral market, and a cafe. It’s such a great space

Steepist: Think inside the box

Steepist: Think inside the box

Four beautiful pouches of whole leaf tea, complete with load-your-own environmentally friendly tea bags, arrived on my doorstep a few weeks back, from Steepist. I was reminded that a wag once said, “Freedom is the absence of choice.”

Canny scots

Canny scots

“The tea fields of Ceylon are as true a monument to courage as the lion is to Waterloo.”

American Chinese teaware

American Chinese teaware

The art of gong fu cha, the Chinese tea service, is generally practiced using a specialized tea set. Collectively called cha ju (or equipage by people who insist on using French), the instruments of gong fu cha encompass a whole spectrum of diminutive, elegant, precisely-crafted little bits and bobs.

Tea of the Pacific Northwest

Tea of the Pacific Northwest

I embarked on my first journey into the Pacific Northwest with my Tealet family Mike and Rie. We drove from our home in Las Vegas with the hopes of learning about the history of tea growing in Oregon and Washington and to connect with tea lovers

The last horse trail: Jungpana

The last horse trail: Jungpana

On 27th June 2014, I revisited Jungpana, where I lived for about six months between October of 1992 to March of 1993. Along the journey with me was Xiao Juan, of China. Xiao Juan was very much interested in seeing this tea estate:

To the storefront

To the storefront

Shopping at Costco is hardly anyone’s favorite chore. From the moment of arriving at the parking lot, to unloading bulky purchases, the entire trip is glutted with drudgery. Yet we find ourselves again and again at Costco,

Pesticides? Not in my tea!

Pesticides? Not in my tea!

Those of us who are part of the organic movement are painfully aware of the hazards of pesticides in our foods. Because we perceive tea to be a healthy beverage, we might not think about pesticides being associated with the produce.

Benefits of buying organic

Benefits of buying organic

When you buy organic tea you support the organic tea movement. Full stop. What is it that you’re supporting? Your purchase supports organic farmers who have the integrity of the earth in mind.

The Appu and the Omelette

The Appu and the Omelette

When learning about tea I was sent to Westhall estate in Nawalapitiya to learn the field practices from a very senior planter. He and his wife hosted me at their bungalow – I was their creeper* – for a short period of time.

Tea infused candy the next big thing?

Where’s the tea?

Tea Vodka? Tea ice cream? Tea chocolate? Almost every section of the supermarket has a tea product representing taking one’s tea “outside the cup.” This ubiquity doesn’t stop with food products.

A brief history of boba

A brief history of boba

Two tea establishments in Taiwan claim to have invented tapioca milk tea the drink, not tapioca balls the ingredient.

How a new tea garden is discovered

How a new tea garden is discovered

People often ask me how a tea grower can start to sell their tea through Tealet. Although we didn’t have a set procedure for vetting growers in place when I first started to connect with our original network of growers, we have realized the importance of digging deep to learn the true story of the garden before promoting their teas.

Three Years Medicine: Aged White Tea

Three Years Medicine: Aged White Tea

When I moved to China in 2010, I had already been interested in tea for about seven years. I had served tea to lots of people all over the world in a purely gregarious sense, and also in a professional capacity

Life by the Cup

Life by the Cup

An inspirational quotation; exquisite description of a tisane, blend or whole leaf beverage; a story rich with character and conflict; revelation; reflection; as well as exercises for the reader’s growth make up each chapter in this remarkable how-to book.

Special industry: dong ding oolong

Special industry: dong ding oolong

Recently I attended an event that I believe was a first of its kind here in Taiwan. The Nantou County Government sponsored the Lugu Farmers’ Association to host a public forum on the local specialized industry of Dong Ding Oolong Tea.

Convenience over everything?

Convenience over everything?

My husband and I were reading a foodservice survey done about a major coffee chain which concluded that consumers valued taste, cleanliness, and convenience almost equally.

The other best tea blogs: A series – Part 2

The other best tea blogs: A series – Part 2

Today’s post is the second in my series to learn more about the finalists for the title of Best Tea Blog at the first annual World Tea Awards. In this post, I spoke (via email) to Jen Piccotti, the creator and voice of An International Tea Moment…

White tea phenomena

White tea phenomena

This summer, when I traveled back to China, I found white tea had become popular. When I visited friends, almost all offered me white tea. They also told me that white tea was good for health.

Sipping to save

Sipping to save

Sri Lanka has achieved another ‘first of its kind’ tea. Ethically and environmentally friendly tea products are gaining momentum the world over.

Chabbesey . . .

Chabbesey . . .

Destiny takes you to places. On 28th June 2014, we landed on a parcel of land where we closed the missing link between India and China. Xiao Juan of

Following the Japanese spring tea season

Following the Japanese spring tea season

During the Amazing Tea Race, a dash through seven countries to follow the story of the Spring Harvest, I noticed the most sense of urgency to get freshly harvested product to the market in Japan.

