Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Hello Friends!
So happy to have met with many of you this year, and hope that next year will bring even more get-togethers!  
Am now settled in Chelmsford, MA, near Boston, so when you are in the area, let me know. Here's my “tea” address: virginia@pairteas.com.
Speaking of tea, have been extra busy this year with tea events. The “tea” thread through the year has been about the aromas of tea: what they are, how they come about, and how they blend with flavors from other plants and foods.
Started in this direction by participating via Skype with members of the US League of Tea Growers (usteagrowers.com) at their annual meeting in April, hosted by Jason McDonald at The Great Mississippi Tea Company (www.greatmsteacompany.com). During the meeting, members processed Jason’s leaves into tea, which gave me the perfect opportunity to share the chemistry of the formation of tea aromas, and for participants to experience the aromas produced by the leaves as they are processed. It was tremendous fun to be able to interact with everyone as they sniffed the scent samples I had sent down to Jason.  
Jason’s leaves reappeared at World Tea Expo in Las Vegas in June, where they were used in the tea processing workshop. Was invited to repeat some of my presentation on the scents of teas at that workshop. Was fascinated to see how participants related the scents to their experiences creating and sipping teas.
World Tea Expo brought me the opportunity for another presentation, this one a workshop about pairing foods with teas. Jason brought his Black Magnolia tea, and Vikram Mathur of Yatra Teas (www.yatrateacompany.com) brought three teas, a green (Fatikcherra Estate, Tripura, Autumn Flush),  an oolong (Goomtee Estate, Darjeeling, First Flush) and a black (Halmari Estate, Assam, Second Flush). All these teas were delicious and, importantly, distinctive.  I decided to forego a powerpoint for this presentation—an excellent decision, I think, because it allowed me to interact with the participants more directly. Explained how the trigeminal system works, and how it influences tea/food interactions. Everyone then experienced the interactions for themselves—most amusing was participants’ reactions to pairing a dark chocolate with the green tea…contorted faces and expressions of revulsion, in strong contrast to the response to the same chocolate with the black teas, and all explained by the functions of the trigeminal system.  


Above, a photo of the teas, scones, and trigeminal temperature diagrams at the WTE tea pairing workshop, taken by tea blogger extraordinaire Sara Shacket (www.tea-happiness.com). The teas you see are, left to right, Fatikcherra, Goomtee, Halmari, and Black Magnolia.

Repeated the US League of Tea Growers presentation, this time for all tea lovers, at the PA Tea Festival this September, hosted by tea lover and experienced herbalist—she comes from a multi-generation family of herbalists—Susanna Reppert Brill, at her Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg PA, pictured below (www.therosemaryhouse.com). I had met Susanna at a presentation I gave for the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association, and was thrilled when she invited me to participate in the Festival.  

What a magical setting! My table was in herb herb and fairy garden, in the shade, with lovely fellow vendors, including a charming person from Dollies Tea Room (Clear Spring, MD, www.dolliestearoom.com) who sold some outrageously beautiful tea party hats (as well as tea, of course), and was so helpful with my table set-up and tear-down.

Here I am at the table, selling my book, Three Basic Teas & How to Enjoy Them. The profit from the sales went to support Direct Relief (directrelief.org), an organization that brought medical supplies and care to victims of this year’s hurricanes and fires, and is still helping with last year’s Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico—mine was a small contribution, but every penny helps!


Photo by Kenneth Haulton, www.KennethHaulton.com 

To my great surprise I was called back to Cornell in October for a conference on…tea! The Cornell take on tea was historical and sociological—for example the role of the Great Depression and war in elevating tea to a national beverage in South Asia as exports to Europe and the Americas were collapsing. My contribution pointed out the effects of global warming on the aroma compounds in teas. The effects are not good. 

Importantly, the conference sponsored an essay contest in which students were asked to reflect on what they learned at the conference. You can find the winning essays here: 

This year, I also put together a course for the World Tea Academy on creating blended teas using herbs and spices, based on the principles I use for tea and food pairing. The course is part of a curriculum that leads you to become a Certified Tea BlenderTM—check it out at https://worldteaacademy.com/pages/details/1.

Coming in 2019: 
The Scents of Tea Kit! Spent most of August through November writing the book and preparing materials for the Kit that Scott Svihula of Hula Consulting (www.hulaconsulting.com) and I are planning to send to market in time for World Tea Expo 2019—let me know if you want a sneak preview! 

WTE workshop: Jason McDonald and I are planning a workshop for WTE where we process his leaves in four different ways to give four different green teas—be sure to sign up while reduced rates apply—they end January 31st!  (https://www.worldteaexpo.com/register/)

Wishing you and yours tea-mendous joy and fulfillment through 2019 and beyond!

2 comments:

  1. I am so excited for the Scents of Tea Kit! Hoping to see you at WTE next year :)

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  2. A tea scents kit sounds amazing! How does one get a preview? I won't be at WTE.

    ReplyDelete