Hey there, tea drinkers! I know it’s been a while since my last post, and although I haven’t been posting lately, I’ve still been drinking tea. For me, my daily tea times have remained a bright spot in my day-to-day life, particularly, as the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered many other facets of daily life and as weeks of shelter-in-place have warped my sense of the passage of time (and caused days to start to lose distinction). Any kidding aside, I’ve been lucky that myself along with my closest family and friends have not yet been directly affected by the COVID-19 illness and have otherwise managed okay. Likewise, I sincerely hope that you too have been well and are doing alright during these turbulent times (or that you are still well and doing alright if reading this post-pandemic).
In this post, I want to share six online resources and/or upcoming opportunities that might help you learn more about tea, deepen your tea drinking experience, or maybe just pass the time if you need something else to occupy yourself while stuck indoors 🙂 .
These first three resources/opportunities are new ones that just recently popped up in my email inbox (within the last week or so):
- Art of Tea Academy – hosted by tea retailer Art of Tea, “Art of Tea Academy has over 25 modules of in-depth content and videos about the history of tea, the how-tos of tea, and so much more.” This one is currently available now and it is being offered for free if you register by May 15, 2020.
- The US Tea Experience: from Seed to Cup – this one is a collaboration between Kyle Stewart of The Cultured Cup, Timothy Gipson from The Great Mississippi Tea Co., and Dr. Virginia Lovelace, founder of Pair Teas. It will feature “a VIRTUAL VISIT to a successful US Tea Farm, where you will experience tea harvesting & processing” as well as an exploration of “US TEA CULTURE, from its beginnings on into its future” and invites you to “sip the teas that you saw being made, while you learn about their FLAVORS & HOW YOU EXPERIENCE THEM.” Currently, you can sign up for the associated myTeacheable account and be logged for updates, but the course itself has yet to start. I’m also not sure if there will be any cost associated with this course once it actually starts up; there’s no cost information on the site or the email newsletter that I received, so I’m guessing it may be free, but again, I’m not sure yet. — Update 5-27-2020: The First course is up and is listed at $100 USD.
- Verdant Tea Tasting Journal – This one, offered by tea business/retailer Verdant Tea, is “a short newsletter inviting you to taste some of the best teas in the world with us, delivered right to your inbox every few days.” It comes along with “a new Community Tasting Journal” where you can taste the featured tea and then share your personal tasting notes with the Verdant Tea drinking community. The first featured tea has just recently been announced: here’s the link to the newsletter entry. They are offering a pretty steep (50%) discount to the featured tea for those who want to participate (available through May 8, 2020), and as an added bonus, they will “also be sending out $5 tea cash to anyone who wants to participate in the community tea tasting.” Although the Verdant Tea Tasting Journal and Community Tasting Journal aren’t a tea course, as a tea tasting enthusiast, I can appreciate the sharing of tea tasting notes. Indeed, watching others do tastings and reading others’ tasting notes has been a big part of my tea learning journey along with tasting and making my own notes, which is why I thought the Verdant Tea Tasting Journal is worth sharing and potentially taking part in.
Here are three other online resources that have been around for a while and that I’ve found particularly helpful and interesting in my own tea learning journey, and which might also help inform you on your journey of tea-enlightenment:
- Mei Leaf YouTube Channel – Produced by the owners of the Mei Leaf Teahouse, this channel shares a wealth of basic to advanced tea informational videos, making them a great free online resource for tea learning. They also share a variety of tea-tasting video sessions, which I’ve found particularly helpful in learning tasting-methods as well as the vocabulary of tea-tasting; however, their focus is in a Gong fu style (originating in China) of brewing tea.
- Teahouse Ghost YouTube Channel – This youtube channel produces a “Gong Fu Tea|Cha” series of videos (currently 12 videos) which are entertaining and informative. They focus on a Gong fu style of tea (which originates in China) with the current lineup of videos starting with “What is Gong Fu Cha” and then covering various topics such as Gong fu tools/teaware and discussion about different types of tea.
- TeaClass – Produced by Adagio Teas, this site provides a free online modular class setup covering a whole range of tea-related topics with lessons segmented into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced groupings. With each section you are provided information to read through which is followed by a short quiz to help reinforce the reading. Students are assigned a LEVEL which increases as you complete modules, which I thought was kind of a fun touch.
Okay, that’s it, tea drinkers. Until next time, stay safe out there and keep enjoying the wondrous taste of tea! — Blake – the tea drinker behind Blake’s Tea Journal