Kaizen

Kaizen

Kaizen is the Japanese word for continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is key to the success of a business, as well as to the success of the people in the business. This past week, I had the opportunity to shadow one of the…

Immortal Dew –  continued

Immortal Dew – continued

It was around that table that I tasted the tea that we now call Immortal Dew. It was served loose in tall glass cups, and every now and then that little old lady would somehow lift that massive iron kettle and shuffle over to pour boiling water into our cups.

Immortal dew

Immortal dew

People are always asking me what my favorite tea is. To me, picking a favorite tea is like picking a favorite song or a favorite color – neither are things I’ve ever been able to do. I do, however, have a favorite tea, and where it’s grown it doesn’t have a particular name. We call it Immortal Dew.

Walking the floor . . . over tea

Walking the floor . . . over tea

No, this is not about the caffeine in tea. It’s about walking the floor at World Tea Expo, to see what we could see. And there was a lot to see, hear, smell and taste.

Dragon boat concubine

Dragon boat concubine

Last Monday was the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar – Dragon Boat Festival – a national holiday here in Taiwan. I rode up to tea country and visited my friend

Long Beach and Queen Mary

Long Beach and Queen Mary

For me, the Queen Mary was not a haunted ship. Instead, it was a boon, where I became an American celebrity wearing a golden sherwani, escorted by the red haired Tealet fairy, Elyse Peterson.

The World of Tea wins at World Tea Awards

The World of Tea wins at World Tea Awards

For over a month, the staff at T Ching has been walking on air with anticipation! With T Ching having been nominated as one of the top tea blogs for consideration at the World Tea Awards event held on Friday, May 30, we were giddy with excitement.

Longjing: what the real prices were in 2014

Longjing: what the real prices were in 2014

So let’s look at the real wholesale prices for Longjing tea, at least the first tea of the year, which is the most prized. This is the tea that is harvested before the Qing Ming Festival, which usually falls in the first week of April.

An error in the reporting of Longjing prices

An error in the reporting of Longjing prices

Every year there is much talk about the price of Longjing, 2014 being no exception. Most of the talk is hype, reporting the extraordinary prices that some Chinese businessman or government official has spent for Longjing.

Dong Fang Mei Ren

Dong Fang Mei Ren

Actually, it’s a funny story. It happened in Taiwan during the Japanese Ruling Era. It is said that there was a tea farmer who was very lazy and did not take good care of his tea.

China revisited

China revisited

The 22nd Xinyang Maojian International Tea Cultural & Business Conference was opened on April 28, 2014 in Xinyang, Henan province of China.

Icewine tea!

Icewine tea!

Icewine tea is a special wine-infused tea found in Canada. It’s extremely fruity, sweet, and light, but with a strange but refreshing coldness to it, like eating a fruit salad off a glacier.

Where are they now?

Where are they now?

Could it be true? I started writing for T Ching in 2009? Time flies! And life moves on. It made me wonder about some of the companies and tea entrepreneurs I have written about over the years and where they are now.

Phoenix Mountain Single Tree Oolong

Phoenix Mountain Single Tree Oolong

During April in North Guangdong province at an altitude of 4,500 feet, 100-year-old Oolong trees are harvested for their young shoots, which are then oxidized to 45%, fired under medium heat, and meticulously crafted all along the way. These single-branch cultivars…

Mineral springs

Mineral springs

Free Trade makes an entrepreneur ready for war. I learned this costly lesson visiting Harrison, Mineral Springs, and Lebong tea estates.

A haven in hojo

A haven in hojo

These days, whenever I travel, I scout for tea places to hang out in. One of my favorite overseas tea spots is Hojo Tea in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’ve been there four times so far.

2014 spring harvest: the race is on

2014 spring harvest: the race is on

Every year around this time, tea lovers frantically contact their tea brokers, favorite online tea retailers, or local tea friends to see how they can get their hands on the freshest tea of the year: the First Flush.

ITCC Explores Defective Tea

ITCC Explores Defective Tea

Continuing with it’s tradition of exploring the finer aspects of our favorite brew, the most recent ITCC Cupping Event focused on gaining a better understanding of the effects of the processing steps in tea making.

How to succeed in tea

How to succeed in tea

If I’ve learned one thing from seven years of opening stores and selling online in the U.S. tea industry, it’s this: To be successful in tea, you need to pick a customer and rock his / her world.

Arighato Gujaimaso

Arighato Gujaimaso

From the moment you get up in the morning, go to the toilet to get ready, have breakfast, catch the train to Minamimakhuari station and take the bus to the venue of Foodex 2014 in Makuhari Messe, the chant of “Arighato Gujaimaso” is heard constantly.

the journey to your cup

the journey to your cup

The challenges of farming tea are similar to farm challenges everywhere, but how do those variables affect the brew in my cup?

Starting an online tea store in the land of coffee

Starting an online tea store in the land of coffee

I started working on the idea of opening an online tea store in my country, Colombia, about a year ago. It’s something I’ve wanted to do out of my passion for tea rather than because I see a big market for it, or think that I’ll get rich doing it.

Toothsome tea is boba tea

Toothsome tea is boba tea

A friend from Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley recently grumbled about how she had to resist patronizing more than ten tea establishments during her 15-minute daily commute home.

