John started writing the Tea in the Ancient World blog in 2013. Currently working in IT (data center quality assurance management), living in Bangkok, Thailand for 12 years, previously in PA, TX, MD, CO, and HI. Travel interest has related to visiting most East and Southeast Asian countries. Founder of the Specialty Tea Quora Space, and co-founder of the International Tea Talk Facebook group. Current tea preference centers on sheng pu’er but includes lots of other range.
For over twenty years, Jennifer R. Cook makes it no secret that she is always on the creative prowl. So much so that she started Cats in the Bag Design (Design le Chat Est Dans l’Sac). Since 1991, her business has paired many happy customers with satisfied clients through a combination of market research, strategic planning, her extensive experience in graphic design, and intensive knowledge of the creative solutions her clients seek. To shake up her career, Jennifer relocated to Montreal in 2009. But, a series of events shook up her life instead, giving way to the creation of “What my Coffee says to me,” “What my Tea says to me,” and “What my Wine says to me” daily art project. The famous quotes and encouragements, coupled with unique designs, brewed an internet fandom cheered on by followers and coffee/tea companies alike. She often professes to have lost four of her nine lives in the last twenty years, always landing on her feet. For this reason, she is grateful for each and every chance to help others succeed, especially through strategic graphic design or simply by bringing a smile to everyone’s day with her daily inspired illustrations.
Babette Donaldson, founder of the International Tea Sippers Society and author of The Everything Healthy Tea Book and The Emma Lea Books began her adventure with “real” tea as a graduate art student in San Francisco during the 70’s with a focus on ceramic art. Studying the history and elegance of ancient tea ware inspired curiosity for the beverage and worldwide cultures that celebrate it ceremonially. This inspired her most recent project, “Sip for Peace” for which she earned Best Consumer-Oriented Marketing Campaign at this year’s World Tea Expo.
Holly Helt, an American, grew up in Japan and has been drinking Japanese tea since the age of three. She has studied two methods of tea ceremony, both Urasenke and lesser known Yabunouchi, which has direct lineage to Sen-no Rikyu (known as the father of the tea ceremony), and is the school of practice for samurai. In 2013 she co-founded Chiki Tea – a Japanese/American fusion pairing Japanese green teas with Western flavors such as brownies, scones and cheesecake.
The flagship Chiki Tea café and retail outlet in Nakatsu (Kyushu) is fast becoming regarded as the go-to place for great-tasting matcha from Yame and premium kabuse senchas from Kagoshima but is also famous for Holly’s family recipes for granola, cookies, muffins, and cakes.
Chiki Tea is a UK company with a Japanese subsidiary.
A Taiwanese, Ifang (pronounced ee-fong) immigrated to the States at the age of sixteen. After receiving a degree in computer science and engineering, Ifang started her IT career as an analyst and later managed the development of online banking software. In 2008, Ifang decided to pursue a career change and spent eight months touring and living in Asia. Writing, traveling, current affairs, and operas are Ifang’s passions. The European continent is her favorite peregrination destination, and Jacques Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann” her favorite opera. Ifang enjoys visiting tea rooms internationally, especially those that offer an eclectic selection of teas and are whimsically decorated.
Dharlene Marie Fahl
Dharlene Marie Fahl has long been connecting tea and spirituality with an inner journey of self-discovery, self-healing, and self-love. She began by writing healing prayers to enjoy while slowly sipping tea in sweet surrender and now has 101 of them. Her first book “Sereni-Tea: Seven Sips to BLISS,” is available on Amazon which includes a Foreword by Dan Robertson. Dharlene Marie is a Level 3+ Certified Tea Specialist with the Specialty Tea Institute of America, and traveled to China as a delegate in the China Tea Tour with the Tea Association of the USA in 2007. Dharlene Marie was also a participant in the first American Tea Masters Association program in San Diego in 2008 and a featured guest speaker at the first Indian Tea Forum in October of 2010 in Siliguri, India. She was hosted for over a month by Rajiv Lochan of Lochan Tea and Shiv Saria of Rohini Tea Estate and traveled to many parts of the Darjeeling tea-growing areas. In 2011, Dharlene Marie spent time in the tea fields and factories of the Shizuoka tea-growing area in Japan. She has also visited our own American Tea Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina.
Ms. Fahl is an inspirational speaker with several heartfelt presentations and tea demonstrations that she offers to companies, organizations, women’s groups, churches, as well as appreciating our seniors by bringing tea into their communities and spoiling them just to make their day.
Her message is simple: “In the time it takes to mindfully sip a cup of tea, you can calm your mind, change your life, and claim your bliss.” In her books and meditations she explains how easily this can be done. She will soon be introducing her tea poetry in a book called, A Passion for Tea.
You can find her on most social media platforms. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So-Han Fan was born in New Orleans to a Chinese father and a Jewish mother. After moving to Houston as a baby, his interaction with his Chinese heritage focused mainly around food, including weekend dim sum brunches fueled by pot after pot of hot pu er tea.
However, he discovered his passion for gong fu cha and Chinese tea culture while studying in Santa Cruz, California. For the next seven years he dabbled in the burgeoning West Coast gong fu cha community, taught free classes on the topic, and worked for a year in the now-defunct Jade Leaves Teahouse in Austin, Texas.
From 2010-2012 he lived in Chengdu, Sichuan, interning with CURA, an environmental NGO focused on water sustainability. In his leisure time he explored the famous tea mountains of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guangxi, and upon his return founded West China Tea Company in Austin to share his farm-direct teas and Chinese tea culture. Since then he has made return trips specifically to source teas, and now has farm-direct artisan teas from Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Fujian, Taiwan, and Guangdong. He travels back to China annually to expand his repertoire and to deepen his knowledge and relationships with his farmers.
Founders of The Whistling Kettle tea shop. Their story started in 2004 when they decided to quit their jobs in NYC and follow their entrepreneurial spirits. Drinking tea became a habit for better health, but there wasn’t any consumer-friendly store to buy tea locally. The tea rooms at the time were all based on the Victorian era, not on the 21st century.
Kei Nishida, PMP is a former Hewlett Packard Software Engineer with a passion for green tea and coffee. He is the founder of JapaneseGreenTeaIn.com and author of multiple books and blogs. His latest book “I Will Teach YOU How to be healthy by Using Japanese Green Tea!: Surprising Facts and Tips for How You can Take Best Advantage of This Amazing Plant” is available in print and for Kindle on Amazon.
Kei grew up in Japan and moved to USA at the age of 14, now living in Portland, Oregon. Kei takes advantage of being bilingual in Japanese and English for his research and writing. Information you find on his blogs is a combination of both best content and research from Japan and all around the world.
Elyse Petersen worked as a Global Tea Ambassador in Wazuka, Kyoto, Japan with the International Tea Farms Alliance. Through her time in Japan, she made many connections with tea farmers and was inspired by the passion farmers had for their tea. She is now the founder of Tealet, a marketplace that connects drinkers with tea growers around the world.
Regena Rafelson is a retired teacher living in the Columbia River Gorge. An avid hiker, she loves to experiment with water taken from local streams and waterfalls and using it to make tea (after bringing to a boil, of course.) So far, Buck Creek, Wahkeena Springs, and Oneonta Creek yield the best brew. Regena’s tea journey began in 2006 with a frightening diagnosis of heart disease. Still kicking, she alternates hiking with flower and vegetable gardening, reading, tutoring in writing and maths, and guest teaching. In the past few years she has become a political activist, spreading the progressive agenda. She continues to be amazed by the resilience and brilliance of young people and hopes to join their movement, one cup of tea at a time.
