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Tasting Notes

Master’s Collection from Naoki

I have been delighted to spend some quality time with the high-grade matcha included in the Master’s Collection Matcha Set from Naoki Matcha. Part of the name of each tea in the collection reflects its region—NISHIO Bloom, UJI Harmony, and WAZUKA Hilltop. In this post, I share my reflections on each matcha, which I preferred straight, and which as a latte.

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Blog

What Kind of Tea Guest Are You?

We all want to be good tea guests, right? Let’s consider why serious tea enthusiasts (and sometimes even intermediate tea lovers) can, despite our good intentions, be intimidating guests. And, let’s try to fix that. This post is Part Two in a two-part series. You may want to read Part One, What Kind of Tea Drinker Are You?, and take the handy quiz in that post, before reading on.

Tea Enthusiasts Can Intimidate Our Friends

As I moved from an intermediate to a serious tea enthusiast, I realized something that made me sad. Namely, several of my friends who had been excited to talk about tea and serve me tea at their house started sharing that they were worried that I would judge them or be disappointed in the tea they served. They were now uncomfortable with me as a guest because I hadn’t successfully communicated my love of tea in a way that made them look forward to connecting with me over a cuppa anymore. It became a stress for them.

Two cups of tea
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Blog

What Kind of Tea Drinker Are You?

What kind of tea drinker are you? Why is it important to know, you wonder? Serious tea enthusiasts, I’m sorry to report, intimidate the general public. What’s worse, we also make our friends nervous.

This post is Part One in a two-part series. It shares a handy quiz to help you diagnose the extent to which your relationship to tea is likely to intimidate your friends. Part Two, What Kind of Tea Guest Are You?, shares advice on what to do about it.

These items are a clue to what kind of tea drinker you are
Do you have lots of teas, teaware, tea-shirts, and/or accessories?
Your answers provide some clues to what kind of tea drinker you are.
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Blog Recipe

How to Make Sparkling Tea from Concentrate or Cold Brewed in Seltzer

I *love* sparkling tea. By that, I mean Camellia sinensis prepared with seltzer. (Depending on where you live, you might call it carbonated water, soda water, or something else.) This post shares some tips for making sparkling tea at home.

Sparkling tea was on my radar for a while. Alas, I didn’t encounter a place that served it until the summer of 2019, when I visited the 29B Teahouse on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. I ordered an excellent ceremonial grade matcha and a glass of sparkling Darjeeling tea, knowing that I could never drink that much caffeine at once. My plan was to drink about half of each. Reader: I drank every drop of both. It is probably the most tea drunk I have ever been. #NoRegrets

Darjeeling Sparkling Tea
Sparkling Darjeeling tea at 29B Teahouse in August of 2019

Sparkling Darjeeling was a revelation. It was incredibly floral with a rich tapestry of aromas and flavors. I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. I had previously assumed that I couldn’t make my own sparkling tea at home since I didn’t have a seltzer machine (AKA soda maker); however, that delicious glass of effervescent liquid sunshine made me determined to figure out how to do it. I tried two methods–one by making a concentrate, the other by cold brewing directly in the seltzer.

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Blog

Lessons about Authenticity from the Online Tea Community

I have been learning a lot about myself lately–particularly lessons about authenticity. I am a long-time tea lover who has been doing extensive work around personal growth and building a deeper mindfulness practice in 2021. Tea and, now, meditation are daily practices for me. Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking around issues of authenticity.

Here is one deep lesson that I have learned about myself: while I tend not to do things simply to please people, I realize that too often I stop myself from doing things that I would like to do so I won’t displease others. (That’s why I included that second and third line in my authenticity mantra, in the photo below.) My experience as tea blogger and as a content creator (particularly on Instagram) offer me regular challenges to being authentic.

Authenticity mantra inside a teacup: "Don't aim to please. Don't try to hide. Honor the truth inside."
My summer 2021 authenticity mantra.
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Blog

The Problem with Afternoon Tea

Afternoon teas are full of sensory delights–delicate porcelain, fragrant tea, fine tablecloths, tasty sandwiches, buttery scones, and dainty desserts. Still–I have a confession. Despite being a tea lover, I have a problem with afternoon tea.

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Tasting Notes

Tisane Recommendations to Match Your Tea Mood

When I say I love tea, I emphatically mean the beverage made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. I don’t mean herbal teas (AKA tisanes). My desire to drink tasty beverages, however, is greater than my ability to tolerate caffeine (sadly), so I am constantly searching for caffeine-free tisanes that I enjoy. I have been experimenting with tisane recommendations to match tea moods or preferred flavor profiles.

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Blog

Learn More about Korean Tea

A delicious Boseong Hwangcha was my first intentional–and very delicious–encounter with Korean tea. It inspired me to make a resolution to learn more about Korean tea. At first, I wasn’t sure how to begin.  

Cup of Korean Balhyocha tea
Bookmark featuring a special knot and Korean hanbok next to a cup of Balhyocha tea

I conducted (delicious) “research”–sipping many cups of tea–and attended several webinars. I also participated in multiple tea workshops, attended (virtual) tea talks, and received some help from a tea-blogging friend. Now, I am happy to share some resources so that you can join me on this learning journey! I am honored to highlight two skilled Korean tea sommeliers who run companies that focus on, or include, tea. These talented professionals have made very helpful introductory videos. Both women have rich professional accomplishments and backgrounds–more than this post can do full justice to!

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Blog

Rejecting a Culture of Scarcity

Have you ever toggled between reading two books and found a beautiful and fruitful convergence? That happened to me last week and it felt like a gift. It was as if the universe kindly underscored a message so I would be sure to receive it. That message was about rejecting a culture of scarcity.

Rejecting a culture of scarcity
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Blog

Virtual Tea Talks and Workshops

Would you like to learn about tea from the comfort of your own home and have the opportunity to learn from experts who, perhaps, live far away? If you answered yes, then this post is for you! It will provide a curated range of virtual tea talks and workshops, broken down by type. I draw upon experience in this post. I only recommend online events by tea educators and tea businesses that I have attended and found worthwhile.

woman attending virtual tea talk
Enjoy an online or virtual tea talk or workshop from anywhere!