I having a real hard time thinking of what to write, so I decided to show just a few pictures from my trip to the plantation in near Charleston, SC. I took this trip with fellow Specialty Tea Insitute people.
The Eclectic Market was good, though a little slow. The weather is most likely the reason because there were a lot of really great vendors and it was snowing. I still did decently. Sunday when I did not have any event the weather was nice. Monday evening when I had my class, we had an ice storm, so I had to cancel my class. Welcome to Wisconsin and winter here. Ok, it is not as bad as the picture I used.
Hopefully, soon I can have some time to make some more blends. I have a couple ideas but want to see how they turn out before saying what they are. I enjoy preparing my classes and getting ready for vendor events, but haven’t done any blending in a while and kinda want to do some of that. Hopefully soon.
I should also take care of a shipment I received from Taiwan. Some really nice oolongs.
I am proud of the tea education I received from the Specialty Tea Insitute (STI) in New York City. I became a certified tea specialist in 2009 and am the only one with this designation in Wisconsin. There have been a few minor changes, but what I am more amazed is how the foundation of my education is still relevant and even more relevant nowadays.
I have taught at least four Tea 101 classes or basic tea education classes. Most of the information in these classes were from my Foundation Level 1 class with maybe a little from the Foundation Level 2 class. I continued my education with the Professional Series and graduated from the Level 3, making me a certified tea specialist (not my designated, but STI’s designation). There are five classes with at least one class lasting two days to graduate with my designation. All the classes, even the Foundation 1 and 2 were 8-hour classes with the Professional Black Teas class being two 8-hour days. In each Professional class, we tried between 30-40 loose leaf teas with the Black Teas class at least double because of it being two days. The Professional Cupping class I do not remember how many teas we tried, but that class was specially taught to teach us proper cupping techniques and to develop our palate, so it was probably closer to the amount of our Black Tea class. All tea used during my education were loose leaf teas. I also took a Level 4 Class the Technology of Tea would love to take all of the Level 4 classes.
There is a lot of misinformation on the internet we all know this. I am not saying that there is not good information too, but a lot of self-appointed “tea experts” base their qualifications because they read it on the internet. Not on years of experience and not on knowledge from the industry leaders teaching you. The reason I address this is I have noticed some people coming to my classes with misinformation they learned from “tea experts”. My question is without a solid foundation how can someone detect if an article is faulty? Especially someone who cannot even give correct information on the basics? How can they even consider themselves a tea expert? I do not consider myself an expert and I have been trained by the world’s best. I consider myself a certified tea specialist because STI has given me this designation and I earned it by taking classes for years. You cannot quick read a few articles on the internet and practice law or even be a librarian. My sister is a librarian and you need your masters.
What’s in your tea bags? Some reasons to avoid tea bags
I really like this article because it sums up most of the reasons why I do not sell bagged tea. I believe it can cause health issues and tastes bad. Although I really like this article, it did not mention that since bagged tea usually uses dust and/or fannings the tea itself goes bad quickly because of the increased surface area. So mostly likely you are steeping stale or flat tea. This might be why people in this area do not like tea. They are drinking flat, stale, bitter, and astringent tea.
I feel like there needs to be a lot more education in the area I live because many people are a couple decades behind on their tea knowledge or listen to people who do not a have accurate information. I had a lady who swore by bagged teas and she kept saying High Tea. She meant a fancy tea, but that would be low tea, tea service, or afternoon tea. She also mentioned how Watts Tea Room is no more, but she did not mention that the Pfister has Afternoon Tea. The Pfister uses the correct term and uses loose leaf tea. She mentioned a bed and breakfast in Milwaukee that just had tea service on Sundays, but the Pfister has it Saturday and Sundays and 4 times slots each day. I know there is a few months waiting period to have Afternoon Tea at the Pfister and you get what you pay for. It costs but you get a quality experience. I am trying to give that to the greater Green Bay and Fox Valley area, but old stereotypes died hard.
The two photos below sum up why loose leaf tea is better also. Each one of those oolong teas balls unfurls and needs room to expand like the article I mentioned says. I really like how they explain it. So many reasons to use loose leaf tea.
Another great article from the World Tea News. This is great news for Nepal and I am a little surprised other tea origin countries have not done this yet, especially China. China is where white, yellow, green, oolong, purple, black, and pu-erh teas were first made. They deserve some respect for that. China is so remote in some areas that we are still discovering new teas that the Chinese people have been doing sometimes thousands of years.
I like the idea of the high standards like it must be organic for the trademark. Hopefully, people will realize the quality of Nepalese orthodox tea. The orthodox method just means tea done the traditional way, instead of by machines. Nepal is so poor orthodox method is still really viable. If this trademark gets some status to it, Nepal tea will not have to be smuggled into India to be sold as “Darjeeling” tea. Nepal must use the smaller leaf of camelia sinensis sinensis because Darjeeling teas use this leaf and most other teas in the surrounding areas of India use camelia sinensis assamica ( a broader leaf).
This Saturday I will hopefully be doing a Japanese tea tasting and Japanese tea history. Hopefully Friday I will hear good news about a potential prospect. Today I had a meeting with a lady to partner with her and someone else, details will come once some things get more formalized. Next Monday evening I will be teaching another free Tea 101 class, aka intro to tea.
I think my next post will be more informative than telling my goings on. Hopefully, my writing will also be better than that last sentence, lol.
Well, I have my Tea 101 class at the 9th Street Wellness Center in Green Bay at 10 am Saturday, February 3, 2018. It is a free class, so join us! A little nervous and excited at the same time. I hope it goes well.
I hopefully will have a good meeting with a company on Friday that we might work together and another meeting Monday with a person that is in the stages of hopefully working together. Fingers crossed and if they come true I will be happy to announce the details. I am cautiously optimistic about this year, heavy on the cautious part.