Guest Post: The History of Bubble Tea by Mike at BubbleTeaology

I am pleased to have the opportunity to publish a guest post from Mike at BubbleTeaology, a distributor of equipment and machinery used to create the popular tea beverage known as Bubble Tea.

Bubble Tea is offered in some Asian restaurants, as well as independent stands and kiosks in malls, airports, and other high-traffic spaces. My son loves to get a cup of Bubble Tea as an after dinner treat at a local Thai restaurant near our home, Thai Foon.

I would like to thank Mike for taking his time to prepare this write-up for the Tea Journeyman blog. If you own a restaurant, beverage or snack stand, or any business that could benefit from offering Bubble Tea, please contact Bubble Teaology. They have all the tools and supplies to help jumpstart your new Bubble Tea product line.

Now, let’s give the spotlight to Mike, and allow him the opportunity to teach us more about Bubble Tea.

The History of Bubble Tea

      Tea has been enjoyed by many for thousands of years and over that time, various recipes and varieties have been created by tea lovers. One fairly recent addition is called bubble tea. Let’s take look at the history of bubble tea and find out where and how this variation came about. 

It all began in the early 1980s in a small tea shop in Taiwan. Tea is popular with school children in Taiwan, and tea stands set up outside of schools would compete for the students’ business. One enterprising owner started mixing fruit flavors with the tea, creating a delicious and refreshing drink that the children loved. Mixing the flavor with the tea required some vigorous shaking, which resulted in thousands of tiny air bubbles and gave rise to the name “Bubble Tea”.

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The next step in the history of bubble tea is the introduction of tapioca pearls to cold infused beverages. Credit for this advancement is given to Taiwanese resident Liu Han-Chieh, who began topping drinks with the pearls in 1983. The tapioca pearls are meant to be consumed along with the beverage, giving the tea drinker a truly unique experience.

The tapioca pearls looked like another set of bubbles, this time residing at the bottom of the glass. The term “bubble tea” was used for shaken, flavored tea whether it had the pearls or not. So a new variety was born.  This trend has taken off around the world and in the US with bubble tea shops opening up everywhere. Adding to the fascination of bubble tea are the bubble tea machines that shake and seal bubble tea.

Fans of bubble tea with tapioca pearls enjoy their distinctive flavor and consistency. The pearls can be white or black, with the white pearls being pure tapioca and the darker ones mixing in some cassava root or brown sugar. In either case, the result is a gummy, chewy ball that is called the tapioca pearl. Bubble tea beverages that contain these pearls are served with an extra wide straw so you can suck up the pearls as you are drinking your tea.

The use of tapioca pearls gave rise to many other names for bubble tea. You may see it offered as pearl milk tea, boba tea, pearl ice tea and tapioca ball drink to name a few. Most bubble tea has a cold, fruit-infused tea as its foundation. You can easily identify this beverage by the pearls, which appear to be bubbles, at the bottom of a clear glass, or by the wide straw provided with your drink.

Though it originated in Taiwan and became wildly popular in that country, the taste for bubble tea has spread throughout the world. New mixtures using milk and different ingredients to create the pearls are constantly being tried. You can get a bubble tea beverage with pearls comprised of green tea, sago, taro or jelly, to name a few. It seems that the only limiting factor is the imagination of the creator, ensuring that the history of bubble tea is still a work in progress. Try a glass and see if you agree that it is a unique and refreshing beverage. You’ll probably be back for more!

Author Bio:

Mike is originally from the US but has spent the past 6 years in Taiwan and 2 of those years working for one of the largest bubble tea shops in Taiwan.  Now he is the owner of BubbleTeaology which supplies Boba Tea Machines and Wholesale Ingredients to drink shops around the world.

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World Tea Academy : Advanced Cupping Course

Hello again, fellow tea enthusiasts! I have been away for a while, mostly out of the country, the rest of the time catching up on work at the office and at home. I am expecting some fresh samples to arrive soon, so new reviews will be posted in the near future.

