March 21, 2019
After eating breakfast we took shuttles to Houtu Tea Factory in Shengzhou. They showed us the factory, gave us a talk, set up a mid-day snack, and a tour of there tea museum. It was a pretty rainy morning, so it was nice that we were inside for it. This is a place that produces gunpowder green tea. Not really in a writing mood today, but it was a lovely day. The afternoon will be talked about next week. Thank you for reading my blog and my trip to China.
March 19, 2019
The Raabs and I did go to the Specialty Tea Exhibit again on the morning of March 19, 2019. We were able to see the whole exhibition, the day before we were only there for about a half hour to hour. When you have about eight people it is harder to a quick look at all the exhibitors. We just really went to one booth and only looked at 2 -3 booths. The Raabs and I were able to see all of the booths and taste many, many teas. Later on, we had to get back for the business side of our trip. Learning about tea trends across the world from the heads of the tea industry for each country. It was interesting hearing from the supply side and the demand side. Also, it depends on the wealth of the country what they were looking for too.
One thing I can definitely say is we did not have to worry about having enough food or tea. The dinners pictures below combined, plus add twice as much food. This does not include meals between meals and for the tea as much hot water and tea as you could drink. This was the going away dinner, but all dinners had at least double the amount of food pictured in both photos for 10 people per table. They had to stack the dishes on top of dishes because there was no room on the tables.
Tea Tasting Ceremony at the Yangtze River Park
After a good night’s rest on March 17, 2019, woke up and ate a lovely breakfast. After breakfast, we were shuttled to a Tea Tasting Ceremony at the Yangtze River Park in Yibin near the site where two rivers form the Yangtze River.
It was a little drizzly so we got ponchos, but I did not wear one. Since I was one of the VIP’s we got nice close seating to the festivities. There were dance numbers, different stories and myths, water transported by a drone to tea tasting ceremony, and a grand spectacle.
Afterward, I was given a formal invite to speak with tea gardens to sell their tea from China and abroad. This is where I met some Nepali people (fellow vegetarians so I followed them through the buffet) they had a person tell them what was vegetarian and what was not.
Walking to Yangtze River Park for the Tea Tasting Ceremony.
Tasting some tea from the local vendors before the ceremony
There also were a few dance numbers. Below is a picture of the drone carrying water from the Yangtze River to be used in the tea ceremony shown in the second to last picture. The last picture is me and my tea. It was refilled with water several times.
Yet another great article from the Specialty Tea Institute. Well they did not write it, but they send us articles that may be of interest.
This article does a good job of educating people on what white tea is and the health benefits that come from white tea or at least some of the benefits. They also use black tea in the beginning because people from the United States think of black tea when they think of tea.
De Pere business owner finds her cup of tea
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt interviewed me last week for this article. I really appreciate the time she took and I really think she got the heart of my business. Minor inaccuracies like the potential partnership with another friend in Madison was before I opened my teahouse in Milwaukee, but I see that as a minor thing. Things are picking up in my business and hopefully continue. We shall see. I do not want to seem too presumptuous.
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.