Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with a Few of My Favorite Things

This has been an amazing year for me both professionally and personally.  I love sharing with all of you about my passion for All Things Tea! 

I will be leaving just after Christmas for London and Sri Lanka for study and research for my new book.  I won't be posting most likely until I get back and then I will tell you all about my tea adventures.  I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite things Christmas related from my home to yours along with a few of our traditions! 

Every year our family has a tree trimming party starting when the kids were able to stand and put ornaments on the tree.  When the kids were real little, my husband and I would have to do a little rearranging after they went to bed since everything was down at the bottom of the tree.  I make fudge, just like my mom did, we play Christmas music, and eat appetizers.  This year I tried to "break" tradition and serve ham with rolls instead of pigs-in-a-blanket! The kids revolted, so we had our traditional pigs-in-a-blanket again!  I never thought that tradition would be so treasured or I'm not sure I would have started it!!!

This is my set of Christmas dishes from Tracy Porter which is now retired.  We love to eat off of them for the month of December.  The table looks so beautiful Christmas morning with the plates set up.  I make cranberry bread and the same egg casserole I grew up eating Christmas morning. We serve tea from the festive teapots and my kids LOVE the homemade hot chocolate out of their Santa cups!

This Nativity set was hand-painted and given to my mom as a gift the year she was pregnant with me!  I remember setting it up in our living room growing up.  Since my mom is now in a nursing home, the nativity set got passed down to me.  My daughter now does the honors of setting it up in our foyer to welcome all that visit during the holidays.


Here's a little closer view of the Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.  It is the most beautiful set I have ever seen! 


 Our family will be going out for our annual Christmas tea together tomorrow which is something I look forward to all year!

What are some of your family Christmas traditions?

Wishing all you a very warm and wonderful Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Happy Sipping, Lisa

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unique Gifts for Tea Lovers Part 2

I just think the Babycakes Cupcake Maker is a novel idea and so did Roxanne Wyss.  Roxanne and I share literary agents and I met her at an industry event this summer! 

Her and her partner Kathy Moore actually wrote the little recipe booklet that comes with the Babycakes Cupcake Maker and their minds starting racing on how much more you could do with it.  So that is how 175 Best Babycakes Cupcake Maker Recipes Cookbook was born. 

I got the cookbook for review and couldn't help but think how PERFECT these recipes are for tea time.  English tea time is all about having bite size savories and sweets while enjoying tea.  This is also a great item and cookbook if you enjoying cooking with your kids.  The cupcake maker is definitely an upgrade from the Easy Bake oven of my day. 

Here are two recipes that would be perfect for your Holiday tea.

This recipe is great for an adult tea and the dried cranberries make it so festive!
Curried Chicken Salad Cups
Makes 16 wonton cups

Crusts
16 wonton wrappers (about 31⁄2 inches/ 16
8.5 cm square)

Filling
1 clove garlic, minced 1
1 tsp grated gingerroot 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp curry powder 2 mL
3 tbsp whipped cream cheese, softened 45 mL
3 tbsp sour cream 45 mL
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 5 mL
1 green onion, chopped 1
1 cup chopped cooked chicken 250 mL
3 tbsp sweetened dried cranberries 45 mL
or golden raisins
2 tbsp dry-roasted peanuts 30 mL
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish
Additional dry-roasted peanuts
(optional)
Minced fresh cilantro

1. Crusts: Place 1 wonton wrapper on top of each well and gently press into well with the pie forming tool, making a cup.

2. Filling: In a medium bowl, combine garlic, ginger, curry powder, cream cheese, sour cream and lemon juice. Stir in green onion, chicken, cranberries and peanuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon about 11⁄2 tbsp (22 mL) filling into each wonton cup.

3. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until wontons are golden and filling is hot. Carefully transfer cups to a wire rack to cool slightly. Repeat with the remaining wontons and filling.

4. Garnish: Sprinkle with additional peanuts (if using) and cilantro. Serve immediately

Pairing suggestions: A spicy Indian Black Masala Chai or an Indian Black Assam tea

How fun would these be to make with your kids or grandkids!