In the meantime, I wanted to write about the current course that I am taking through the World Tea Academy. For those of you who are not familiar with the World Tea Academy, it is the educational branch of World Tea Media in North America. The instructor is Donna Fellman, a well-respected and experienced member of the tea industry. Donna, along with an impressive cast of “Strategic Technical Advisors”, all contribute to the educational material, assuring that the content is accurate. These courses are offered online, and international students are welcome as much as students from North America. For more information on the World Tea Academy, please go to http://www.worldteaacademy.com/

To this point, I have completed six of the seven courses necessary to earn the Certified Tea Specialist designation. Currently, I am participating in the final course of this program, the Advanced Cupping course. I can say with certainty that this course is by far the most interesting and beneficial course that I have taken through World Tea Academy or American Tea Masters Association. The educational materials focus on the effects of terroir and processing techniques, as well as the grading of teas, and various defects that may occur during production. The assignments have students focus on each of these topics by having them cup and compare similar styles of tea that: 1) come from different terroirs, 2) have different processing techniques, and 3) have different grades.

As I have mentioned in previous posts when I compared two or more teas in one cupping session, these types of experiences are incredibly beneficial and teach lasting lessons to those who participate in them. With more of the advanced curriculum now appearing on the schedule at the World Tea Academy, it is an exciting time to be a student in this program. Whether you are a beginner enthusiast or more experienced, you always have something to gain from the World Tea Academy, recognition for your knowledge of fine teas! In one week, I will receive my second tea related certification, and I am proud to earn that certification from the World Tea Academy.

Thank you to Donna Fellman, Monique Hatchett, and all of the staff and advisors at the World Tea Academy who make these programs possible! Cheers!

Look at These Leaves From the Radella Young Hyson Ceylon Green Tea!

How many green teas do you find that have leaves measuring four inches (100 mm) long by two inches (50 mm) wide? If I am to be conservative on the average length or the tea leaves that you will find in the Radella Young Hyson Ceylon Green Tea from The Tea Journeyman Shop, I would say the average length is two and a half to three inches (63 to 76 mm). I challenge my tea friends to post a picture with green tea leaves that are larger!

Radella Young Hyson Ceylon Green Tea - Large Leaves
Radella Young Hyson Ceylon Green Tea – Large Leaves

These leaves give the tea a strong mineral note, and can easily produce four or more infusions of great smelling and tasting tea! This tea is much different than any other green tea that I have ever experienced, and that is why I decided to offer it on my webstore. Experience this unique tea for yourself by visiting The Tea Journeyman Shop!

For the full review of the Radella Young Hyson Ceylon Green Tea, click here.

Guest Post: Making the Jump from Tea Drinker to Tea Server by Nicole Martin

Nicole Martin, tea writer and owner of the Tea For Me Please blog, has been generous enough to set some time aside to write a guest post for this blog. If you are familiar with tea related blogs, then certainly you have read some of Nicole’s articles before. Nicole has been tea blogging for much longer than I have, and has established an impressive reputation among the tea blogging community.

Within the past couple of months, Nicole has accepted a position at a traditional Chinese tea house in her area. Nicole’s post documents her experience in making her passion for tea more than just a personal hobby, as she is now on the other side of the retail fence, preparing and serving tea to other consumers.

After reading her post below, please remember to check out her tea blog at http://www.teaformeplease.com. Also, find her on Twitter and Instagram (@teaformeplease), as well as Facebook and LinkedIn. She regularly posts on a variety of tea topics, from tea and book reviews to tea shop experiences, and even interviews with some popular faces in the tea industry.

On to Nicole’s post…

Making the Jump from Tea Drinker to Tea Server

Tea has been an all consuming passion of mine for the last five years or so. Oddly enough, I’ve only recently made the jump to working at a local tea shop. Part of why it took me so long is that there weren’t any places that did tea the way that I wanted to. My conscience just would not allow me to push sales of german rock sugar and other unmentionables on unsuspecting shoppers. When a traditionally styled Chinese teahouse opened nearby, I jumped at the opportunity to pursue my obsession further. In my naivety I also thought that it might be easy. I had a strong retail background and plenty of tea swigging experience. What could be easier?

I soon discovered that it was not easy at all. My first few shifts left me exhausted with aching feet and burned fingertips. Although I’m fairly well versed in Chinese teas, I was at a loss for words when trying to describe the differences between them to my customers. Adapting to the shop’s recommended methods took some major adjusting as well. I had to retrain myself to pour gaiwans in a different way than I had been used to. Water temperatures, steep times and
the amount of leaf used are usually a matter of personal preference but in a work setting they become rules to be followed.

Given that most of our customers had never even tasted loose leaf tea before, we had to find an easy to understand language to get the point across. Wine analogies quickly became a frame of reference to help them to build a basic understanding. The knowledge that I had gleaned from
doing customer service for a wine retailer certainly came in handy. Myths about tea abound so we often answer the same questions every day. Which tea is the healthiest? White tea is made from the best leaves, right? Is it true that green tea doesn’t have caffeine? It’s hard to answer these questions because most of the time there is not an easy answer, even for a tea nerd like myself.