Dan Robertson is the founder and owner of The Tea House and World Tea Tours in Naperville, Illinois. He was born in New Haven, CT, raised primarily in the Midwest, and is a graduate of the College of Wooster, Ohio. He is a 25-year practitioner and instructor of the martial art and health exercise Tai Ji Quan. Before venturing into the world of tea, in 1985, Dan established FRAMEWORK Video & Sound, a video production company specializing in documentary and educational programming. Although he had traveled to the Orient previously, it was his career as a filmmaker that took him to China in 1994 and again in 1995 to produce a documentary on tea. With two years of preparatory work, he traveled extensively across China for two months, filming tea gardens, factories, teahouses, hospitals, universities, museums, and historical sites, interviewing tea experts in all areas. As an unexpected result, in 1995, he began his own tea business, drawing upon the resources and knowledge he had developed during his travels. Since then, he returns to China nearly every year to meet with suppliers, discover new teas, study, or research. Since 1996, he has organized and led the acclaimed China Tea Tour, during which tea lovers from around the world get first-hand experience in tea making, history, culture, and business. Expanding beyond the Far East, he launched World Tea Tours in 2007, offering tours to tea producing and cultural areas around the globe. As an importer, wholesaler, blender, and purveyor of premium teas and accessories, he is involved with many aspects of the tea industry. He is a regular contributor to various tea trade periodicals, web blogs, and tea news services. Known for his informal and engaging style, Dan shares his passion for tea, lecturing around the world for businesses and educational and private groups, most recently presenting at the India Tea Forum in October of 2010. An authority on tea culture, history, production and trade, Dan conducts professional tea-tasting classes and instructs courses in the Chinese tea ceremony. His DVD – The Art of Chinese Tea – The Tea Ceremony – is a demonstration and tutorial on the gongfu style of tea making.
Diane Walden has been in the tea business since 2007, when she became part-owner in three tea stores, two of which continued until 2016 and were sold. She and her husband also ran their own tea shop in her hometown in Southern California for almost five years before moving the business online. Always interested in the brewing importance of the tea experience, the couple licensed a commercial brewer to a coffee and tea equipment manufacturer recently and are hoping it will be on the market in the future.
Robert Wemischner is a long-time pastry chef and educator and the author of four books including Cooking with Tea (co-written with Diana Rosen, published in 2000). He has long championed the use of tea in cooking and baking, appreciating the sometimes subtle but memorable flavor that the leaf brings to dishes – both sweet and savory. He has taught professional baking in Los Angeles at LA Trade-Tech College for almost 30 years and presented numerous tea and food pairings (tea with chocolate, tea with cheese) at the major tea festivals (World Tea Expo, LA International Tea Festival, San Francisco Tea Festival, and others) throughout the country over the last two decades. He has enjoyed teaching about the culinary uses of tea to tea aficionados and tea professionals alike as a guest chef on luxury cruise ships, and has written widely on this and other food related subjects for magazines including the American Culinary Federation’s National Culinary Review, Pastry Arts, Pastry Chef, and Dessert Professional, among others. Believing strongly in the concept of lifelong learning, Robert is always ready to taste teas that he has never experienced before with an unquenchable desire to find a culinary use for them, whether in or with the food.
Sandy M. Bushberg is one of the original founders of T Ching. Having been in the healthcare field as a psychologist for over 20 years and as a clinical herbalist, Sandy has a long-term vision of promoting health and wellness and devoting himself to reversing the destructive trend of declining health in this country. He is driven by the realization that if more people don’t start to do something soon to begin reversing this rapid decline in our health, then our nation’s economy will be overwhelmed by the growing costs of healthcare. His interest in tea as an inspiration for promoting health was piqued during a trip to Southeast Asia where he began to study the myriad health benefits of tea. During the ensuing years, Sandy has done in-depth research about tea – its history and health benefits, both physiological and psychological/spiritual – and has obtained certification as a Tea Specialist through the Specialty Tea Institute. Sandy’s strong vision and creative insights have been key in the development of Tching.com.
Michelle Rabin is the founder of T Ching. Some years ago, she left New Jersey where she’d been in private practice as a psychologist for 25 years, and moved to Hood River, Oregon with visions of tea in her mind, body, and soul. Her mentors, Robert G. Allen (N.Y. Times best-selling author) and Mark Victor Hanson (Chicken Soup For the Soul) taught her that she is limited only by the limitations she imposes on herself. It is her vision and drive that is the inspiration for this innovative new business. She was able to see, early on, the direction the tea industry was headed in this country and was drawn to every aspect of it. A former coca-cola addict, Michelle first discovered green tea as a healthier beverage choice to wean herself off of her coca-cola jones. Her love affair with tea began while studying the traditions of the Japanese and Chinese Tea Ceremonies. But it didn’t end there. As a tea connoisseur herself, Michelle saw the need to educate consumers about tea. Her prediction is that once Americans can make a delicious cup of tea quickly, painlessly, and perfectly, their consumption of tea will significantly increase, bringing it in line with the rest of the world’s enjoyment of tea. Second only to water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. The profound health benefits associated with tea consumption will have the potential to impact health and wellness in this country unlike anything before it.
Born in Ontario, Canada in the late nineties, Connor now lives in Florida as a high school student where his love and knowledge of tea continues to grow. Connor’s love for tea began as a child when he was introduced to the western tea traditions of his Grandparents. Now mostly interested in Chinese teas, Connor reads everything he can about tea and tea culture from around the world.
Shadi Afshar was born in the UK and moved to Texas at the age of five. Coming from a Persian heritage, she has been surrounded by tea all her life. Much of her family, including her father, work for Ahmad Tea London. Initially, she had little interest in the tea industry and focused her career in technology and then, later, in social media and marketing. It wasn’t until she joined her father at the 2010 Fancy Food Show in San Francisco that she recognized not only her own interest in tea, but also the level of passion and conversation that exists in the tea industry. After making her dream move to New York in late 2011, she decided to work with her father at Ahmad Tea London and has loved every moment. She has gone from being a daily coffee drinker to an “English Breakfast in the morning and Mint Green tea at night” drinker. She enjoys learning about the proper etiquette of afternoon tea and then hosting tea and various delicious chocolates at her NYC studio for her friends. Let her know if you’re ever in the city – she’ll happily have a cuppa with you!
A natural visionary, Faith Ann developed an ambitious goal – to create a trade show exclusively for the tea industry. With her infectious passion for tea, Faith Ann studied the market and spent three years networking with tea growers, associations, exporters, importers, and anyone dealing with tea-related items to sell her concept. In 2003, the first “Take Me 2 Tea Expo” in Las Vegas, Nevada, was launched and the world of tea was successfully united under one roof. She eventually sold her interest in the Expo and began freelancing, working with ITI, local restaurants, and STI, and writing for some publications. She is currently working with ITI as a sales and marketing consultant. Her recent project is the Los Angeles International Tea Festival.
Tim Barribeau is a freelance science and technology writer, and long-term tea addict. He has a deep and abiding love of food, photography, and gadgets in general, and you can find his writing at the Wirecutter, Imaging Resource, and PopPhoto.
Chris Bourgea has been immersed in the tea industry since starting BourgeaTEA in October 2008 on his college campus as a way to bring gourmet tea to students. He interned at Honest Tea as a ROAD Warrior helping launch markets in Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi when Honest Tea first started distributing through Coca-Cola. After graduating from Anderson University and selling BourgeaTEA in May 2011, he joined Adagio Teas in the windy city to help expand their retail operations.
