Tea, Zen, Awareness

We're releasing this episode in between the Western new year and the Asian lunar new year, and we took this opportunity to quiet our minds, turn inward a bit, and look again at tea as a contemplative practice. Chatting with us in this exploration is Ven. Hyeonmin Prajna, a Zen teacher in the Five Mountain Zen Order based in New York City, and a student and practitioner of Japanese tea ceremony in the Dai Nihon Chado Gakkai school of tea.

The history of tea culture is so intertwined with Zen Buddhism that it seemed natural to ask a Zen teacher to give us some perspectives on the practice of tea, and we talk with Hyeonmin about the essence of Zen and how to apply Zen ideals to both tea ceremony and casual tea drinking. Hyeonmin sheds light on how the Japanese tea ceremony in particular reflects some of those ideals, gives us suggestions on applying these principles to everyday tea and everyday life, and discusses how all tea culture can, from a Zen perspective,  expand our awareness and help us “correct the mind and the heart”.

 

More info on Five Mountain Zen in New York City can be found at zen-nyc.info and on Ven. Hyeonmin Prajna's Facebook page. To learn about tea ceremony programs in New York City in the Dai Hihon Chado Gakkai tradition, go to http://www.tea-whisk.com

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Have something in mind you'd like to hear discussed on Talking Tea? Leave us a comment on Facebook or on our Libsyn episode page, or email us.

  

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 

 

 

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

 

Direct download: TT_Tea_Zen_Awareness.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 11:18pm EST
Comments[0]

How To Spot a Quality Tea - Part 2: Silver Needles

In our last episode of Talking Tea we began to explore the elements of a quality tea with Shunan Teng of New York City's Tea Drunk. As examples of what to look for in choosing tea, Shunan selected two historically famous teas from China. We began in our last episode by looking at Gua Pian, a green tea, and now we chat with Shunan about Bai Hao Yin Zhen, also known as Silver Needles, as we continue discussing how to spot a quality tea.

Shunan chats with us about some of the unique characteristics of Bai Hao Yin Zhen and white tea in general, and common mistakes buyers make in choosing a white tea. One of the things that makes Bai Hao Yin Zhen unusual is that it's composed only of buds of the tea plant, and we talk with Shunan about what the appearance, aroma and texture of the buds can tell us about the tea's quality and how it was harvested and processed. 

 

More info on Tea Drunk, including its online store, shop hours and events, can be found at its website, http://tea-drunk.com/. The website also has links to Shunan's fantastic videos of her sourcing trips in China. The direct link to the videos is http://tea-drunk.com/pages/tea-trip-videos.

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Have something in mind you'd like to hear discussed on Talking Tea? Leave us a comment on Facebook or on our Libsyn episode page, or email us.

  

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 

  

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

 

Photo of Bai Hao Yin Zhen courtesy of Tea Drunk.

Direct download: TT_Silver_Needle.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 7:17pm EST
Comments[0]

How To Spot A Quality Tea - Part 1: Gua Pian

 

This week on Talking Tea we return to Tea Drunk in New York City to chat with Shunan Teng, founder and owner of Tea Drunk, about tips and tricks for identifying quality teas. As an example of what to look for in choosing tea, Shunan selects a Gua Pian, a historically famous green tea from China. 

Shunan uses our exploration of Gua Pian to break some myths about tea quality, and tells us what to look for in appearance, aroma and taste. We chat about how different methods of plucking, shaping and firing tea affect the taste, what to look for in the appearance of the dry and infused leaf, and what the dry leaves' aroma can tell us about the quality of the tea. (The Gua Pian leaves Shunan shared with us in our chat are pictured above.) Shunan also chats with us about what makes Gua Pian unique among green teas, and the qualities which, in Shunan's view, define a truly artisanal tea.

 

In our next episode, we continue our chat with Shunan by looking at a classic white tea from China to further explore the elements of a quality tea.

 

More info on Tea Drunk, including its online store, shop hours and events, can be found at its website, http://tea-drunk.com/. The website also has links to Shunan's fantastic videos of her sourcing trips in China. The direct link to the videos is http://tea-drunk.com/pages/tea-trip-videos.

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Have something in mind you'd like to hear discussed on Talking Tea? Leave us a comment on Facebook or on our Libsyn episode page, or email us.

  

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 

  

 

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

 

Direct download: TT_Gua_Pian_2.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 7:11pm EST
Comments[3]

Baozhong: Born in China, Rooted in Taiwan

We're continuing our exploration of Taiwanese oolongs this week with a focus on one of the most celebrated of Taiwanese teas, Baozhong. Shiuwen Tai, of Seattle's Floating Leaves Tea, gave us such a fantastic and comprehensive intro to Taiwanese oolongs in our last episode that we had to invite her back to give us some more in-depth knowledge, and we asked Shiuwen to talk about Baozhong because, well, it's one of our favorite oolongs.