Honest Tea is actually honest

Honest Tea is actually honest

I don’t drink bottled tea. I’m not a tea snob – yes I am – I just don’t drink bottled anything. However, I will admit, if my KOR water bottle’s empty, I’ll buy whatever has the least sugar in it. Sometimes, that’s Honest Tea.

A matter of honest tea

A matter of honest tea

I was fortunate to start my education as a tea retailer with some of the most authentic people in the industry: the founders of the International Tea Farms Alliance.

Ten thousand miles without a cloud

Ten thousand miles without a cloud

Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud was the title of a book which recounts the steps of a woman retracing the footsteps of Huang Shan, the monk who took Buddhism from India to China during the 8th century.

From Russia with (tea) love

From Russia with (tea) love

Every tea drinking country seems to have an interesting history with tea. As the recent Olympics and Sochi fade from view, it is worth remembering that few countries have traveled a more interesting path to tea than Russia.

Pillar of tea research: Mr. Zhang Tianfu

Pillar of tea research: Mr. Zhang Tianfu

If you ask students of Chinese tea to name who they regard as the most influential person in the tea industry, one of the names that turns up most frequently is likely to be Mr. Zhang Tianfu (张天福), commonly known as The Pillar of Tea Research (茶学界泰斗)

The alchemy of tea

The alchemy of tea

Merriam-Webster defines alchemy as: “A medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life.”

Exciting times for tea

Exciting times for tea

In November of 2009, contributor to this blog, Charles Cain, told us he had discovered the “Starbucks of Tea,” a race that seemed to be taking shape in the industry. And he said it was . . . Starbucks.

ITF 2013

ITF 2013

Ninety billion US dollars and we grow one-third of the world crop and take home about one-tenth of the world turnover, although our teas are good.

What’s your rocky mountain high?

What’s your rocky mountain high?

The media’s exploding with news tidbits surrounding the progressive marijuana legislation in our mile-high state of Colorado. Food pairings, cooking with weed, herbal infusion blends – are all topics which you see in the headlines in our local papers.

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 4

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 3

Which brings us back to Lapsang Souchong, the strong smoked version of Zhenshan Xiaozhong. The accurate name in Chinese is Yan (smoked) Zhengshan Xiaozhong, which is the most familiar in the West, at least in the present day.

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 4

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 2

The trade of black tea accelerated with the opening of the port Xiamen in 1684. In 1732, Liu Jing, the mayor of Changan county, currently Wuyishan City, set an area of 600 sq kilometers with Tongmu at the center as the only authentic area where black tea was produced.

Nirmal Sethia, A tea visionary

Nirmal Sethia, A tea visionary

Mr. Nirmal Sethia is the founder of Newby Teas, an international tea label that has won around 85 awards from the North America Tea Championship and the British Great Taste Awards since its establishment in 2000.

Kids and tea? You bet!

Kids and tea? You bet!

Leave it to the Brits to investigate tea and its beneficial effects on children. Apparently, years ago, over 50% of all kids drank tea daily.

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 4

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong

Tongmu Village, high in the Wuyishan Mountains in Fujian Province, is the birthplace of black tea. It is Lapsang Souchong that made this area famous, with it’s strong smokiness giving rise to a fixation for many people, including Sherlock Holmes, the very archetype of obsession.

How I went from stressed out chef to matcha tea entrepreneur

How I went from stressed out chef to matcha tea entrepreneur

If you had told me last year I would soon be running a Japanese matcha tea shop, I would have thought you were crazy. You see, unlike a lot of other Japanese tea enthusiasts I know, I haven’t spent years studying the finer points of Japanese tea ceremony.

K2K and Darjeeling

K2K and Darjeeling

Kunming of Yunnan, and Kolkata of Bengal, are now declared sister cities. This adds another jewel in the crown of Darjeeling!

Are you serious?

Are you serious?

Once upon a time, there was a health-conscious thirty-something named Sarah. Sarah read that catechins and flavonoids are Very Good For You.

The proof keeps piling up

The proof keeps piling up

I was reading an interesting report in the World Tea News about the various studies that are currently being conducted to further document the...

Xiamen – a destination for tea business..

Xiamen – a destination for tea business..

Looking for more avenues of consumption, the Indian Tea Board landed in Xiamen to attend the Tea Fair from 10th to 13th October 2013 along with six producers from Darjeeling, Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Nilgiri.

Eco-Cha: A tale of two teas

Eco-Cha: A tale of two teas

Editor’s note: This week at T-Ching is devoted to Taiwan tea. Today’s post reviews two teas, a black and an oolong; Monday featured an interview with a tea farmer; Tuesday’s article is about what goes into artisan tea; on Thursday, we’ll examine some of the current literature about tea, and Friday will feature one of the best of the best of previous posts about Taiwan.

What is artisan about artisan tea?

What is artisan about artisan tea?

As people interested in premium teas, we have all been exposed to the term “artisan” used in many contexts. This begs the question as to, what actually defines a tea as being artisan?

27 steps of Wuyi tea art

27 steps of Wuyi tea art

Oolong tea is considered by some connoisseurs to be the ultimate in the art of tea. Not just its manufacture but also the way in which it is enjoyed.