Ed Brown, an SEO Strategist with DBD Media in London, works on behalf of the Maybourne Hotel group, which is comprised of three of the best luxury hotels in London – the art deco jewel Claridge’s, the classically styled Connaught, and Knightbridge’s luxury gem Berkeley. All are well known for their exquisite afternoon teas.
Dr. Jack Bukowski is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a physician (rheumatologist), a scientist, and chief scientific officer of the Nutritional Science Research Institute (NSRI). He has been researching the immune system for over 30 years and became interested in tea when he discovered that tea boosts the immune system’s ability to fight colds and flu.
Ricardo is a tea blogger focused exclusively on Japanese teas. Through his blog, www.myjapanesegreentea.com, he wants to share his passion with the world and connect with other tea enthusiasts.
At his home country Colombia, he is taking an active part in the spreading of tea culture. It will be difficult to make tea popular in a place with such a strong coffee background, but he is determined to succeed.
A leader in the Specialty Tea Industry for more than a decade, Charles brought TeaGschwendner to the US, launched Adagio Tea’s Retail operation, opened an award-winning flagship concept store for Tazo Teas, and most recently served as Vice President of Retail Operations and Franchising for Teavana. Teavana was acquired by Starbucks in 2012 for $620 million and is the world’s leading specialty tea retailer with more than 350 stores in 7 countries. Charles led the teams responsible for developing and testing new retail strategies, and international operations and expansion.
Charles has designed, opened and managed 15 tea stores ranging from pure retail to a 66 seat full-service restaurant with executive chef. At every stage of the process the goal has always been to find the perfect recipe to attract the maximum number of consumers and introduce them to the wonders of premium loose-leaf tea.
Josh Caplan is the Founder and Chief Activist Officer of Tea of the People. Josh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Concordia University, a certificate in Comprehensive Project Management from McGill University and completed the Advanced Project Management program at Stanford University. Josh is a Fellow at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Carnegie New Leader at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Young Leader at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an Emerging Leader in Environmental and Energy Policy at the Atlantic Council.
Chris Cason is the author of hundreds of tea articles, as well as the book “A Guide to Tea.” Chris’ work has been featured in the U.S. National Archives as well as in many other museums and publications. When he’s not writing about tea, Chris is the co-founder of New York City’s tea sensation, Tavalon Tea, where he is also the tea sommelier and editor-in-chief and creates unique blends, delicious tea treats, and intoxicating tea cocktails.
Morgan is the co-founder of travel blog, Two Blue Passports. Originally from New Jersey, she moved to California to receive her master’s in Environmental Science & Management from UC Santa Barbara. After completion, she moved up to San Francisco and worked for The Gap. She currently lives in Dublin, Ireland with her husband and they travel as often as they can. Some of her most recent favorite destinations include Portugal, Croatia, and Greece. Morgan has always enjoyed the therapeutic and digestive properties of herbal teas such as chamomile before bed or ginger to relieve stomach issues. She is now covering “Tea and Travel” to bring you some of her favorite tea spots discovered through her travels.
Derek Chew is the founder of Peony Tea Solutions (www.peonyts.com), an online Chinese tea shop in Singapore, whose motto is “Celebrating the contemporary art of tea.” His goal is to simplify and demystify the art of tea so that anyone can brew it without feeling intimidated. There is a Chinese saying that “the tallest buildings are constructed from ground up.” Although there is much to learn about tea, baby steps have to be taken. Derek hopes to simplify the process, but preserve the experience. On a personal note, the loves of his life are God, his family, literature, and tea – in that order. His plan is to devote the rest of his life to these four causes. On a frivolous note, he enjoys the odd occasional flirtation with the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA.
With his two parents being tea connoisseurs, Kevin Chu has been enveloped in tea culture his entire life. While studying Chemistry at UCLA, Kevin began to be infatuated with the health benefits that tea drinking had on the body and decided to accompany his parents to Southeast Asia in search of premium loose teas. With a big soft spot for children, Kevin and his family started Master Chu’s Tea House in the hopes that with every purchase made, a donation will be given to different children’s program.
A native Californian, born literally on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, Erika Cilengir grew up in the Highland Park/Mt. Washington area of the city, a haven for persons marching to a different beat. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Pomona College, Erika spent four months in Germany, studying German at the Goethe Institute in Luneburg, where she met her future husband. Erika then began her nearly 20-year career as a technical communicator in the computer industry and received a master’s degree in Communication from the University of Southern California (USC). In 1998, Erika made a career transition, moving into business analysis. She continues to work as an IT business analyst, but took a brief break from the corporate world in 2008 to pursue her dream of starting a tea house. After eight intense months of pursuing her dream, Erika decided it was not the right time to open a business and put her dream on hold. But Erika continues to be a tea enthusiast and makes a point of savoring at least one cup a day. Her positive associations with tea began many years ago when Erika regularly spent afternoons with a good friend and tea lover, sampling various teas, enjoying her company, and leaving feeling refreshed and relaxed. Today, steeping a cup of tea is one of the best ways Erika has found to take a break from the hustle and bustle of living. It is a healthy habit that complements her other healthy habits of running and eating well as well as her volunteer work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Brenna Ciummo is writer for Seattle Coffee Gear and as a native of the Emerald City has grown up with coffee and tea in her blood. A lifelong learner, she has attended James Norwood Pratt’s Apprentice Tea Sommelier class as well as several coffee and tea tastings and festivals, and enjoys sharing the knowledge she has picked up with others.
[ At the time this was written ] Ben Dane was a certified food handler and tea aficionado. He was a student currently in his senior year of high school, and he wakes up every morning with a cup of earl grey. He established a tea club at his school. When he’s not drinking tea, he was appearing in stage and tv as an actor/unicyclist, going on jogs, and sleeping.
Joanna DeRungs, a native Oregonian, has been involved with tea, horses, communication, and leadership most of her life. She worked with horses and intuitive natural horsemanship on a family farm as a girl, honing her communication and leadership skills. Later she used those same skills (written, verbal, and non-verbal communication and natural leadership) to advance through the corporate legal and technical world. She founded a technical and business consulting firm in 1993 to help professionals with their new electronic tools and bring their communications into the digital age. While leading the success of her firm for over 15 years, she felt there was more she could do. After buying and restoring a farm, she returned to work with horses, studying the field of Equine Assisted Experiential Learning. She then added her own element of experiential tea and food tastings. Joanna has found a way to help others take steps toward regaining their authentic nature and build an awareness of their own internal communication tools through the development of Natural Whisperings (SM), a company centered on experiential work with people, tea, food, and horses (NaturalWhisperings.com). Although to some this may seem an unlikely combination, she says the same experiential work can be accomplished regardless of the partner. “Some people are less intimidated by a cup a tea and a plate of beautifully prepared food than by a 1,000 pound horse, but it all works out the same in the end.” During this process, poetry began to flow while Joanna was enjoying her morning cup of tea. She won her first tea poetry contest in 2009 and has not put her pen down since. She writes nature-inspired, reflective, and tea-inspired poetry, which she shares with us on T Ching.