Brewing tea for others is very different from making it for myself at home. It is nerve wracking, humbling and fascinating all at once. Of course I wanted my new place of employment to do well but I was amazed at how well a very traditional tea shop has been received. Although a few have balked at the price, most of the people who have come through leave with a newfound appreciation for tea and Chinese culture. They all seem to really enjoy the calming effect that
tea has. While they focus on what they are sipping, the troubles that they walked in with seem to melt away.

Introducing someone to a tea that they never knew existed (like raw puerh or phoenix oolong) is an incredibly satisfying experiences. While I may not make a career out of it, every day is a challenge and there is always something new to learn. I cannot wait to see where my journey
with the leaf takes me next.

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Certainly, Nicole’s experience is something that any tea hobbyist can relate to. There is probably a larger amount of incorrect or oversimplified information in the U.S. tea market than thorough and correct information. And yes, tea preparation is a very subjective activity, meaning that each person can have a totally different method of brewing and enjoying their tea, so it would be difficult to serve a tea according to the strict instruction of the business owners, as compared to years of personal experience and opinion.

Best of luck to you, Nicole, in all of your future tea and non-tea endeavors. Continue doing an excellent job of spreading the good word about tea. There is plenty of information to spread to plenty of people!

Confessions of a Tea Blogger TAG!

When I am talking about tea to people, they ask me many of the questions that are listed below. Thanks to Nicole Martin from the TeaForMePlease blog, now I have a reason to post the answers. Now when people ask me the same questions, I can just hand them my card with my blog URL on it, and tell them to find this post! Just kidding. Anyway, thank you to Nicole for tagging me to do this confessions post. Let’s get started…

1) First, let’s start with how you were introduced & fell in love with the wonderful beverage of tea.
For the first twenty-six years of my life, tea was consumed mostly in the heavily sweetened form of canned or bottled tea (Brisk, Sobe, Arizona, etc). Arguments aside whether or not those products really count as “tea.” As for hot tea, it was only something that I drank when I was sick. That all turned around on one day. My wife had gone to the mall, and randomly decided to stop by Teavana. She purchased a bag of a flavored white tea blend (named below). I looked at the receipt. Once I regained consciousness and picked myself up off the floor, I asked her to brew a pot. For that price, this drink had better be the best liquid that ever hit my tongue. Well, I am not sure if I could give it that much credit (especially now), but I have to admit that I was surprised by how refreshing it was for a hot tea. By the time we hit the end of that bag, I was begging my wife to go to the mall. However, due to the bright and loud colors of that store, I had my wife do all the talking and purchasing, as I pretended to be the typical disinterested male who had been dragged in by his wife. Eventually, I got over that phobia, and became a regular there, spending way too much money on every visit. Thankfully for myself, I was only a Teavana nut for about eight months before seeking more exotic and interesting teas. Since then, I have not bought tea from Teavana.

2) What was the very first tea blend that you ever tried?
Teavana’s Golden Mojito White Tea. It was citrusy, minty, and light. Looking back, I still think it was my favorite product from Teavana.

3) When did you start your tea blog & what was your hope for creating it?
I started my tea blog only four months ago, in July of 2013. My initial purpose was the same as Nicole’s, I just wanted somewhere to have a record of all of the teas that I had been trying. I had began experimenting with importing teas from China, India, and Japan, so I decided to make my blog slightly different than others that I had seen. I wanted to make my blog strictly about straight, unflavored and unscented teas that I had imported. Since I was trying to find business partners to begin a tea company with, I wanted to create a more formal, objective review blog. Now that I have that business partner, I have toned down the formality ever so slightly, and tried to make the blog a little more personal.

4) List one thing most rewarding about your blog & one thing most discouraging.
I truly enjoy writing, and truly enjoy trying new styles of tea, so the blog really gives me the opportunity to do two things that I have a passion for. At the moment, just finding the time to post can be discouraging. When you have two full time jobs that you try to accomplish in the same nine hour work day window, you really just want to go home and enjoy a pot of tea, and not necessarily spend more time and energy analyzing the tea rather than feeling it and enjoying it. Having a blog, if you take it seriously, can take on the burden of feeling like a job.