White Chocolate Snowmen Cupcakes
Makes 32 cupcakes

Paper liners (optional)

Cupcakes
11⁄4 cups all-purpose flour 300 mL
11⁄4 tsp baking powder 6 mL
1⁄4 tsp salt 1 mL
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar 175 mL
6 tbsp butter, softened 90 mL
2 eggs, at room temperature 2
4 oz white chocolate, melted (see tip, 125 g
at right)
2⁄3 cup milk 150 mL

Decoration

White Chocolate Cream Cheese
Frosting
1 31⁄2- or 4-oz (105 or 125 g) white 1
chocolate bar
32 gumdrops, cut in half crosswise 32
32 11⁄2-inch (4 cm) pieces red shoestring 32
licorice
96 mini candy-coated chocolate candies 96
Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
or cornstarch
Fondant

1. Cupcakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat sugar and butter for 1 to 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in white chocolate. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, making three additions of flour and two of milk and beating on low speed until smooth.

3. If desired, place paper liners in wells. Fill each well with about 11⁄2 tbsp (22 mL) batter. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter.

4. Decoration: Frost cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

5. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape down the side edge of the white chocolate bar to make shavings. Sprinkle shavings over frosting, giving it a “freshly fallen snow” look.

6. Place 2 gumdrop halves, cut side down, on opposite sides of each cupcake to make earmuffs. Arrange 1 strip of red licorice to look like a mouth and use candies to make eyes and a nose.

7. To make hats, on a cutting board lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar, roll out fondant to about 1⁄8-inch (3 mm) thickness. For the center of each hat, cut a piece of fondant about 2 by 3⁄4 inches (5 by 2 cm). Fold it in half so it becomes a rectangle of about 1 by 3⁄4 inch (2.5 by 2 cm) (the double thickness will hold the shape of the hat better and be stronger). For the hat band, cut a strip of fondant about 3 by 1⁄2 inches (7.5 by 1 cm). Place the hat band over the edge of the rectangle, folding the ends under so that the hat band is the right size for the hat. Position a hat on the top edge of each cupcake.

Pairing Suggestion:  An Indian Black Darjeeling or a Japanese Green Sencha tea or if looking for caffeine free suggestion for kids a Rooibos tea of any flavor

I think the Babycakes Cupcake Maker and the 175 Best Babycakes Cupcake maker Recipes would make a great gift combo for any age and makes having tea time that much easier!  If you buy the cookbook, please share some of your favorite recipes with me.

Happy Sipping and Shopping, Lisa

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Unique Gifts for Tea Lovers Part 1

Well 'tis the season of gift buying for many! It is also a time that our schedules are packed full and our to-do lists are long! I will keep it brief since leisure reading time is at a minimum as well. I wanted to give you two suggestions for unique Christmas/Holiday gifts for you and your tea-loving friends on your shopping list! This week is one suggestion and next week, I will offer my second suggestion.

I just love the products that Tea Tagent has come out with. I think their logo says it all, "Designing the Art of Tea in America."

All Tea Tagent's products are made of sustainably harvested wild cherry trees from the Allegany Forest in Pennsylvania.  Their wood contains no glues or plastic resins. 

To keep your Tea Tangent piece looking good over time, just clean with warm soap and water and add a bit of food grade oil to help it age well over time. 

I just love my Tea Nest Set that the company gave me this year at an industry event.  It just gives the Tea Nest a place to sit after brewing and for storing.  I keep it sitting out so that it is easy to use and it just looks good!!!



So if you are looking for a unique gift this season, may I suggest a product from Tea Tangent?

Happy Sipping and Shopping, Lisa

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ginger Crumb Cake and Thankfulness

I just returned from teaching a cooking and tea class at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  This is my third year to teach there and it is always wonderful each time.  The staff is great, the Viking kitchen is amazing, and Caroline in the coffee/tea department does a spectacular job prepping all the teas to serve with the recipes I demo.  If you live in or around Chapel Hill, you will want to stop in, but be prepared to spend some time!