[ At the time this was written ] Pearl Dexter is the editor and publisher of TEA A MAGAZINE ®, now in its twelfth year of publication. It is dedicated to a worldwide audience, informing, educating, and entertaining its readers with articles exploring the history, culture, consumption, and dramatic health benefits of the venerable beverage. Its raison d’etre was the passion for the way of tea (she calls it “pachado”). Her tea enthusiasm and spirit are felt throughout the magazine, and is carried over in her lectures on many aspects of tea. In 1999, Pearl founded The TEA School. It was established to give people who are serious about tea a firm foundation on the subject. Many of the school’s guest speakers have included distinguished leaders in the tea community. Also in 1999, Pearl co-authored TEA with Presidential Families. It gives a fascinating look at the tea history of America’s first families. It is lavishly illustrated with photographs, prints, and original works of art—many never before published. Her second book, a compilation of tea poetry, debuted in November 2003. And her third book, a compilation of recipes, Scones, Shortbread, and more, released in March 2006. Pearl has lived in San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Providence, and London, and has travelled throughout Europe. Visits to Sri Lankan, Indian, and Azores tea estates afforded her the opportunity to learn about tea from bush to cup. Working with everyone in the tea business, from small tea-room owners to the president of large companies like Lipton, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the fast-growing specialty end of tea. Although tea is just a beverage to some, to Pearl it is a way of life.
Chris is an award-winning graphic designer based in New York City. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Chris has worked for renowned design firms specializing in print, corporate identity, and brand environments. Collaborating with a distinguished list of architects, developers, and clients, Chris has led design efforts for cultural institutions, universities, office towers, media and entertainment, parks, and hospitality. Notable accomplishments include identity and sign graphics for ESPN’s Nagano Olympic coverage, Philadelphia’s Comcast Center, Radio City Music Hall, and Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center. International work includes that for Hoshi Kodomo Otona (Family) Clinic and building contractor Fuji Kensetsu in Saitama, Japan. Chris’ work has been published in Pictograms & Icon Graphics 2, Graphis Logo Design 6, Brand Identity Essentials, and Basic Sign. He also participated in Intertidal Age – Taiwan’s first international graphic design exhibit at the Taipei World Design Expo 2011.
Lisa Dong has MA degrees in both economics and Buddhist Studies, now pursuing her Phd degree in Buddhist Studies special in Tea Rituals. She is also a Chinese tea artist in high level ( 高级茶艺师) , having spent several years studying tea in local production places such as Yunnan and Fujian, and in Chinese tea cities such as Maliandao and Tianshan tea city. She does not only study tea from tea artists and experts, but tea farmers and the small tea shop owners as well. Lisa also has studied Korean tea in the Korean Sado college and from the tea farmers in Boseong county of Korea. She is conversant and literate in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, English and Sanskrit languages.
In addition, Lisa organized her “Tea Dhamma club” in LA.
Rebecca Doverspike graduated from Beloit College with a degree in Literature and Religious Studies. She currently works at a non-profit cafe in Appleton, WI and spends her time trying to translate the stories she hears of people’s lives into reflective prose. As a long time coffee lover, she’s really enjoying exploring the world of tea and contributing to a community of writers on this lovely subject.
Kate Dumont is a writer and artist living ‘la dolce vita’ in Sausalito, California. She has had a love affair with tea all her life when she began drinking tea at the tender age of 16. In a family of hard-core coffee drinkers, she felt like she was a cocker spaniel living with dobermans. When she was 18, she lived in Sweden for one year, where tea drinking was more common, found her tea bliss, and learned that there is more to tea than Lipton (tho her British friends love Lipton.) The clouds parted and the heavens opened when she lived in Los Angeles in the 1980s and took a tour of Chinatown; one stop on the tour included the Ten Ren tea shop…rose tea, oolong tea, white tea, jasmine, and all the varieties were available there. Right now she is on the hunt for the best Masala Chai.
Holly Erdogan is a firm believer that tea soothes her soul because it’s done just that. From drinking iced green tea on a terribly hot day in the San Fernando Valley to snuggling up with a book and the perfect cup of hot tea in the middle of the day, she is absolutely in love with tea for all aspects of her life. Holly will be earning her Nutrition and Dietetics degree from California State University, Northridge in May 2011 and resides in Southern California. Holly grew up in a small town in Oklahoma where it seemed like the only tea people drank was good ole’ southern (highly sweetened) sweet tea. It wasn’t until moving to California in 2007 that her addiction to tea began. She loves the simplicity of a cup of tea, the healing benefits, and the pure, honest taste it delivers. Holly is planning to become a Registered Dietitian and teach the benefits of tea to our bodies to her future clients.
It was the ceremonies of tea that first intrigued Donna Fellman and moved her to look deeper into tea. It was the wisdom of the spirit of tea, informing our traditions and rituals, that inspired her to learn more about this enduring drink. And it was the discovery of the world of tea and a healthful beverage that infused her life with a sense of well-being and centered energy that motivated her to share that knowledge with others. As director of the Tea Education Alliance (T·E·A), she offers professional consulting and staff training programs, and publishes educational materials about tea. She is the co-author of Tea Here Now, (Inner Ocean Publishing, December 2005) exploring tea as a lifestyle and written for everyone who wishes to infuse uncomplicated spirituality and mindfulness into his or her tea drinking. And she is Chairman of the Specialty Tea Institute’s Education Committee where she is working to expand the structure as well as cohere the educational core of the STI Tea Certification Program to meet the needs and demands of the rapidly growing tea industry. She studies chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony through the Urasenke Foundation.
Aaron Fisher graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and philosophy. He then spent the next decade traveling through more than forty countries, primarily in Asia—living for some time in India, Japan, and China before finally settling in Taiwan where he currently resides. He is the Senior Managing Editor of all English Publications at Wushing Publications, Ltd. Wushing is the largest name in Asia with regards to the publication of tea and tea culture books and magazines (with a broad base in Chinese art as well). For several years, their Chinese books and magazines have set the standard throughout the Chinese speaking world. One tea magazine, “Tea Art, Puerh Teapot” has a distribution of over 50,000 copies. It would be difficult to find a tea shop in Asia without Wushing books. And they have recently entered the English speaking market with “The Art of Tea Magazine”, which is distributed to more than thirty countries. The magazine offers more than 150 pages of in-depth articles per issue, on everything from cooking, spirituality, teaware and Yixing to tea processing, the tea market, and preparation—all written by the most renowned tea masters on Earth. “The Art of Tea” is the only magazine of its kind, for the tea connoisseur. Mr. Fisher will also be publishing two books this year, and translating several other important tea works in the coming years. He is the founder of a school for English, Music and Art, spending his free time there, working on his own paintings, or drinking tea.
Tyler Gage is the President and Co-founder of Runa, a social enterprise that sustainably produces and markets guayusa tea from the Amazon. Runa has partnered with over 600 indigenous farmers in Ecuador to produce and export guayusa from Ecuador that carries both Organic and Fair Trade certifications. Tyler has researched ethnolinguistics, fair trade business development, and indigenous botanical traditions throughout Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Belize, and Costa Rica with a focus on cross-cultural translation. A graduate of Brown University, Tyler enjoys spending time with his Siberian husky, and frequently gets up at 3:00 AM to participate in guayusa tea ceremonies with the indigenous communities he partners with.
Jason Gibb set up Nudo in 2005 after buying and restoring an abandoned 21-acre olive grove in Italy’s Le Marche.
His love of the Italian countryside inspired the now famous Adopt an Olive Tree Program, which allows people all over the world to adopt an Italian olive tree and receive its oil. The Nudo mission has always been to bring producers and consumers closer together, so when the opportunity arose to do something similar with Darjeeling tea, Jason jumped at the chance. Nudo Darjeeling launched in 2013, and its unique Adopt a Tea Garden program allows you to enjoy the finest quality, hand-picked first flush loose leaf tea straight from your own tea garden.