5) What type of tea are you most likely to be caught sipping on?
Although it is difficult for me to pick a favorite, I would say that there are three teas that I currently drink more often than others. A Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail black tea, a Supreme Grade Ti Kwan Yin from Anxi, and an unflavored Jinxuan (milk) oolong from Alishan, Taiwan. I am also a huge fan of Nuwara Eliya black, but do not have a fresh supply at the moment, sadly. I am working on that problem, though. 🙂

6) Favourite tea latte to indulge in?
Boring answer here, none. Tea is my balance to the many bad decisions I make diet-wise.

7) Favourite treat to pair with your tea?
I usually do not eat while enjoying tea. In fact, I will not eat for a half hour or more when I plan on having tea. I like to fully appreciate the tea. If I have friends or family over, and everyone is munching while playing a game or otherwise socializing, then I will have whatever food is on the table, and accordingly will not bother brewing a pot of my better teas, for I know that no one will be fully able to enjoy it.

8) If there was one place in the World that you could explore the tea culture at, where would it be & why?
If this were a personal trip, my first stop would be Taiwan. Nothing makes me happier than getting packages of Taiwan oolong and black tea samples. I would walk into the TRES buildings and personally thank every single person who works at the place that has brought us so many awesome tea cultivars. Not to mention the mountains would be a great place to reflect on life while enjoying a true high mountain oolong. After Taiwan, based on tea culture alone, the list would be Southwest China, Japan, Southeast China, Darjeeling and Assam, Sri Lanka, and the list goes on.

9 ) Any tea time rituals you have that you’d like to share?
In one area of my basement, I have my tea area. This used to be my bar and alcohol area until my son was born. Since then, all the alcohol and related barware has been replaced with teas and teaware. When I find time, and sadly that is not as often as I would like, I will prepare a very good tea, usually a sheng puerh or the supreme grade ti kwan yin mentioned above, turn the lights down to a very low level, turn on the meditation radio channel on Pandora at a low volume, and just be still. The only movement being the lifting of my cup. It is easy to understand how the mountain mystics of China could live as they did when I feel the depth of serenity during these few moments.

10) Time of day you enjoy drinking tea the most: Morning, Noon, Night or Anytime?
All day, every day. Most enjoyably after my son has gone to bed for the night, and I can take a few minutes to relax and slowly enjoy a pot, without having to be on top of everything going on in the house.

11) What’s one thing you wish for tea in the future?
My wish for tea is that more people develop an appreciation for it. Tea is more than just another naturally occurring material that can be used to make water taste better. It is a tonic, an elixir, a magical potion that is capable of more and better effects than any other single plant on this planet. As many have said, there are no words to describe the energy that eminates from tea, but I feel it. I cannot describe it. To me, it is spiritual, and brings me peace and serenity when nothing else can.

Thank you again, Nicole, for giving me the opportunity to participate in this. It has given me a chance to reflect on my past, present, and future with tea. Cheers!

TAG! I select Brenna from Seattle Coffee Gear to participate in this chain. @seacoffeegear

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.

Gourmet Tea at the Capital Grille in Pittsburgh

As part of the celebration of my wife and my fourth anniversary, we decided to have a high end night on the town in Pittsburgh. The plan was to hit the Capital Grille on Fifth Avenue for dinner, followed by a performance of symphonies by Russian composers Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff at Heinz Hall. Being an admirer of classical music, not only because there is much skill involved, but also because there are no lyrics to ruin it like much of today’s music, and the fact that my wife is from Moldova (former Soviet satellite), we are always looking out for good symphonies to experience. If the composers are Russian, then she gets just as excited as I do.

But let’s get to the point. Yes, the food from Capital Grille was very good. With the price point that the restaurant demands, the food better be good, so that should not be surprising. The scotch was great, and a perfect compliment to the steak. However, I did not see any tea listed on the main menu. This was disappointing, as I had no time during the afternoon to enjoy any tea.

My wife asked for a dessert menu, and I intended on asking if they had any hot tea. I expected them to have the typical display box of six Tazo teabag selections, at best. To my surprise, listed on the dessert menu, was a short list of “gourmet” teas. My first thought was “Why is this on the dessert menu? I would have skipped the scotch and gone right for the tea had I known they had something decent.” See the photo below for a semi-blurry, but legible picture of this short tea list.