Small scale Kenyan tea growers need your support

Small scale Kenyan tea growers need your support

As a guest, and resident tea sommelier for JusTea, I am finally heading out for my first trip to the Kenyan tea fields after a successful launch of some of the country’s finest orthodox tea – a country that is legendary mainly for its CTC black tea.

Tea and the monsoon season

Tea and the monsoon season

There are many ways to appreciate tea, and for some what starts as the enjoyment of an occasional cup turns into an obsession, a vocation, or both.

the arrogance of western medicine

the arrogance of western medicine

My best friend is retired and likes to cut out articles from various newspapers that he thinks I would be interested in. He recently gave me an article from the Wall Street Journal titled “When Food and Pills Clash.”

The Chinese tea shop

The Chinese tea shop

As part of my self-education, I sourced out another tea merchant in the Vancouver area. This time I wanted to go to a more traditional tea shop, so...

Counterproductive measures in tea

Counterproductive measures in tea

Four billion kilos of tea is produced annually in the world which is consumed by seven billion people living on planet earth, with no inventory of stock to carry over. This statistic is growing in every direction – north, south, east, and west.

Does all tea really come from the same plant?

Does all tea really come from the same plant?

One axiom that is typically taught to new tea students is that “all tea comes from the same plant.” If these students continue to learn about tea and study Chinese tea in any depth, they will discover that this statement is almost as wrong as the old belief that black tea and green tea come from two different plants.

05 tea: a unique tea experience

05 tea: a unique tea experience

I began my journey to seek out tea merchants in my local area to see if they would be willing to share their experiences about tea and how they became involved in the business of tea.

Judging the future

Judging the future

Again this past August I was honored to be asked to lecture at the Hong Kong Intl. Tea Festival and to serve as a judge for the Intl. Tea Competition.

Visualizing tea quality

Visualizing tea quality

Since Tealet launched its tea cupping evaluation form, we have received over 40 full evaluations for teas produced by independent tea growers.

Darjeeling tea & China

Darjeeling tea & China

Darjeeling tea was not known in the 1850’s, when tea planting first began in the area. A lot of hard work took place through the 1900’s, when 89 gardens were running at full steam.

Seeking tea education

Seeking tea education

As I begin my journey and explore the world of tea, I feel it is important for me to seek out local tea merchants and ask if they would be willing...

Tea-blending advice . . . from 1894

Tea-blending advice . . . from 1894

Tea blends come about for love or money. Some blends are classic creations shared across millennia, while others are the secret formulas of tea growers and merchants hoping to capture the affections of tea drinkers with their exclusive blends.

Growing tea in the US?

Growing tea in the US?

Growing tea in the United States is not a new phenomenon. It ís recorded that tea seeds first entered the U.S. in 1744 and to this day a string of companies have done research to find if there is a market opportunity to develop tea as a crop.

2013 ITCC World Tea Expo

2013 ITCC World Tea Expo

On opening day, June 7, 2013, an ever-growing audience of 60 tea enthusiasts gathered in hall no. 256 of the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas.

A tea party in a shark tank

A tea party in a shark tank

Entrepreneurs find each other, maybe especially tea entrepreneurs, be it on Twitter, blogs…they just do. There is a Facebook page for people who have been on the TV show Shark Tank.

The woman with the tea garden

The woman with the tea garden

Working with tea has allowed me to meet some of the most intriguing people. These Welcome to Amba Estate, Sri Lankapeople often share common traits: a passion and drive to spread the good tea word; they are attempting to provide…

The New York Times does tea!

The New York Times does tea!

Holy Toledo! The New York Times has a whole page on tea: Everything from how to be a tea snob to the history of the world’s most consumed beverage to the health benefits of tea to the World Tea Expo. Tea Has Arrived! Move over triple latte…

A walk down the tea aisle

A walk down the tea aisle

For many readers of this tea blog, checking in on the tea industry means attending events like the recently held World Tea Expo or reading the latest issues of the Tea or Fresh Cup magazines. If your interest in tea has brought you in contact…

Exploring Fujian teas

Exploring Fujian teas

For nearly 5,000 years, tea has been an integral part of Chinese life, eventually spreading worldwide by sea. The coastal Fujian province was one of the first places that developed and provided tea to the foreign market. The southern Fujian port of Xiamen (ancient Amoy)…

Quality standards for tea – A collaborative effort

Quality standards for tea – A collaborative effort

Tea is quickly becoming the hip connoisseur product, following a path that is very similar to that blazed in the wine and coffee industries decades ago. With a growing demand for high-quality teas, it is difficult to understand, as a buyer, how to determine which…

Tea with a local twist

Tea with a local twist

In my last post for T Ching in December, I wrote about our plans to move our retail store from a plaza to an old downtown tourist area. However, after spending more time looking at the layout of the space and the traffic flow on…

Vegas is hot, but tea is hotter!

Vegas is hot, but tea is hotter!