The theme for this class was Tea Around the World-Taste Tea and Food from Around the Globe.  The recipes were all from my book, The World in Your Teacup. We traveled to China, Morocco, France, and ended our journey in England.  For England, I chose to demo my great grandmother's recipe that has been passed down in my family.  The recipe card I have is in my grandma's handwriting as my great grandmother shared it with her to bake, then she shared it with my mom, and my mom shared it with me. Now, I can share it with my family and all of you!

My great grandma Effie Johnson lost her mom at a young age and had to help at home a lot more after that.  She learned how to cook and bake.  When she finished school, she left home and worked as a live-in for several wealthy families as a cook of which one of them was an English doctor until she married in her mid-twenties. This is one of her recipes. It would make a good tea bread for in the morning or to serve as dessert after your Thanksgiving meal.  This will be our family's Thanksgiving dessert this year!

Crumb Ginger Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup salted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Fresh whipped cream to serve with cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles the consistency of cornmeal. You may also use a food processor and pulse slowly until mixture is the desired consistency. Take out 1 cup of mixture and set aside for topping. Add soda, salt, egg, molasses, vanilla, and buttermilk to the remaining mixture. Mix well with an electric mixer or by hand. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and pour the batter into it. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the batter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is set. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream.

I would suggest pairing it with a Chinese Black Keemun.  The light smokey and sweet flavor of the Keemun compliments the ginger/cinnamon spices of this subtle sweet cake!

We have a tradition at my house growing up and now I have passed on this tradition with my family.  Before we eat, each person at the table says what they are most thankful for in the past year.  It can be more than one thing, but each person has to share at least one thing.  It is a way of stopping for a moment to remember the spirit of Thanksgiving. 

This year I have so much to be thankful for.  My faith grows stronger through the challenges life offers, my husband and children bring such love into my life and home, and I love my job of teaching, inspiring, and exciting others about tea.  I am THRILLED to share with you that I have been contracted to write my third book on tea with Chronicle Books.  It is a new publisher for me and the book will out Spring of 2013!!!! 

What are you most thankful for this year? 

Happy Sipping, Eating, and Thanksgiving, Lisa

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Need Some Easy No-Fuss Recipes Right Now?

When I first heard about this book that my friend/colleague Katie Chin was writing, I became intrigued.  I thought "Really, 300 Rice Cooker Recipes?"  However, when I received the book for review, I was amazed at how much you could actually cook in a rice cooker. 

Rice cookers date back to 1250 BC, but they have come a long way from there.  If you already own a rice cooker, you will want to pull it out and try some of these recipes.  If you don't have one, I hope that these recipes inspire you to go get one!

I have included a couple recipes below with tea pairing ideas for both that will be perfect for the holiday season.as the weather turns cooler. 

Here is an inviting appetizer for the holidays.  You can serve this dip with some pita wedges and vegetable crudites. 

Moroccan Bean Dip (Bessara)
Makes 10 to 12 servings

• Medium rice cooker; fuzzy logic or on/off
• Food processor



11⁄2 cups dried fava beans 375 mL
6 cups water 1.5 L
2 cloves garlic 2
11⁄2 tsp salt 7 mL
1 tsp ground cumin 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp sweet paprika 2 mL
1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper 2 mL
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 60 mL
1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil 75 mL
Additional sweet paprika
Finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Sort, rinse and soak fava beans (see pages 32-33). Drain and peel off skins.

2. Place soaked fava beans and water in the rice cooker bowl. Set the rice cooker for the Regular cycle and set a timer for 11⁄2 hours.

3. When the timer sounds, check to see if fava beans are tender. If necessary, continue cooking, checking for doneness every 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 3 tbsp (45 mL) cooking liquid.

4. In food processor, combine fava beans, reserved cooking liquid, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne and lemon juice; purée until smooth. With the motor running, through the feed tube, drizzle in oil; process until blended.

5. Transfer bean mixture to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring, until warmed through.

6. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Dust with paprika and garnish with parsley.

My pairing choice for this recipe is some Moroccan Chun Mee Green Tea otherwise known as Gunpowder Green Tea with Mint!







For a easy healthy meal for the family this fall, how about this Indian inspired dish?