Shiuwen chats with us about Baozhong's history, from its origins in China to its later cultivation in Taiwan, and how this history along with Taiwanese innovations in growing and processing Baozhong give it the distinctive flavor and bouquet it's known for today. We also talk about the birth of floral teas in Taiwan, about aged Baozhongs and aged oolongs in general, and about how a tea maker's skill can create an experience for the drinker that, in Shiuwen's words, is "almost beyond imagination."

 

In the photo above, Shiuwen visits the Baozhong fields of Farmer Chen, in Taiwan's Wen Shan district.

 

More info on Floating Leaves, including its online store, shop hours and classes, can be found at the Floating Leaves website, http://www.floatingleavestea.com, and on its Facebook page. Shiuwen's blog is at http://www.floatingleavestea.blogspot.com.

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Have something in mind you'd like to hear discussed on Talking Tea? Leave us a comment on Facebook or on our Libsyn episode page, or email us.

  

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 

  

 

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

 

Photo of Shiuwen Tai in Farmer Chen's Baozhong fields, courtesy of Shiuwen Tai. 

Direct download: Talking_Tea_Bao_Zhong.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 8:54am EST
Comments[0]

The World of Taiwanese Oolongs

This week on Talking Tea we begin exploring the spectrum of Taiwanese oolongs with Shiuwen Tai of Seattle's Floating Leaves Tea. Shiuwen chats with us via Skype about the history of tea in Taiwan, and how Taiwan's tea production has been influenced by its relationships with both China and Japan. We discuss some of the factors that go into forming the unique flavor profiles of oolong teas from Taiwan, including aged oolongs, why mouthfeel and texture are important in evaluating tea, and then take a closer look at two oolongs: Alishan, a high mountain Taiwanese oolong (the photo shows an Alishan tea garden), and the famous Tieguanyin.  Shiuwen also gives us tips on best brewing practices,  and shares her perspectives on how "science, art, love and patience" come together to create exceptional Taiwanese oolongs. 

More info on Floating Leaves, including its online store, shop hours and classes, can be found at the Floating Leaves website, http://www.floatingleavestea.com, and on its Facebook page. Shiuwen's blog is at http://www.floatingleavestea.blogspot.com.

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Have something in mind you'd like to hear discussed on Talking Tea? Leave us a comment on Facebook or on our Libsyn episode page, or email us.

  

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 

  

 

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

 

Photo of an Alishan tea farm  by Wm Jas, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license. Cropped from original.

Direct download: FloatingLeaves.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 10:38pm EST
Comments[2]

Kevin Gascoyne on Darjeelings, Fair trade and the Future of Tea

We’re back in Montreal this week on Talking Tea chatting with Kevin Gascoyne of Montreal’s famed Camellia Sinensis Tea House.

Kevin, a co-owner of Camellia Sinensis, is known around the world as a prominent tea taster, educator and author. We talk with Kevin about his passion for Darjeeling teas, how classically grown Darjeelings compare with newer clonal teas, and current trends in tea processing. Kevin also discusses fair trade and labor conditions at tea gardens in India and elsewhere, and shares his perspectives on the future of tea’s popularity and growth, both in North America and worldwide. And, as an added bonus, we chat with Kevin about Camellia Sinensis’ groundbreaking studies on caffeine and anti-oxidants in tea.

 

More info on Camellia Sinensis, including its online store, shop hours, blog and upcoming seminars and events, can be found on its website, http://camellia-sinensis.com, and also on its Facebook page and Twitter feed.

 

Among Kevin Gascoyne’s many publications are two acclaimed books he co-authored with his partners at Camellia Sinensis: Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties (the original French version is Thé: Histoire, Terroirs, Saveurs) and Green Tea: A Quest For Fresh Leaf and Timeclass Craft (in French Thé Vert: A La Rencontre D’Un Art Millénaire). Both are available on the Camellia Sinensis website.

 

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Have something in mind you'd like to hear discussed on Talking Tea? Leave us a comment on Facebook or on our Libsyn episode page, or email us.

  

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 

  

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

Photo courtesy of Camellia Sinensis Tea House.

Direct download: TT_Kevin_Gascoyne.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 7:35pm EST
Comments[4]

A Relaxed Approach To Tea & "Tea Decadence"  At Montreal's Cha Do Raku

Today at Talking Tea we’re in Montreal beginning our exploration of this city’s vibrant tea scene. Our first stop is Cha Do Raku, a new tea house and shop in Montreal’s Plateau district. Cha Do Raku (it means “decadence of tea” in Japanese) and its owner and founder, Shiho Kanamaru, have already made a name for themselves through the highly regarded teas offered through Cha Do Raku’s online store. Today we visit Shiho in her new shop and chat about how she realized her dream of a tea space that embodies the spirit of doraku, a simple, relaxed enjoyment of tea.

Some of Cha Do Raku’s most talked-about teas are “icho”, an unusual, slightly oxidized green tea from Japan. Shiho talks with us about some of these teas, how they compare with other Japanese green teas and with Taiwanese oolongs, and best methods for brewing them. Cha Do Raku also carries high quality matcha, and Shiho shares a little-known preparation technique she discovered for bringing out the aroma and sweetness of matcha.