As the 11th World Tea Expo kicks off in Las Vegas, with long registration lines, smiles and hugs for old friends, people scurrying to classrooms, and huddled in-depth conversations, it is easy to see that tea is still hot and…

Tea and wine: Vintages and terroir

Tea and wine: Vintages and terroir

A common lament from foodies, farmers, and culinary writers is that many of us have become too far removed from the origins of our foods. We have no tangible connection to the land, the farms, and all of the uncertainties…

David’s Tea: The new “Starbucks” of tea?

David’s Tea: The new “Starbucks” of tea?

I’m always on the lookout for new tea blends – encountering a new tea blend piques my curiosity. A few months ago, when I was in San Francisco attending the Fancy Food Show, I visited a mall and noticed a small…

Tea pesticides and the sustainable future

Tea pesticides and the sustainable future

Even though I have written about pesticides and tea before, I wanted to address the subject again because once again the issue is in the news with Celestial Seasonings getting busted by the same group that busted…

The missing tea history of Darjeeling

The missing tea history of Darjeeling

Recently, Jonathan Kane Houldsworth from New Zealand contacted me via Facebook about a Robert Fortune film that was produced by an Australian company. Mr. Houldsworth is associated with Dilmah Tea, but the spirit…

I am zen

I am zen

Recently I sent some tea samples to one of my favorite restaurants here in Los Angeles. Cafe Gratitude is a vegan restaurant that originally started in the San Francisco Bay area about eight years ago. They only sprouted…

A different kind of tea bag

A different kind of tea bag

When we launched Joy’s Teaspoon, all of our teas were offered solely in tins. The tins were simple – silver with air-tight lids – and we carried three sizes. They were also recyclable and easy to re-purpose, easy…

The evolution of tea – Part 2

The evolution of tea – Part 2

When we last left off, we were speaking of the Sage of Tea, Lu Yu, who wrote one of the most comprehensive treatises on tea, Cha Jing, or The Classic of Tea. We know that tea during Lu Yu’s time (Eighth Century) referred…

Tea, tech, and pop culture

Tea, tech, and pop culture

I’ve spent the past month traveling to events, pouring tea, and sharing the stories of tea culture direct from the farm as marketing activities for my startup, Tealet. These events have taken me from San Francisco…

The mysteries of Chinese tea

The mysteries of Chinese tea

It has been twenty years since I first became obsessed with Chinese tea and it has not lost any of its magic pull for me throughout the years. In fact, I am probably even more obsessed today than I was twenty years…

Tweaking your tea catalog

Tweaking your tea catalog

This month marks our seven-year anniversary, so I thought it might be fun to look back at which teas were the most popular at the beginning compared to our top-selling teas today. After running a comparison from 2006…

World Tea & Coffee Expo 2013 in Mumbai

World Tea & Coffee Expo 2013 in Mumbai

From February 15-17, Mumbai was host to The World Tea & Coffee Expo 2013, which featured over 100 exhibitors from eight countries and highlighted the tremendous potential of the Hot Beverages sector – both in India and…

Recycled packaging in a material world

Recycled packaging in a material world

Sustainable packaging in the tea world is still in its infancy. I see examples of it from various purveyors and companies, but few and far between. If you are a big tea company, you can probably invest in compostable…

Consistency vs. quali-tea

Consistency vs. quali-tea

Tea production goes through a number of steps during which individuals with varying skill levels determine the final taste of the tea. At each step of the journey, from the selection of the tea plant varietal for the growing region…

My tea story

My tea story

When I meet someone who’s “into tea,” it is enlightening to find out exactly how their journey with tea got them to where they are now. How did they get from Lipton to a fine Bi Luo Chun? When did they transition…

Spring – The dawn of a new year

Spring – The dawn of a new year

As I am writing this, Chinese New Year (CNY) is almost upon us. For us ethnic Chinese, CNY is the most important date on our calendar. It is a time for family reunions, gatherings, festivities, rest, and relaxation. In Chinese…

Wild tea in wild Las Vegas

Wild tea in wild Las Vegas

I’m on a mission. You see, I teach tea classes here in Las Vegas. My partner, Ashanti, also loves to teach and the two of us could talk for hours about tea … if it weren’t for our very energetic offspring. Our tea classes range from informational Tea…

Slimming with tea

Slimming with tea

Can you really lose weight with tea? I get asked this question all the time. For the entire month of January, with our San Diego Tea Meetup group, I have featured a weekly series on tea and health at the newly opened EnlighTea Cafe…

Transparency in the tea industry

Transparency in the tea industry

In almost every aspect of our business and political culture, transparency is becoming a value identified as critical to reforming practices that have become toxic. Still, in the financial sector, the lack of transparency is seen…

The evolution of a tea fairy

The evolution of a tea fairy

Since founding Tealet, I’ve learned that building a community for a new brand and product is one of the most difficult jobs of a startup; it’s a game of creativity and…

Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival 2012

Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival 2012

On December 20, 2012, the second annual Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival opened its 20-day stint in Chowrasta, which included a charity tea auction organized by the India Tea Association. The auction was conducted…

Will coffee outpace tea in China?

Will coffee outpace tea in China?

