Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Confession: Certified Tea Specialist Used to be a Coffee Drinker

Okay, it is out there.  I used to be a coffee drinker before I was a tea drinker.  Why the change?  The simple answer is, after the birth of my daughter coffee bothered my stomach and the caffeine content was too much for me .  Tea didn't seem to have that effect, but it goes beyond that.  Tea has a story!

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had to go on bed-rest twice for short periods of time.  While I lie there in bed, I pulled out all the books I had collected, but didn't have time to read with a busy toddler in toe.  One of the them was a book on tea.  It talked about how drinking tea and sharing tea with friends is more than just sipping on a beverage.   I also began to dream about what I wanted to do with my career when my kids were a little bit older and tea began calling me.  I loved what tea represented.

After my daughter was born and I could consume caffeinated beverages again, coffee didn't sit well with me so I began to drink more tea.  At the same time, I began to research different careers in tea that I could do and collecting information.  After attending some seminars on tea, I thought I might open a tearoom, but having worked in the restaurant industry before my children were born, I knew the time demands were not family friendly.  I decided that I would become a tea speaker and expert. 

When I told my sweet husband what I wanted to do, he was supportive but had no idea what a tea expert and speaker was.  That just goes to show how great he is and how much he trusted me!  At that time, tea was not the popular beverage it is now and I know he was wondering how in the world I was going to do that. 

Fast forward 13 years, after many hours of studying tea, tasting thousands of cups of tea from all over the world, and attending many classes and taking tests on tea I became a Certified Tea Specialist.  In addition to that, I have 2 books published with Harvest House-the very same publisher that published the very first book on tea that I read while on bed-rest!  Dreams to come true if you want them badly enough and are willing to work hard!

Giving up coffee was the best thing I could have ever done for my body and my career.  Oh don't get me wrong, every once in a while, I have a sip or two of coffee, but TEA is my drink of choice.  It will take a lifetime of study to discover all the different teas of the world.  I hope you will join me on the tea journey.  If you want to know more about my books go to:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tea Pairing with Kashi at Sundance Resort

One of my favorite things to speak on about tea is pairing it with food and tea cuisine.  I just recently returned from the Sundance Resort in Utah where I had pleasure to do both.  Kashi was holding a symposium on health and I was asked to put together a 2 hour lunch for the attendees. 

I thought it would be fun to incorporate tea as an ingredient along with pairing teas to each course.  Working alongside Chef Mark of the Sundance Resort, we created a food and tea pairing luncheon. 

First Course
Organic Mixed Baby Green Salad
Utah Dried Cherries, Toasted Slivered Almond
White Rose Tea Vinaigrette

Pairing - White Rose Iced Tea with Simple Syrup

Main Course
Tea Dusted Utah Mountain Trout
with a Honey Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
served with
Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf
Roasted Utah Beets

Pairing - Green Dragon Oolong Tea

Dessert Course
Trio of House Made Truffles
made with
Utah Amano Artisan Chocolates

Pairings - Dragon Well Green Tea, Shui Xian Oolong Tea, Golden Monkey Black Tea, Puerh Leaf Tea

After I gave a brief introduction to tea, the attendees were treated to a delicious meal prepared by the culinary team at the Sundance Resort.  For the dessert course, I wanted the attendees to participate in deciding what they thought paired best with each decadent chocolate truffle.  Working from light to dark with the chocolates as well as the teas we tasted and paired chocolate and tea.  The truffles and tea were wonderful and perfect end to the meal!

I hope this has inspired you to try pairing tea with your favorite culinary delights!