More on Cha Do Raku, including its online store and upcoming events, can be found at http://www.cha-doraku.com. You can follow Cha Do Raku on Facebook at Cha Do Raku.

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Have something in mind you'd like to hear discussed on Talking Tea? Leave us a comment on Facebook or on our Libsyn episode page, or email us.

  

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 

  

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

Photo courtesy of Doug Lerner.

 

Direct download: TT_Cha_Doraku.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 4:10pm EST
Comments[0]

From The Czech Republic With Oxalis Tea

On today's episode we have two guests speaking to us from  Oxalis Tea and Coffee in the Czech Republic. First up is Petr Zelik, owner and founder of Oxalis. Petr chats with us about tea culture in the Czech Republic, and especially about the challenges and successes of building a tea company after the fall of Communism. We also explore Oxalis’ offerings of Korean teas, which are not easy to come by among quality tea offerings in the US.

Our second guest is Julian Overall, who coordinates Oxalis’s English-language social media flow. Julian's Twitter and Facebook feeds have become an invaluable source of news and connections for many of us in the tea world, and we talk with Julian about his views on the roles of social media and online information sharing for the tea community.

 

Here's a brief break-down of today's show, with time marks:

1:00    Petr's vision: starting a tea company in a nation without a tea culture; initial challenges

9:14    Success! The growth of Czech tea culture and the phenomeon of the Czech tea house, the "cajovna"

18:38  Green teas from Korea: unique taste characteristics

27:08  Connecting tea drinkers through social media, blogging and podcasting

 

You can find information about Oxalis' teas, as well as its comprehensive online catalogue, at its English language site, http://www.oxalis.cz/en.  And you can follow Oxalis on Facebook under Oxalis Tea and Coffee, and on Twitter @julian_overall.

Oxalis' videos on tea can be accessed through the "Videos" tab on its Facebook page.

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Have something in mind you'd like to hear discussed on Talking Tea? Leave us a comment on Facebook or on our Libsyn episode page, or email us.

  

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 

  

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

Photo courtesy of Oxalis Tea And Coffee.

Direct download: Talking_Tea_Oxalis.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 6:14pm EST
Comments[0]

Tea & Relational Culture: What's Tea Got To Do With It?

One of the things we hear over and over again from people in the tea world is how so many great relationships have been created and nurtured through tea. But what is it in tea culture that's so good at bringing us together?

In this week's episode we get philosophical about tea and relationships with Benjamin Olshin and Alex Schein,  two men whose own friendship was forged over tea and who have helped build community through tea in their professional and personal lives. Ben, a writer, teacher and consultant, teaches philosophy (among other things) at the University of the Arts, and has co-owned a Taiwanese-inspired teahouse in Philadelphia. Alex, a media producer, singer and songwriter, has run two teahouses in the U.S. and has produced and directed a documentary about Dobra Tea. Together we talk about why tea is not just a beverage but an experience, a practice, a way of being, a way of relating with each other and with the universe. 

 

You can watch Alex's film, "Dobra Tea: The Good Tearoom" at http://www.goodtearoom.com. More information about Alex's work is at skyhuntermedia.commakingsensefilm.com and alexschein.com

You can find Ben's books on Amazon.com under Benjamin B. Olshin.

 

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @KensvoiceKen

 

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

The image "Tea is Served" (http://tinyurl.com/nrt7f6j) by ~Mers (https://www.flickr.com/people/barnkim/) is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/).

 

The views, positions and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views, positions or opinions of Talking Tea, its host, producer or staff.

Direct download: TT_Whats_Tea_3_SIT.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 3:01pm EST
Comments[0]

Beauty in Imperfection: A Visit to the Shofuso Tea House

This week on Talking Tea we’re back in Philadelphia at Shofuso, an authentic, and quite amazing, Japanese house and garden with a fully functioning tea house and roji, or tea garden. We’re joined by Derek Finn, Shofuso’s site and program manager, and Morgan Beard of Urasenke Philadelphia,  an organization dedicated to practicing and teaching the Japanese way of tea. 

Morgan is returning to Talking Tea after having been a guest on our “Artful Tea” episode. In this week’s podcast, Derek, Morgan and I hang out on Shofuso’s veranda, stroll through its roji and finally spend some time in its tea house, as we chat about how the way of tea, Zen Buddhism and traditional Japanese architecture and design come together at Shofuso to allow us to glimpse what Morgan calls the beauty of imperfection, and the beauty of life itself.

More information on Shofuso, the Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, including visiting hours, tours and events, is at www.japanesehouse.org and at its Twitter feed @Shofuso.

You can learn about Urasenke Philadelphia's classes and upcoming events at its website, www.phillytea.org.

For more information on Talking Tea and updates on new episodes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/talkingtea.

To inquire about being a guest or having your organization featured, please email us at talkingteapodcasts@gmail.com.

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @KensvoiceKen

 

 

This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

 

 

 

Direct download: TTShofuso.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 7:04pm EST
Comments[0]



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