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Four teas, three if you disqualify the chamomile selection for not technically being tea, but certainly better than the Tazo that was expected. My second thought, as I perused the list, was “Hmm, Earl Grey, from a single estate in Sri Lanka. Maybe I should ask which estate it is from, just to see if they can answer that.” I decided on the Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) oolong, as the time was about 7:30 PM, and it’s my time of day for oolong or green tea. My wife ordered her dessert drink, and I ordered the Bai Hao, with the intention of asking about the estate in Sri Lanka that the Earl Grey is sourced from. However, the waiter did not even realize that I was ordering tea when I asked for Bai Hao, and he looked at the menu to see which tea was the oolong. At that point, I decided it was not even worth the time to ask about the Earl Grey.

The tea arrived quickly. The waiter, simply doing his job and knowing little about the tea, poured me a small cup. At this point, the tea sachet holding the Bai Hao could not have been in that water for more than a minute. My wife reminded me that it would be rude and weird for me to pour the tea from the cup back in to the pot to allow for my preferred brewing time. The tea sachet was pulled from the pot at what I estimated to be about two and a half minutes. The sachet was generously filled with Bai Hao. Being the considerate husband that I am (right, Alinushka?), I waited for my wife’s after dinner drink to arrive. I smelled the tea, and it was missing some of the obvious fruit aromas that are typical of Bai Hao. The honey aroma was there, but the fruit was lacking.

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Pouring Myself Some Bai Hao Oolong at Capital Grille

Perhaps I am being overly critical. The tea was good, much better than I expected to have. I thoroughly enjoyed two pots worth of the Bai Hao. As we were preparing to leave, I was having an internal argument whether or not to open the sachet to inspect the leaves. Two reasons were feeding my desire to inspect. First, the lack of fruit aromas and taste. Second, the shape of the sachet was inconsistent with the open leaf twisted style of Bai Hao that I am familiar with. The tea in the sachet appeared to be expanding like a semi-ball oolong might. What do you think I did? We were seated at a table that was literally in the middle of this very upscale restaurant. Did I take the chance of looking like a child playing with his food in this nice restaurant?

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You better believe I did! I opened that sachet, dumped every last leaf on the saucer, and proceeded to do my usual leaf by leaf inspection. My findings were inconclusive, however. The restaurants lighting was very dim, and it was difficult to determine the color of the edges of the leaf. The leaves were all large fragments. I did not find any fully intact leaves. The leaves did appear to be semi-ball style oolong since it took some unrolling and unfolding to view the entirety of the leaves. Some of the leaves did show signs of possible bug feeding (small holes in the middle), which is indicative of a Bai Hao style of oolong, but certainly not definitive evidence. The size and shape of the leaves convinced me that these leaves were most likely from Taiwan, as described on the menu, but whether this tea was truly Bai Hao, I have my concerns. Next time, if there is one, I will ask the waiter to not place the sachet in the water prior to bringing it to the table. Then it’s time for a dry leaf inspection.

Overall, I do thank the Capital Grille for offering loose leaf tea, however short the list may be. I was quite satisfied with the two pots of oolong. It was pleasant to see that an upscale restaurant in Pittsburgh values the quality of tea that they offer. In fact, it made me wonder how many of the nicer restaurants offer such teas at all. It also gave my wife a good excuse to suggest going to upscale restaurants more often. I agreed with her, and I hope to make this a series of posts analyzing the tea menus and quality at the nicer restaurants in Pittsburgh.

As a lover of tea, it is certainly my hope to see more and more businesses offering better quality tea. The Capital Grille exceeded my expectation simply by offering loose leaf tea at all, and the fact that I would have enjoyed any of the four on their menu tells me that someone inside that company does know something about teas. I left a business card with a note saying that I would be reviewing the tea on my website, and thanking them for offering loose leaf tea. I doubt that the waiter or busser passed that note on, but if they did, and someone from the Capital Grille is seeing this post, then thank you again for offering gourmet teas. Please excuse the knit-picking above. I will gladly recommend your restaurant for the food, the scotch, and the tea. Cheers!

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.

My Guest Post on the TeaForMePlease Blog

I recently submitted a guest post for Nicole Martin, the administrator of the TeaForMePlease Blog. Check out the post here: http://goo.gl/tFS2Td . It is a short post regarding my studies of the Taiwan Research and Extension Station (TRES). Nicole always has something interesting to read about, so be sure to follow her blog at http://www.teaformeplease.com .

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.