Sarita has wonderful memories of her grandmother’s cooking, but remembers only being given tea when she was sick. Many years later, Sarita’s sister-in-law and niece invited her daughters and her to a Christmas Tea at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Dazzled by the elegance and the detail, Sarita became curious about the tradition of Afternoon Tea. She bought every book she could find on tea and entertaining with tea, started perfecting her own tea menu, and became interested in tea etiquette. After receiving her certificate in travel and tourism, Sarita worked as a tour guide, which she considered a dream job. After marrying and starting a family, Sarita began working for the Burbank Unified School District in the English as a Second Language Department. She also taught Spanish as a second language. Then, several years ago, Sarita was given the opportunity to teach an after-school class for kids on “Manners and How to Have a Tea Party.” A year later, she was asked to teach Tea Etiquette and Etiquette 101.
Edgar Award Winner Jason Goodwin is the author of the Yashim thriller series set in 19th Century Istanbul, translated into over 40 languages. But it’s not how he began. In “The Gunpowder Gardens or, A Time for Tea: Travels in India and China in Search of Tea,” Jason set out to explore the history of the tea trade on the South China coast, the tea auctions of Calcutta, and the tea gardens of the Himalayas. “The Gunpowder Gardens was the first book I wrote,” Jason says. “It was a spectacular moment for travel-writing, and the story of tea was a fascinating subject.” Shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, “The Gunpowder Gardens” takes the reader on a journey through the tea lands of India and China, blending a fascinating account of the history – and flavor – of tea with vivid travel narrative. With a memorable cast of characters, from Hong Kong’s Professor Tea to The Nose in Darjeeling, “The Gunpowder Gardens” is often funny, always vivid, and – in the words of The Sunday Times – “full of fascination.” “Readers are fortunate,” said the New York Times. “Jason Goodwin has been inspired … to devote his funny, evocative first book to the history and geography of tea … It has summoned up all the tea in China and India. And made one thirst for a spicy cup of the brew.”
Dan Greenfeld grew up in Brooklyn and was an attorney for 35 years. Now he’s a New York City potter-ceramic artist (a hyphenate he obsesses over) specializing in teapots – porcelain, wood-fired, wisteria handled – that are as functional as they are beautiful. His interest in ceramics was kindled seven years ago when he met his spouse, a ceramicist, artist, and creativity educator. Having no real knowledge of ceramics, but fascinated by the pieces she was making in her studio and from which they were eating and drinking, Dan began looking at ceramics in museums and galleries, and reading and asking questions about, and ultimately collecting, ceramics. Feeling he could never really understand ceramics without some experience in making them, Dan started taking classes and had the good fortune to receive instruction from some potters during his first trip to Japan. He progressed by taking workshops with potters whose work he admired, and refined his techniques, forms, and materials by using the wisdom and experience they so graciously and selflessly imparted. Dan chose to explore the teapot because he was challenged by the form’s inherently conflicting aesthetic and functional issues. As his thinking evolved, he began to understand that a teapot of sufficient beauty and functionality could enhance people’s lives. The teapot can be the focal point of a daily ritual (used in the best sense of the word) encompassing aesthetic contemplation, tea connoisseurship, considered and focused utilization of the senses, and most importantly, discourse and human connection – the essence of the tea ceremony.
Michael Haavaldsrud is a grade twelve high school student from a small town in northern Ontario. Michael has studied tea in his free time for the last two years. His favourite kinds of tea are Jasmine and Oolong. Aside from drinking, brewing and studying tea, Michael enjoys reading, meditating, exercising and studying/ practicing Taoism.
Dianna comes from a long line of tea and medicinal herbal tisane drinkers. She fondly remembers the Spring tonics, wild greens, and “English tea” that her paternal grandmother prepared for her. Dianna Harbin’s passion is tea education and sharing tea in community with others, especially puerh tea. Dianna founded the Long Beach Tea, Los Angeles Tea, San Diego Tea, San Francisco Tea, and Santa Barbara Tea enthusiast groups on Meetup.com. The groups aim to help people learn about tea, teach about tea, support California tea businesses, and build community through the sharing of tea. Her latest effort, California Tea Meetup, helps California businesses network with Meetup groups. Dianna is organizing a new version of Tea Appreciation Day, an annual international effort to honor and support the tea trades. Dianna is a Specialty Tea Institute Certified Tea Specialist and Recommended Certified Speaker and is in the initial group of STI Level 4 attendees. She is a practicing Clinical Laboratory Scientist and holds Bachelor Degrees in Cultural Anthropology, Microbiology, and Medical Technology. Dianna resides in Southern California.
Naja, owner of Naja Tea, began her love affair with tea as a young girl, observing her grandmother preparing her morning cup of freshly steeped chamomile tea and savoring each sip. Through her grandmother’s morning ritual, Naja came to see tea as a symbol of the lifestyle she cherished. This impression was only strengthened as Naja grew up and traveled the world, noticing that tea was a source of goodness for so many people: where there was tea, there was laughter, intellectual stimulation, love, and delight. Naja studied the history of tea and its many social traditions, but she also craved a fresher, more modern tea experience. When Naja visited Boston in the winter of 2003, she sensed for the first time that having her tea and drinking it too was, in fact, possible. During a brief afternoon break from meetings, she stumbled upon a unique, contemporary tea bar on Newbury Street where she enjoyed a simple, yet refreshing, cup of Bancha green tea. It was a vibrant tea lounge, full of people who seemed content with the day. Some were reading intently, others were working diligently on their laptops, and others were in the midst of conversation with friends. The energy was infectious and truly inspiring. She walked out of that trendy spot feeling satisfied and motivated, and compelled to design a company that would make others feel the way she felt that afternoon.
Kyle Henry is the Vice President of Ethos at Distant Village Packaging, a specialty packaging and design company with an established reputation for authenticity in sustainability since 2000. Distant Village designs sustainable, handmade packaging with strong brand relevance, clearly communicating product branding and image. Distant Village has developed award-winning packaging for leading sustainable companies in many industries across the U.S.
Seven Cups Founder Austin Hodge is an entrepreneur with a focus on small international business development, dedicated to creative, sustainable, long-term business modeling. Austin is also a tea enthusiast and a Chinese tea student. Knowledgeable about import / export and international business with a focus on China, Austin is a Chinese government liaison with experience in e-commerce, retail / wholesale, and databases. In fact, Austin is many things to many people, including, but not limited to, Chongqing husband, father, grandfather, brother, perpetual student, geek, photographer, writer, blogger, blues musician, and food lover. Austin was the first American to be published in the Chinese International Tea Culture Institute’s Journal; his paper there was republished in tea trade magazines across China. Also the Honorary Director of the Chinese International Tea Culture Institute, Austin has received the Global Puer Top Ten Outstanding Persons of China Award. Austin’s company – Seven Cups – was the first American company to be granted a Chinese Trading License.
Born and raised in Southern California, Zach Hodgson is proud to be part of the T Ching family, working from his new home in Seattle, Washington where he currently makes his living as a freelance photographer and graphic designer. You can find some of his work on his personal web site at www.ZachHodgson.com. His love for tea goes back several years and his affection for photography goes back even further. He received his first camera, a 110 Instamatic, as a gift from his parents when he was only a small child. He received formal training in both the graphic and photographic arts in college, where his professors were quick to point out his natural talent for composition. In 2007, Zach received a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, and left college with a life-long love for learning and new experiences. He finds himself most often enjoying P.G. Tips black tea, Yerba Mate, and Sencha and Genmaicha green teas as well as an occasional masala chai, often out of one of his mother’s hand-thrown mugs.