Sadly, rather than creating their own symbols of success, such as artisan-crafted gaiwans, young, upwardly mobile Chinese are choosing instead to adopt the western trappings of success, most prominently iPhones and Starbucks…

The retail tea journey: Finding our new home

The retail tea journey: Finding our new home

Last month, my post was about looking for a new home for our retail store. This month I’m happy to say we found it … or rather, it found us! When it’s right, it’s just right. Before the clock strikes midnight on…

The changing tea landscape in China

The changing tea landscape in China

Just got back from China yesterday. Every time I travel to China, I’m amazed at all the changes taking place. Development and new construction continue at a dizzying pace. A view in any direction from virtually any major city…

The end of time?

The end of time?

There are a lot of things that need to come to an end – the world, however, not being one of them. Seeing as we all woke up with the blessing of another day on December 21, 2012, perhaps it is time to reconsider competition…

The journey of a tea newbie

The journey of a tea newbie

I admit it. I’m a tea newbie. In fact, I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve only just recently learned where tea comes from, the difference between Earl Grey and English Breakfast, and, well, how to brew tea properly. For some, this…

Hong Kong International Tea Fair and Competition

Hong Kong International Tea Fair and Competition

This past August I was honored to be invited to participate in the annual Hong Kong International Tea Fair as both a presenter and a judge in the International Tea Competition. Organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development…

The life of a Twinings tea master

The life of a Twinings tea master

As a tea hobbyist, I always like meeting people from the tea industry to gain insight into their work. As fate would have it, I recently made the acquaintance of Mr. Theerasaj Phangmuangdee (or Dew, for short)…

Tea tourism and K2K

Tea tourism and K2K

Sometimes doors open themselves. On November 20-21, 2012, I was in Kunming, China to attend an inter-governmental meeting with an active business forum at which I was asked to speak on tea…

Moving on with tea

Moving on with tea

We are about to close the door on one phase of our tea life and move onto another. For us, this has been a place to learn about and refine what works in tea retailing. Now we are looking at new locations that we believe…

The importance of staying connected

The importance of staying connected

A few months ago, a hardware failure prevented me from accessing the Internet for two whole days. As I was not vacationing in the wilderness or at sea, this inadvertent loss of connectivity did not confer peace…

Empowering Kenya’s small-scale tea farmers

Empowering Kenya’s small-scale tea farmers

When you can get good orthodox tea from Kenya, it tends to be exceptional. I have enjoyed numerous cups of Tinderet and Millima, and the odd cup of Kamba purple tea over the years and always asked myself why…

The motivations of the new tea lover

The motivations of the new tea lover

At the Los Angeles International Tea Festival, I had the great fortune to attend a seminar given by James Norwood Pratt at which he spoke about a tea renaissance in the United States, which is energized by the “new tea…

Tea tourism

Tea tourism

On the morning of October 12, I was at the Wild Mahseer resort in the Balipara area of Assam with Dan Robertson and Mark Mercier when I read something very appalling in a 2006 issue of Tea Today – a monthly…

Our customers are our business

Our customers are our business

Of all the businesses I have been involved in during my long career, retailing is the most fun. What makes retailing fun are the customers. I’ve never met so many fascinating and genuinely nice people…

Why a tea fest in Las Vegas?

Why a tea fest in Las Vegas?

My tea enlightenment began in 2005 in Chicago. I brought it back home with me to San Diego, but never ventured out into the local tea scene. It seemed enough…

2,000 cups of tea a day

2,000 cups of tea a day

A short five-minute drive from the American University of Sharjah in Sharjah, UAE (that’s the United Arab Emirates, a small nation that borders Saudi Arabia) is the Royal Tea Cafeteria. Over the past seven…

Get your festival on this October

Get your festival on this October

This coming weekend, October 27-28, visit the Los Angeles International Tea Festival and delight your palate with teas from all over the world. Meet the who’s who of specialty tea – can you say celebriteas…

The pushback

The pushback

Teaopia was a much better concept than Teavana from a customer’s perspective, although the idea for Teaopia was hatched after its founder was lured into a Teavana outlet at a Tampa megamall…

Life as a global tea ambassador

Life as a global tea ambassador

People ask me, “What is a Global Tea Ambassador?” It’s an interesting title that had me wondering as well when I first assumed it last year after I began working with the International Tea Farms Alliance. The title was actually a joke at first…

Xi Fang Mei Ren

Xi Fang Mei Ren

Three teas – Darjeeling, Dong Fang Mei Ren (from Taiwan), and Jin Jun Mei (from Wuyishan) – are very similar. Their shared characteristics can also be seen in Zhong Hong…

Pinterest for tea businesses

Pinterest for tea businesses

Social media is a powerful medium for tea businesses. I have spoken about the power of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in previous posts. This time it’s Pinterest’s turn…

Down and Out at Bird Pick

Down and Out at Bird Pick

Tea seems to bring out the George Orwell in me. In fact, Orwell was quite a fan of tea. The famous journalist and author even wrote an essay called “A Nice Cup of Tea,” which I described in a T Ching post last year…

Will global warming affect the tea industry?