Bombay Turkey

Makes 4 servings

Need medium to large rice cooker; fuzzy logic or on/off

2 tbsp ghee 30 mL
1 tbsp curry powder 15 mL
1 tsp salt 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp garam masala 2 mL
1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 2 mL
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 mL
1 lb lean ground turkey 500 g
1 cup finely chopped onion 250 mL
1⁄2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped 1⁄2
1 cup pearl barley 250 mL
1 cup diced acorn or butternut squash 250 mL
1⁄2 cup diced Granny Smith or other tart apple 125 mL
2 cups chicken broth 500 mL

1. Set the rice cooker for the Quick Cook or Regular cycle. When the bottom of the bowl gets hot, add ghee and swirl to coat. Sauté curry powder, salt, garam masala, cumin and pepper for 1 minute. Add turkey and onion; sauté, breaking turkey up with the back of a spoon, for 4 to 5 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink.

2. Stir in yellow pepper, barley, squash, apple and broth. Close the lid and reset for the Regular cycle. Set a timer for 40 minutes.

3. When the timer sounds, check to make sure barley is tender. If necessary, continue cooking, checking for doneness every 5 minutes. Switch to the Keep Warm cycle and let stand for 10 minutes, then serve immediately.

Variation - Bombay Chicken: Substitute lean ground chicken for the turkey.

My pairing choice for this Bombay Turkey is a cup of Masala Chai or an Indian Assam!

Remember to sip some tea and take some time for yourself during this busy season!  Let me know if you try one of these recipes and I will pass on your review on to Katie Chin!

Happy Sipping, Lisa

Thanks to Robert Rose for sending me a copy of the book for review.  Excerpted from 300 Best Rice Cooker Recipes by Katie Chin © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seattle - A Tea Town Part 3

Monday was going to be my last day in Seattle and there was still so much more to discover. I started off the day meeting an author friend Jeanne Sauvage.  She took me to tea at The Teacup. It is a lovely tea shop in the Queen Anne Hill area. They bring your pot of tea to your table and give you a timer. We connected over a couple pots of tea and even ran into my Japanese friends from the festival while we were there!


The afternoon I was on my own to discover Seattle. I headed back to Pike Place Market. My first stop was to visit Starbucks' original location which as I mentioned in my last post was named Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices.


It is interesting to watch this business change over the years. The word in the tea world is that Starbucks has invested quite a bit into their Tazo Tea brand. If your interested, here is an article about it.  It will be fun to see what Starbucks does with tea in the next few years! It's not just about coffee anymore, so stayed tuned.
 
Pike Place Market is full of wonderful things.  Here's a quick video for the feel of the market.  It almost sounds like you could be in China! There were musicians playing throughout the market and this was just one of them.

video
 
As you can see from the video, there is plenty of fresh seafood to be had  at the market.  Here was my lunch which consisted of fresh crab cocktail and a calamari salad-YUM!

Along with seafood there is plenty of fresh produce and beautiful fresh flowers. 


 
 

 
My next tea stop was a Chinese tea shop named Vital Tea Leaf. It is an intriguing shop. The location is next door to the Four Seasons Hotel just down from Pike Place Market.


 The store carries many teas and teawares along with allowing you to taste free samples of tea. I sat down and was treated to some oolong tea served in a gaiwan which is a Chinese style of serving tea in a small cup with a lid and no handle.  Look closely at the pictures, don't you just love the white porcelain "extra hand?"  How many times do just need an extra hand?










After a day of tea and shopping, I walked back along the water instead of taking the monorail. It was suggested that I stop by Olympic Sculpture Park. It is full of sculptures by Internationally acclaimed artist Louise Bourgeois. Not only are the sculptures beautiful, but the view of Puget Sound is stunning.  Here's a quick video of the view of Puget Sound from the Park.


video


What a wonderful trip filled with lots of good tea.  Goodnight and Goodbye Seattle for now! 




I hope you have enjoyed the tour of Seattle, although it has been slightly tea slanted! I can't wait for my next trip to the Northwest to discover more tea places. Which tea place was your favorite in my tour? 

Happy Sipping with Memories of Seattle, Lisa

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seattle - A Tea Town Part 2


After teaching classes for The Specialty Tea Institute, I attended the Northwest Tea Festival.  It is a two day event that is open to the public.  There are booths where you can buy new teawares and tea.  There are also two days filled with classes to learn about all things tea.  