David Lee Hoffman
David Lee Hoffman has been traveling the remote back country of Asia for more than 40 years seeking out the world’s finest rare, organic, and wild pure leaf teas. He is the first American to work directly with tea farmers in China and to engage in joint ventures with old, established tea gardens. With an extensive background in vermiculture and soil fertility, he has worked in China with the prestigious National Tea Research Institute, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the Department of Agriculture to help them implement organic and sustainable tea farming practices.
Sam James is a Melbourne, Australia-based chef who left the restaurant industry behind to follow his passions for health, wellbeing, and Japanese matcha tea.
He founded Kenko Tea in 2013 with the goal of sharing his passion for Japanese matcha green tea with the rest of Australia.
He now spends his time creating new matcha tea recipes, blogging about matcha tea, and is always trying to learn more about Japanese tea.
Samantha Joyce is a writer for Seattle Coffee Gear and enjoys sharing her knowledge of all things coffee (and tea!)
Her current favorite tea drink is a Seattle Tea Latte, a variation on the popular London Fog Tea Latte. Here is the recipe.
Charles Kellogg grew up drinking tea while watching sumo on television with his mother. Throughout his life, he consumed tea and took it for granted. In 2003, he took a sharp turn down life’s long road and relocated to Japan to study traditional folk arts. While there, he became fascinated with the cultures and arts encompassed in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. After returning to the United States, he began working for Lupicia Fresh Tea, a tea specialty retailer based in Tokyo, Japan. He continues to learn about tea, tea culture, and tea people.
Andy Kincart is co-founder and sourcing director of Eco-Cha. He has lived mostly in Taiwan since 1989. In 1993, his appreciation for the locally-grown tea that he had already developed led him to the Dong Ding Mountain tea growing region. Since then, it has been an ongoing exploration of the world of tea which has provided a fulfillment that is unique to this island. Since 1997, Andy has been sharing this passion for tea as a private exporter of quality Oolong Tea. Now, after decades of an ever-deepening appreciation for this cultural treasure – he is sharing Taiwanese Tea and tea culture with a larger audience through Eco-Cha.
Elizabeth Knight is the author of several bestselling books on the subjects of tea and entertaining including Tea with Friends and Welcome Home. Her latest book, Tea in the City: New York – a tea lover’s guide to sipping and shopping in the city has just been published. She writes for magazines such as Romantic Homes, Tea & Coffee Asia, and Tea A Magazine. Elizabeth is a frequent guest on national television and radio programs including WNBC’s Today in New York, WOR’s Food Talk, The Travel Channel, The Home Shopping Network and QVC. Sharing her love of tea and entertaining with others has been the basis of Knight’s business, Tea With Friends. As the tea sommelier for the historic St. Regis Hotel, Elizabeth is much sought after for speaking engagements and workshops. She regularly speaks to national retailers including Bloomingdale’s and Marshall Fields, cultural institutions including The British National Trust, historical and botanical societies including The Missouri Botanical Garden, and schools including New York University. As spokesperson for the 40th anniversary of Royal Doulton’s china pattern Old Country Roses, she created and presented consumer programs in stores across the U.S. Her latest offering is a series of guided walking tours through New York City based on her new book Tea in the City. For the first time, Knight will share her expansive knowledge of Manhattan’s “must sip and shop spots.” This unique experience is steeped in the expertise of one of the country’s leading tea authorities.
Kulov was born and raised in the Old Country. He started his annual tea festivals as Valentine’s Day tea-time celebrations for his nieces in Holland a decade ago. The event has since grown into a public undertaking in the Los Angeles area, which celebrates and promotes tea through various cultural and educational activities such as workshops, lectures, tea ceremonies, art installations, and performances. Kulov does not consider himself a tea expert nor connoisseur, but loves to combine his appreciation for exquisite teas with his marketing and programming expertise in order to create unique cultural tea experiences that both educate and delight the general public. In addition to the tea festival during the springtime, he also organizes autumn tea bus tours. Kulov is currently based in Santa Monica, California, close to the beach for fresh air, as well as to the airport, so he can always easily access and explore tea cultures in other parts of the world.
Lawrence Lai is a Taiwanese and the founder of “Easy Tea Hard Choice”. He was born in Taichung which happens to be the center of several main tea regions in Taiwan. Since he was little, he traveled around a lot with his father to visit tea farmers. In that time, he did not realize how lucky he was to taste the freshest oolong which had just been made by the hand of an old tea master. Until many years later, he finished 10 years at a career in corporate banking in China and decided to go back to Taiwan to take over his family’s wine & spirits business. One day, he was invited to an event where a young Scotch whisky distiller was making a presentation of a single malt whisky from his hometown. Suddenly, it struck Lawrence that this is exactly what he wants to do all the time: He wants to introduce something really great from Taiwan to the world, just as the Scotch people do for whisky and the French people do for wine. And Taiwanese tea was his answer.
Lawrence is a stubborn person, so he appreciates people with the same quality. In his travels among tea regions, he found many tea farms were abandoned and many people had left for big cities for easier jobs. But there are still some people who stay and keep doing what they’d done. He is impressed and determined to help those small farmers who persistently produce high quality teas but have low visibility in the international market due to lack of marketing ability.
This is where his company “Easy Tea Hard Choice” started in the first place. It was originally “Easy Tea Fine Choice.” But later Lawrence decided to rename to “HARD CHOICE” in order to not forget that good choices are always hard. And we should choose the hard way instead of the easy way.
John-Paul Lee has been exposed to the food service industry since his early youth, coming from a family of restaurant entrepreneurs. John-Paul’s mother founded a highly successful restaurant chain based in Seoul, Korea during the early 1990’s, expanding the franchise to 16 units within a four-year span. In 2001, he and his family acquired a struggling restaurant in Arlington, VA. John-Paul spent the next two years revamping the business as co-owner and General Manager, and sold the restaurant at a profit in 2003. During this time, he also worked full-time as a consultant for Accenture. With a background in Finance and Computer Information Systems (CIS), he served as a liaison between the client and Accenture, translating business needs into technical requirements. In 2004, prior to launching Tavalon, John-Paul spent 9 months in Europe and Asia studying tea markets. He continued his research in the U.S. conducting market surveys to determine tea blend preferences in targeted consumer groups, store locations, and impromptu tea-tastings to get real customer feedback on newly created blends. He also served as General Manager of a local tea house in Manhattan to strengthen his hands-on understanding of tea retail operations. John-Paul is an accomplished and recognized entrepreneur who was honored with the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award 2010 by the AABDC. America.gov also placed him on the list of entrepreneurs who successfully started a business in their teens/20’s alongside Bill Gates (Microsoft), Russell Simmons (Def Jam Recordings), Michael Dell (Dell Inc), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Kevin Plank (Under Armour), and Larry Page/Sergey Brin (Google). John-Paul obtained a BS in business administration from James Madison University. He also holds certifications from the Specialty Tea Institute of America and is a Siebel-certified consultant.
Melanie Lee is a freelance writer from Singapore who runs a tea blog at tealadymel.wordpress.com and has too much tea at home. She loves how her favorite things in life – travel, nature, history, and contemplation – are all so beautifully encapsulated in this one beverage. Melanie’s favorite tea-related memories include breaking a teacup in Cameron Highlands, sunbathing at The Tea Factory Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, and blending green tea in Shizuoka.