Photos of Fresh Picked Ti Kuan Yin Leaves from the Autumn Harvest

My friend, Linda Lin, from the Lin family Farm, was nice enough to take a few photos from their Autumn Harvest this past week, and send them over to me. The Lin Farm is located in Anxi county, Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China. You may find reviews on two of their Ti Kuan Yin oolong teas under the Oolong Tea category at the top of the page. I have reviewed their Aged Ti Kuan Yin, and their Ti Kuan Yin A+ grade. Both were phenomenal. In fact, I purchased 500 grams (just over a pound) of the A+ grade as part of my birthday gift this year since it was so good. I would have ordered more, but my birthday budget only called for 500 grams and a large stretched canvas print of Lipton’s Seat in Sri Lanka, overlooking the tea plantations. I will post a picture of that once my wife lets me open it in a week. Here are the photos.

Fresh Picked Ti Kuan Yin Leaves
Fresh Picked Ti Kuan Yin Leaves

 

Fresh Brewed Ti Kuan Yin
Fresh Brewed Ti Kuan Yin

Japanese Tea Ceremony Performed by Tea Ceremony Master Yuko Eguchi

On September 29th of 2013, I attended a Japanese Tea Ceremony in Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania. The performance was organized by Margaret Harris, owner of Margaret’s Fine Imports and head organizer for the Pittsburgh Tea Club Meetup group. If you live in the Pittsburgh area, and are interested in joining the Pittsburgh Tea Club, which I also co-organize, please check out the Meetup page here. To visit Margaret’s website and view the many loose leaf teas, fresh roasted coffees, and other tea related and unrelated products, please click here.

The event started off with an introduction to Japanese Tea Ceremony by Margaret. Margaret then introduced the Tea Ceremony Master Yuko Eguchi (photo below). Master Eguchi provided a detailed introduction to Japanese Tea Ceremony, including the historical background of how it was developed in Japan. To summarize, in the times surrounding the creation and refinement of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, violence was a part of everyday life. The average person could have been targeted for murder for being viewed as an inconvenience to the political class, and other influential entities. Therefore, the Tea Ceremony was created and refined to provide people of all classes with a few moments to reflect on their gratitude for being alive, and having their loved ones alive as well. Four virtues were to be reflected upon in the moments leading up to, and during, the Tea Ceremony. Those four virtues were Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility. The Ceremony was practiced and viewed as a momentary retreat from the dangerous world. The phrase ichi-go ichi-e was treasured, for it is a short way of expressing that every moment should be appreciated, for it cannot be replicated.

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Master Eguchi then concluded the introduction to Tea Ceremony. Being trained in Geisha dance also, Master Eguchi first performed a brief and fairly conservative Geisha dance. As she explained, many Geisha dances are more energetic, and not a proper lead in for a Tea Ceremony. Once the dance was completed, the Tea Ceremony began. Master Eguchi asked for three volunteers to serve as the “guests” of her Tea Ceremony. I overcame my shyness rather quickly, as I was not going to pass up the opportunity to have a front row seat and get to enjoy a matcha made by a Tea Master. It was quite serene and calming to observe Master Eguchi move with patient precision, slowly arranging, cleaning, and preparing each bowl of matcha using very specific movements and methods. A semi-sweet cookie is provided to each guest, which is eaten shortly before the matcha is served. This cookie is intended to balance the natural bitter taste of the matcha, and balance the taste it did. As I received my matcha bowl and took a sip, I was very surprised by the lack of bitterness on the tongue. The only taste that was noticeable was the sweet and vegetal notes of matcha. Finishing the bowl in the prescribed three and a half sips, I was quite satisfied with the tea. The Ceremony then concluded as peacefully as it started, and left me feeling as though I had just awaken from meditation.

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After a brief Q&A session from the audience, I had the opportunity to speak with Master Eguchi, and take some photos. I have not had an opportunity to upload them from my camera yet, but once I do, I will post those photos here as well. I also had an opportunity to meet and speak with several local tea business owners, and other tea lovers. I had the opportunity to meet the proprietors of Gryphon’s Tea in Lawrenceville. Two excellent people with great knowledge of tea blending and tea business. Be sure to check out their tea shop by clicking here.

The Japanese Tea Ceremony was a very uplifting experience, and reinforced some of the Buddhist philosophies that drift in and out of my mind over time. I appreciate Margaret’s work in getting Master Eguchi to perform such a Ceremony, and I certainly hope to attend more formal ceremonies in the future. I also fully appreciate the time that Master Eguchi and her assistants took from their busy schedules to arrange and perform such an event. Thank you all for your efforts.

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.