I taught a Tea and Chocolate Pairing class using fine teas and pairing them with Guittard Chocolate bars with different percentages of cacao in each.  One of the pairings even included a single origin tea with a single origin chocolate-very special!  After my class, I had a book signing at the Perennial Tea Room booth.


In between teaching and book signings, I found time to look around.  It was fun to sit at the Shizuoka Tea booth with Pearl Dexter leading a tea tasting event. We had to taste two teas separately and then tell if they were the same or different.  It was challenging and fortunately, as the pressure was on, I answered correctly!


After a morning back at the tea festival, Sunday afternoon was devoted to a day of tasting wine. I went on a wine tour of boutique wineries. Yes, this tea gal likes wine too!  Tea and wine are more similar than you may think.  I use a lot of references to wine when I am teaching about tea so it was very apropos to have a day of tasting wine after so much tea tasting!


Our first stop was Covington Cellars for a lovely lunch and wine pairing. We walked into the room and all the candle light danced off the glass stemware for the tasting.  The wine barrel room looked magical just lit by candlelight and small strands of little white lights!



The lunch was delicious and I highly recommend if you are in the area going to one of their events. The Gorgonzola Chocolate Truffles with Savory Candied Almonds were amazing to say the least.  They say they will be packaging them for sale soon!

Our last stop on the tour was a small tasting room for Darby Wines.  I just loved the lighting they had along one side of the tasting room.  This would be a easy project for someone to do.  Just cut out holes in some stained wood and build a box deep enough to hold bottles.  The lighting behind it was just a fluorescent tube. 


It was a fun tour and tasting.  I did find some unique wines to purchase.  Stayed tuned next week as I take you to some tea rooms, Pike's Market, and Puget Sound.  Have I made you want to go visit Seattle yet?

Happy Sipping Tea and Wine, Lisa

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Seattle - A Wonderful Tea Town Part 1

SEATTLE IS FOR TEA LOVERS!

Some of you may be thinking that Seattle is all about coffee, but you would be amiss.  Yes, Seattle is where Starbucks began, but you may not remember they started out as Starbucks Coffee Tea and Spices!  We will return to that in another post..

Having never been to the Northwest before, I was excited to discover it.  I knew I was in for a treat as our plane started its descent and I viewed the snow-capped mountains among the clouds! The city has a great transit system, so I figured out how to get to my hotel without the use of a shuttle or cab!  The Monorail which was built for the World's Fair in 1962 was a wonderful way to transit between Seattle Center (where my speaking events were held) and downtown!


I arrived early to discover Seattle just a bit before I had to teach and speak.  It was a perfect sunny day with a little briskness in the air.  After lunch, I hopped on the monorail to Pike's Market with my colleague Kyle Stewart.  We walked around a bit and then both of us were in desperate need of some tea.

We went to Perennial Tea Room.  It is a located in a lovely alley just up the hill from Pike's Market.  We were graciously greeted by the owners, Julee and Sue.  After more than 2 years since my first book was published, it is always flattering to see my books in a shop. They happen carry both of my books!



We were served one of the teas of the day and then had the pleasure of tasting their Persian Gold.  It is a black tea that is grown in Iran.  Since having researched about Iran for my second book, The World in Your Teacup, it was wonderful to taste tea from that region.  Since most of the tea is usually consumed in the country, not much is exported from Iran.  The tea shop has photos of the growers and the tea was delicious.  Kyle and I had a great time talking and sharing.  Isn't that what drinking tea with friends is all about and Perennial Tea Room is a lovely place to do that in Seattle.


The next two days were filled with teaching Specialty Tea Institute Level I and II classes.  We had a diverse group from all over the country wanting to learn more about tea.  Some were from large corporations, some from midsized companies, and others were interested in starting a tea business. 


 If you are interested in knowing more about tea for yourself or interested in starting a tea business of your own, I think there is no better education than what the Specialty Tea Institute offers.  With it being the educational division of The Tea Association of the USA, they have access to wonderful resources from people all over the globe. 