Will global warming affect the tea industry?

It never ceases to amaze me how much denial exists about global warming. I was listening to the radio the other day and discovered that politicians continue their denial of this critical climate change. It’s shocking on so many levels…

Dear Zhena

Dear Zhena

Having a plan is as powerful as imbibing a cup of tea. You must brew your business much as you would steep a cup of precious Pu-Erh or Yin Zhen. The loving care the workers take with the leaves is the loving care you…

Exploring the Hawaii-grown tea industry

Exploring the Hawaii-grown tea industry

I was first introduced to Hawaii-grown tea a little over a year ago as an MBA student at the University of Hawaii. During a consulting project with the College of Tropic Agriculture and Human Resources, my partner…

The history of tea in Taiwan: A fractured fairytale

The history of tea in Taiwan: A fractured fairytale

If tea drinkers were asked to list their favorite teas and then told afterward that their tea choices provided a peek into their personalities, many would concede that there are plausible connections. Personal in nature, our choices might reflect taste…

A tea delegation to Taiwan

A tea delegation to Taiwan

At the end of June 2012, Indian Tea Board Chairman Bhanu led a high-powered tea delegation, comprised of members of the ITA, UPASI, DTA, and Exporters Association, to Taiwan. I was lucky enough to be a part of this…

Too much information, not enough tea

Too much information, not enough tea

At our business, I am the official Tweeter. Part of that is having people / companies follow you and deciding if you want to follow them back. One company I follow is Entrepreneur Magazine. Lately, though, I’m reconsidering…

Tweet for tea

Tweet for tea

Imagine for a moment that you are standing in front of a vending machine. You tweet your friends about tea, and viola, the machine serves you up a can of iced tea…

ITCC Cup Warming at the World Tea Expo

ITCC Cup Warming at the World Tea Expo

There was a lot going on at this year’s Tenth World Tea Expo in Las Vegas. The event brought people together from all across the globe, so it was quite fitting that the ITCC have a social gathering at the event…

A tea man without tea

A tea man without tea

It so happened that I lost my luggage on my flight to America and I was feeling rather naked. But the tea community at the World Tea Expo 2012 in Las Vegas last month accepted me as is. In fact, my fellow tea people…

Bottling tea

Bottling tea

When my first partner and I started looking at what we wanted to include in our concept back in early 2004, one of the options was bottling a tea beverage I had developed. We visited two reputable bottling companies in our area…

Tea aisles and everyday smiles

Tea aisles and everyday smiles

My mornings, afternoons, and evenings are consumed with tea. When I have a friend over, I brew tea. After a refreshing walk, it’s time for iced tea. After a long, hard day at work, I’m ready for a warm, sweet, chocolaty tea…

Beating summer torpor

Beating summer torpor

For us, summertime usually means a fairly significant slowdown in guest visits, as many of our teahouse friends go on vacation and engage in other activities. We’ve also had to face the perception that (high-end) tea doesn’t really…

World Tea Expo – A view from inside

World Tea Expo – A view from inside

Each year, our company – along with several hundred other manufacturers in the premium tea space – exhibits at the World Tea Expo held in June at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year was special to many of us…

Facebook for tea businesses

Facebook for tea businesses

In a previous post, I talked about the power of LinkedIn for growing your tea business, so in this post I thought I would talk about Facebook. I want to share two Facebook approaches…

Introducing Argentinian tea aficionados to Indian tea

Introducing Argentinian tea aficionados to Indian tea

Diego Morlachetti runs a school of tea in Rosario, Argentina, which is a licensee under the auspices of the American Tea Masters Association (ATMA) based in San Diego. The ATMA, which is run by its legendary Executive Director Chas Kroll…

In an effort to become more transparent …

In an effort to become more transparent …

I don’t blend all of my teas. There … I’ve said it! I haven’t been keeping it a secret. I swear. Anytime someone asks me via email or at a tea event, I am always upfront about the fact that I don’t create every blend…

Stories about my favorite oolong teas

Stories about my favorite oolong teas

I love oolong teas for their flavor, complex character, sweet aroma, and stories. Chinese folklore seems to have a story for every tea invented. I enjoy learning how royalty from China and abroad have discovered teas…

Your cuppa more dear?

Your cuppa more dear?

The folks at T Ching have spent the better part of half a decade promoting tea as a delicious beverage, touting its health benefits, its comforting ritual, and its spiritual history. Tea has such tremendous variety that there is a tea…

Growing up in a tea family

Growing up in a tea family

Last year, 26-year-old Zi Zhao Guai decided to join his family’s business, Nam Wan Tea Co. Pte Ltd in Singapore. In 1906, Zi Zhao’s great great grandfather, Jing Zhe Guai, a tea master…

Shui, shui, shui …

Shui, shui, shui …

Lui da cha shan, or Six Famous Mountain Tea Co., of Yunnan, which manufactures premium pu’er teas in Menghai, Xishuangbanna prefecture, recently commemorated their tenth anniversary and I was honored to be invited…