[At the time this bio was written…] Rachel Linton was a seventh grader who enjoys school, math, and being on the Mock Trial Team. Her other hobbies include reading (especially fantasy books and Shakespeare), Girl Scouts, and singing along with her CDs. She also plays the piano. Rachel loves cats, both her own Abyssinian and those she works with at the local animal shelter. She also loves tea (not quite as much as cats), especially the Cinnamon Apple variety. Rachel currently resides in Southern California with her parents, twin sister, and cat Juliet.
[At the time this bio was written…] Sarah Linton was a seventh grader who enjoys running Cross Country and Track. Other hobbies include collecting stamps, listening to music, and making friendship bracelets. She is also a dedicated Girl Scout and violinist. Sarah loves school, and especially enjoys math and writing. Only recently has she discovered the joys of tea. Sarah lives in Southern California with her mom, dad, twin sister, pet Abyssinian cat (Juliet), and bearded dragon lizard (Spirit).
A graduate from St. Pauls, Darjeeling, Ankit Lochan has tea in his veins. Starting his tea career at the ripe old age of 15, Ankit has developed a keen sense of the value of this local product. Having been trained at various tea estates in India, he has become the main tea sourcing brain for Surajmukhi Tea, which he founded. He has worked with a lot of tea companies worldwide in establishing various new tea projects. A renowned and well-known tea entrepreneur with a strong history in the Indian tea industry, Ankit Lochan has established Surajmukhi Tea with a vision of sharing Indian teas with the world the way it was meant to be tasted – fresh and of the highest quality.
The strategic location at Siliguri gives us an edge over others since this place is the centre of tea growing areas of Assam, Dooars, Terai, Darjeeling, and Dinajpur districts of North East India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. All 500 million kilos of tea produced in this area pass through this town and 100 million kilos are sold through the Siliguri Tea Auction, of which we are an operating member. The small tea growers movement has led to the establishment of scores of Bought Leaf Tea Factories (BLF), which in addition to single estate teas gives a wide spectrum of choices for a buyer, sourcing teas from this town.
Ankit Lochan has been actively involved with various worldwide projects like the development of Nespresso Tea Project (Nestle) in Switzerland, the development of RTDs in North America, the World Tea expo in Las Vegas, USA, the development of black tea culture in China, and the setting of Indian style tea houses in Japan.
Surajmukhi Tea (formerly known as Lochan Sons) is a Darjeeling-based tea company with the Magic Tea Brand and focuses on delivering the best Indian Teas to Tea Connoisseurs and wholesalers worldwide.
Our aim at Lochan Sons is to reach out to all the tea lovers worldwide and arrange to deliver fresh, unique, and special teas to them at their doorstep. It is our passion to share our Indian teas in their freshest and finest state so customers get the value for their money and enjoy every cup of tea the way it is meant to be…
Surajmukhi Tea through its website was one of the most progressive and innovative tea companies in serving our wholesale partners with a wide variety of Indian teas at the most reasonable prices.
Life provided Rajiv Lochan opportunity to experiment with tea, and that he did in Darjeeling and China, and now working on a project to find original tea cultivars which were brought from China to India to establish a parallel tea industry to cater to the needs of Imperial trade in early 1800’s. After serving as a tea planter for 23 years, he started a tea business; which has helped him find more and more about tea, and finally made him into a tea researcher. Deciphering Chinese tea scriptures is the only key to success. Born in 1953 in Aligarh in northern India, he planted about 1,000 hectares of tea for his company which he served until 1997; and for his own small plantation, which he is using as an experimental plot in non-traditional tea growing area of Bihar, the land of Buddha. Promoting Indus Foundation to look after the educational needs of local children, who should grow to be better citizens, is the social aspect in his mind. www.lochantea.com
Laura Logsdon has lived and traveled all over the world. While living in New Zealand as a child, she fell in love with the ritual of stopping everything and slowly sipping a warm cup of tea. As an adult, Laura lives in Los Angeles, where she works in the entertainment industry. In her free time, she travels the world with her husband on a quest for the perfect cup of tea.
Nicholas Lozito is a purveyor of Raw Pu’er tea sourced from one family and one farm. He runs Misty Peak Teas and focuses on bringing the story and culture of tea to “The West” while keeping the tradition and tea in its purest form. After years of living with the family, Nicholas now spends most of the year in America hosting events and educating tea shops and tea drinkers on Pu’er Tea.
A webmaster based in Virginia, Ryan was an east coast addition to the T Ching staff. Ryan’s own tea addiction started with a randomly purchased Sow Mee white tea from an Asian market when he was in college. Since then, he’s expanded his horizons and knowledge about tea, tea preparation methods, and tea production and runs the online tea shop Asacha. Ryan spends his spare time working on personal web projects and music, writing about veganism and animal rights, as well as hanging out with his wife, daughter, son, and basset/shepherd/bloodhound mix.
Susana Mojica is a sun-loving California native currently living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She studied organic agriculture in Northern California and has a deep understanding of nature and our relationship to it. She is fascinated by the synergistic relationships we have created with plants. When arriving in Milwaukee, she was fortunate to find Rishi Tea and expand on her knowledge and love of plants. Over the past three years, her esteemed teacher and tea mentor, Joshua Kaiser, has had a profound impact on her road to understanding the way of the leaf. She now helps run the Mail Order Division at Rishi Tea and is able to expand on her knowledge of tea while helping guide many on their own personal tea quests.
Tracy Monson is the owner and founder of Essencha Tea House & Fine Teas in Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating with a degree in Film from the University of Colorado (Boulder), Tracy took a 2-1/2-year trip around the world, spending much of her time in tea-producing, tea-drinking cultures. A large portion of that time was spent in Japan, where she worked while studying ceramics, tea, and Japanese. Although she had always been a tea drinker, it was during this time that she began a true love affair with tea and its associated cultures, rituals, history, art, and aesthetics. After leaving Japan, Tracy decided to backtrack, taking another trip around the world; during which time she met and married her husband of 14 years. After her return to the States in the mid-90’s, Tracy began a career in IT while pursuing her MBA. It was during this time that she began to explore the feasibility and viability of opening and sustaining a modern teahouse in Cincinnati. About a year and a half after graduation, she left her career and opened Essencha Tea House in March 2006. In addition to overseeing strategy at the teahouse, Tracy is the mother of three young children and spends what little free time she has outside the teahouse exercising, cooking, reading, and entertaining.
Guy Munsch was the co-founder (with Methee Thavornvongkajorn) of Zen Tara Tea (2007-2014) in Bethesda, Maryland. A lifelong tea drinker and tea advocate, Guy travels frequently around Asia, visiting tea growing regions and cultural heritage sites bringing these interconnections back home to the U.S. through carefully selected teas, tastings, and community workshops focused on tea history and culture.
Nancy Murphy lives in Austin, Texas where she works in high tech. She enjoys learning about tea, and in her spare time is working on her dream of owning a tea shop – although this may be a retirement career. She takes many opportunities to pursue her tea education, and continues to be touched by how open and welcoming everyone in the tea world has been. She has enjoyed exploring tea shops and markets in locations such as China, Malaysia, England, and France and would love to take a trip to the tea estates in India, Taiwan, and China.
In 2000, Zhena was faced with the most difficult challenge of her life when her son Sage was born with a severe birth defect. Barely making ends meet, and with no health insurance to cover Sage’s mounting medical costs, Zhena was determined to earn the income necessary to support the needs of her son and finance the several surgeries necessary to ensure Sage’s survival. With her degree in aromatherapy, her love of tea, and a small collection of money from friends and family Zhena embraced her Ukrainian Gypsy ancestry and began peddling her teas out of a cart on California street corners. Believing that selling her tins of tea could alter fate, Zhena became a purveyor of hope and the founder of Gypsy Tea. Today Sage is a healthy, energetic boy and the company is an award-winning brand delighting consumers around the globe.