It was wonderful after class to go down to the waterfront for a walk, a bite to eat, and amazing sunsets.  How beautiful to see the mountains peaking through the clouds!


I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of my tea experience in Seattle.  In my next couple of posts, I will take you to the Northwest Tea Festival,  two more tearooms, explore Pike's Market, and a wine tour! 

Happy Sipping from Seattle, Lisa

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tea Education-Chefs and Sommeliers Take Notice

This week, I am in Seattle teaching classes for the Specialty Tea Institute with my friend and colleague, Kyle Stewart of the Cultured Cup in Dallas, Texas  The Cultured Cup ships their teas around North American and carries a huge selection of Mariage Frere teas.  Kyle wrote a great piece about education with the Specialty Tea Institute especially geared towards the culinary world and sommeliers.  I thought I would share it with you this week. 


For many years, tea and coffee were an afterthought at top tier restaurants across the U.S. No More! As tea continues to become more popular, restaurants are replacing teabags with quality loose leaf tea. Typical Earl Grey and English Breakfast selections are being replaced with single estate first flush Darjeelings, Wuyi Mountain oolongs, and 40 year old cave-aged Pu-erh brick teas. As better teas appear in the American market, how do culinary and wine professionals learn the basics about premium tea?


Sharon Hage, the former chef-owner of York Street Restaurant in Dallas, Texas and five-time James Beard Award nominee, created dozens of tea and food pairing luncheons and dinners over nine years. Working closely with Kyle Stewart, co-owner of The Cultured Cup, the CIA educated Hage tasted and discussed the flavor profiles of hundreds of artisan teas.

Photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News
“Quality tea was just as important an ingredient for York Street as the pristine fish from Browne Trading Company or the free-range chicken from Windy Meadows Family Farm,” said Hage. But her tea journey didn’t stop with quality ingredients; she learned how to adjust the flavor profile of teas by manipulating the steeping technique variables (tea amount, temperature and time). “Learning about tea for me was similar to an artist discovering a new range of colors,” said the CIA trained chef.

For James Tidwell, Master Sommelier and Beverage Manager at Four Seasons Resort and Club near Dallas, Texas, learning about tea was similar to learning about wine. Tidwell, a long-time tea drinker, says “Wine professionals are being called upon to manage or present many facets of the hospitality industry. With roles changing, and well-rounded experts needed to fill key positions, knowledge of the world's second most-consumed beverage is essential. Therefore, certification by an independent organization is as necessary for the study of tea as for the study of wine.”

Tidwell, also a CIA graduate, took both introductory tea courses offered by the Specialty Tea Institute (STI), and highly recommends them to culinary and wine professionals. “Although Sharon Hage and I have spent years learning about tea, STI Levels One and Two quickly give culinary and wine professionals the information and skills they need to know about tea.”

Level One: Foundations of Tea
Level One provides a strong understanding of the five tea categories and two traditional styles of tea production (orthodox). Topics include the components of teas, growing regions and terroir, tea processing stages, a comparison of tea categories, and steeping, tasting and evaluating the characteristics of tea (called cupping).

Level Two: Foundations of Tea
Level Two examines CTC (cut, tear and curl) tea production, blending, flavoring and scenting, and introduces sensory evaluation of teas. Includes: an explanation of tea grading, how to name teas by country of origin, and how to examine, cup (prepare, taste and evaluate) and compare the characteristics of 5-6 pairs of teas.

Students successfully passing Levels One and Two qualify to continue their tea education with five Level Three classes. By successfully completing the seven courses comprising Levels One, Two and Three, students are awarded the title of Certified Tea Specialist (CTS). According to Joe Simrany, President of the Tea Association of the USA, 65 people world-wide hold this title.

So chefs and sommeliers, what are you waiting for? 
 If you aren't learning about tea, you are behind on your game and training! 

I am teaching a Tea and Chocolate Pairing class at the Northwest Tea Festival  and doing a book signing afterwards on Saturday 10/1.   If you're in the Seattle area, I would love to see you!

I look forward to sharing all about Seattle and the Northwest Tea Festival!

Happy Sipping from Seattle, Lisa