Tea: The Magazine

Tea: The Magazine

A few months ago, I got an email from Dan Bolton, the wizard who revamped the World Tea News newsletter. He shared with me that the oldest print tea magazine, Tea: A Magazine, originally founded by Pearl Dexter, an early T Ching contributor…

“Cup warming” – A tea-tasting social

“Cup warming” – A tea-tasting social

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…

The day China Daily came calling

The day China Daily came calling

We at California Tea and Coffee Brewery are tea geeks who just kind of “go for it” everyday in our own little loose-leaf world. That’s why it was such a surprise and honor when we received an email from the largest daily newspaper in mainland China…

What the tea industry can learn from Apple

What the tea industry can learn from Apple

Tea, more than a mere beverage, has been a way of life – particularly in the Chinese culture – for thousands of years. It is also the second most-consumed drink in the world, after the insurmountable behemoth that is plain water…

Price bubble in Dan Cong tea?

Price bubble in Dan Cong tea?

The Dan Cong market may now be experiencing an economic bubble like the Puerh tea bubble that burst in 2007 and damaged the Puerh tea industry. Two years ago, you could buy a very nice Dan Cong variety for $20 dollars/kilogram. In today’s market . . .

Tea + coffee: A love story

Tea + coffee: A love story

A coffee lover and a tea lover follow their dreams and set up a specialty café, Smitten, together. They also happen to be husband and wife…

Collaborations: Continuing to spread the tea love

Collaborations: Continuing to spread the tea love

Over the past few years of working directly with the U.S. tea industry, I have observed that tea companies do not really collaborate when it comes to their marketing to and education of tea lovers / consumers…

Enlarging the audience for tea

Enlarging the audience for tea

As a long-time convert to the pleasures of drinking tea, I have been thinking a lot lately about the best way to introduce tea to a new audience. We each have our own story of how we came to tea…

Why LinkedIn is good for tea businesses

Why LinkedIn is good for tea businesses

According to Wikipedia, LinkedIn is a business-related social networking site used primarily for professional networking. Many business opportunities have become available to me and my business via LinkedIn…

Developing a tea-drinking culture in Mexico

Developing a tea-drinking culture in Mexico

It has been almost a year since I began working in the tea industry and during that time, I have managed to persuade a few people to change their drinking habits. The most important person I have influenced is my wife…

Back from Narnia

Back from Narnia

It was certainly much more than I had expected it to be – an eye opener, to say the least. It was every child – young and old – steeped in tea…

Elephants, crocodiles, and deer, oh, my!

Elephants, crocodiles, and deer, oh, my!

The island nation of Sri Lanka is perhaps better known to tea lovers as Ceylon. Before the rust blight of 1869, Ceylon was known for its coffee plantations. Commercial tea production had only just begun…

Fulbright scholar interviews guayusa tea farmer

Fulbright scholar interviews guayusa tea farmer

Chris Jarrett is a Fulbright scholar conducting research on the Amazonian Kichwa language and culture in Ecuador’s Napo province. Chris has been sitting down with some of the farmers who grow guayusa to learn…

When less is more

When less is more

There are few consumer product sectors that – when reduced to their most basic form – offer you a significantly better experience. Imagine walking into a car dealership and telling the salesperson you want to buy new wheels…

Should WiFi die so that tea can live?

Should WiFi die so that tea can live?

When the culture of tea plugs into the lives we lead today with our always switched-on collection of gadgetry, is the tea drinking experience enhanced or marginalized? Lately, as the growth of tea houses follows…

Green tea coming out of the faucets?

Green tea coming out of the faucets?

Where would you expect to see such a thing? In none other than the “Green Tea Capital” of Japan – Shizuoka prefecture! Although I did not see green tea coming out of faucets first hand, if I’d have known…

The rise of tea in Mexico

The rise of tea in Mexico

I have been drinking tea since my childhood in the State of Bihar – in India, the land of Buddha. My mother has a good recipe for Chai, which is the most favored drink on the Indian sub-continent and gradually being commercialized around the world. I often had chance to visit Kolkata…

Focus on Assam

Focus on Assam

Sixteen “cuppers” all over the world lifted their tasting spoons together during the International Tea Cuppers Club’s Darjeeling First Flush Cupping Event, during which premium tea samples from ten estates were tested, evaluated, and enjoyed…

Importing tea into Mexico

Importing tea into Mexico

In August 2010, I took the bold step of starting a tea business in a coffee-drinking nation – Mexico. My plan was to import a small quantity of tea from India and sell it retail in my tea house…

Not a Lipton in sight

Not a Lipton in sight

For the first time in my work experience, I spent more days traveling on business this January than I did at home. Of course, there are always a few sacrifices one makes when traveling – particularly on business…

Thomas Love

Thomas Love

When my 7-year-old niece comes to visit, one of the things she loves to do is swim and drink tea with her uncle. Her first choice for a swim is the ocean, but up here in Canada in January, swimming in the sea…

2011 – The year of tea festivals

2011 – The year of tea festivals

I remember reading with fondness Kulov’s explanation of what a tea festival is on T Ching last year and swelled with pride knowing that one of my friends, Dianna Harbin, took part in the Tea Lover’s Festival…