David Novak writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column and has appeared on TV, radio, and magazines such as Reader’s Digest, USA Today, Newsweek, the Today Show, the Paul Harvey Show, and the CBS Morning Show. David writes about health, diet, and fitness and is a regular contributing editor for Healthline.
Nini Ordoubadi is an Iranian-born designer who founded Tay Tea in 2003. A New Yorker for over thirty years, Nini has developed a unique and evocative line of hand-crafted tea blends that are coveted by aﬁcionados. Nini’s singular and artistic approach to tea blending draws direct inspiration from the ancient tea rituals and ceremonies of the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, India, and beyond. Her personal and deep cultural connection with the East is a limitless source of creative inspiration. Tay Home, Nini’s teashop in Andes, New York, opened its doors in May 2005 and quickly became the social hub for the town and environs. The growing popularity and following of the shop is due mainly to its owner’s charisma and the storeʼs fresh and ever-changing décor. Tay Home promotes the work of local artisans and has a well-edited collection of teaware, tea gifts, home furnishings, and garden accessories. But all these take a back seat to the main attraction, which is, of course, the tea. Tay Tea Bar serves various hot and cold teas daily, and the beautiful canisters grace the shop with their distinct and colorful labels and whimsical names. Nini has also used her tea-blending skills to design custom tea collections for exclusive clients, such as Henri Bendel, Emerson Resort and Spa in New York, and The Fontainebleau Spa in Florida, among others. Her brand has grown and developed steadily, and is frequently highlighted in the media. Tay Tea blends are currently available at prestigious retail stores, such as ABC Home in New York City and Mayﬂower Spa in Connecticut.
Terry Patzwald lives in Vancouver BC, Canada where he loves to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors being surrounded by the natural beauty that is abundant in British Columbia. He has spent most of his working career within the Financial Service Industry, but has recently decided he must pursue a new passion in the Health and Wellness field. And his love and fascination with Tea has lead him to pursue an opportunity to set up an online tea business so he can provide some of the best quality Teas available to people who have a refined knowledge and taste for tea. His focus for selecting teas will be based not only on the health benefits of the teas but also about the history and the regions of the world from which they are cultivated. He wishes to share his experience of his individual journey as he discovers the tea world and the challenges of setting up his website so tea lovers can take part in the expanding awareness of Tea and the ever-increasing selection that is becoming available from all over the world.
Jennifer Petersen, aka Cuppa Countess, owner of the Carnelian Rose Tea Company and Tea Trade Mart, is in her fourteenth year as a tea entrepreneur. Always curious about the hospitality of tea, Ms. Petersen appreciates the simplicity as well as the sumptuousness of tea. She has observed the customs of several countries including Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, and Mexico. Ms. Petersen is a respected, results-oriented teacher of tea and trains those who wish to create businesses related to tea. With afternoon tea themes developed around menus served at world-renowned (and sometimes off-beat) establishments, she features tea recipes and tea menus provided by the chefs and culinary staff at those lodging and hospitality venues.
James Norwood Pratt
James Norwood Pratt published his first book on tea in 1982 and is widely acknowledged as an instigator and prophet of America’s present tea renaissance. With numerous columns, articles, and interviews in overseas tea periodicals and books which have been translated into French, German, Czech, and Chinese, he is perhaps the world’s most widely read author on the subject today. He was made Honorary Director of America’s first traditional Chinese tea house, was instrumental in creating APTI (precursor of the current Specialty Tea Institute), has been editor-in-chief of two tea magazines and leads tea tours to China and India. In 2005 he was chosen International Juror in India’s first-ever tea competition. His entertaining talks and tea classes reach growing audiences each year and James Norwood Pratt’s “New Tea Lover’s Treasury”, his now classic “bible of tea”, remains the most comprehensive compendium on tea in English. Besides his “International Tea Dictionary” for the tea trade, his works in progress include “All About Black Tea: For those who’ve given tea a thought but not a try.” T Ching will preview selected excerpts.
Bruce Richardson is the owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and its publishing division Benjamin Press. He has served on the Advisory Committee for STI (Specialty Tea Institute of America) and the Editorial Board of Fresh Cup magazine. You can read his Perfect Cup column in every issue of TeaTime magazine or hear him speak at professional tea events such as the World Tea Expo. Bruce joined London’s Jane Pettigrew in co-authoring “The New Tea Companion” for The National Trust of England, one of 13 books he has authored or produced. He teamed up again with Jane and Elizabeth Knight to photograph and produce a three-volume set of travel guides to tea in New York, London, and Paris, entitled “Tea in the City.” His latest book is the 2011 edition of Okakura Kakuzo’s classic, “The Book of Tea.” Bruce was a member of the STI trade mission to Sri Lanka in 2003 and the 2004 mission to India. His photographs of tea workers and tea gardens in those two countries are featured in a traveling photography exhibit and the accompanying book and DVD “Looking Deeply into Tea,” produced with his wife, Shelley. A lifelong educator, Bruce earned a masters degree in choral conducting and music education before turning his talents to composing great tea blends in 1991. For the past thirteen years, he has combined his educational skills and his tea talents by hosting a bi-annual Tea 101 seminar for aspiring tea entrepreneurs. MSN calls Bruce Richardson “a leading tea expert involved in tea’s American renaissance for over 20 years.”
Sam is Tea Sommelier for TeaGschwendner, the world’s largest specialty tea retailer. He is a self-described ambassador for tea, sharing his passion one cup at a time with those curious about the most popular drink on the planet. Traveling far and wide in the name of tea, Mr. Ritchey has visited gardens in Nepal, India, and Japan, engaging with dozens of artisanal teamakers along the way. While he brings the insight of these journeys to his tastings and workshops, his true expertise has been built in Chicago.
[At the time this was written… ] Naomi Rosen is the owner of JoysTeaspoon.com (website no longer exists), a Las Vegas-based retail site featuring premium loose-leaf teas, organic spices, and accessories. Naomi recognized the ease of getting together with family and friends over a great meal and a fantastic cup of tea. Subsequently, Joy’s Teaspoon was launched in April 2010 to make fine teas and quality ingredients easily accessible and a little less frightening to prepare. Naomi presents Tea/Spice 101 and tea-pairing sessions throughout Southern Nevada and California, has spoken at the college level, and is a founding member of the Las Vegas Tea Festival. Naomi lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband, John, two little people – JJ and Gavin, and two drooly basset canines – Rosco and T.G.
James was born and raised in the Chicago Suburbs. He is a caffeine addict who does not drink coffee or soda – tea is what fuels him. His passion for tea began in 2008 while attending college when his now wife bought him an infuser and several bags of loose leaf tea. That started a hobby that has led to a collection of teas and teaware that has filled a few pantries in the house. His favorite teas are Chinese black teas, Wuyi oolongs, and sheng puerh. James works in IT and besides drinking tea he enjoys traveling, bouldering, and going to metal shows.
Dr. Milton Schiffenbauer is a microbiologist and Chairman of the Biology Department of Touro College (NYSCAS) in New York City. Dr. Schiffenbauer’s current research focus has been looking at the antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties of white tea.
Rupal Sharma has a flair for her writing and believes in improving herself every day which can only be done by reading and writing. She worked at Te.Cha Tea- Specialty Tea Boutique as a content marketing manager and a content writer. You can even read of more of her blogs in the blog section of the company’s website.