The Art & Craft of Processing Tea Leaves

By Heather Edwards


Spring and autumnal plucking of the finest tea leaves, usually the leaf bud and top two leaves, is just the beginning of the journey from leaf to the cup. In between, there is an elaborate, labor-intensive processing of the leaves that involves withering and steaming (or air-drying) to achieve leaves pliable enough to shape into forms that are as charming to the eye as they are delicious for the palate to enjoy.

WITHERING

From the moment the tea leaves are plucked, they begin to wither and to lose their moisture content. A controlled wither further reduces the moisture content... Read more >

Books And Tea

By Kristen McQuinn


A few years ago, I was complaining to my dear friend Becky that I needed more tea, and that I was annoyed at the subpar tea available at grocery stores. Then, I wondered what I should read next. That wasn't as random a segue as it may seem, because most of my friends and I all agree that books and tea are a perfect pairing. Like Elizabeth and Darcy, like Picard and the Enterprise, like Anthony Bourdain and just about any kind of meat in tube form, books and tea just seem to compliment each other in a strange kind of symbiosis. I agree with Dodie Smith when she wrote in I Capture the Castle, "I... Read more >

Yoga Break 4: Mountain Pose & WuYi

By Natasha Nesic


If Plank pose is your foundation for all horizontal movement (quadruped, pushups, anything that engages you on all fours), then let Mountain pose be your foundation for all things upright and vertical.

Overhead press, farmer's carries--all those glorious functional motions that we need as humans to survive. You don't have to be hoisting mammoths every day to earn the right to a solid frame! If you have a backbone (or several, as is common with vertebrae,) then you are entitled to use it as much as possible. Think strong, tall, powerful thoughts--become a mountain!

A good Mountain... Read more >

August is Water Quality Month: How's Yours?

By Heather Edwards


"Its goodness is a decision for the mouth to make," Lu Yu (733-804) wrote, poetically describing tea. It's also an important way to taste (and choose) water for tea.

Safe drinking water is expected here in the US, however, recent incidents in several cities have many of us asking about our own city's water quality and how it impacts our health. If your metropolitan water quality is iffy, it can impact showers and laundry, house cleaning and, more importantly, cooking, cleaning fresh produce, and tea preparation.

According to Lu Yu, the waters from springs flowing clearly over... Read more >

Meeting Tea Taster/Blender Cynthia Fazekas

By Samantha Albala


Have you ever considered a career in buying, tasting, and crafting teas and tea blends? Then you may be interested in becoming a tea-taster/blendmaster like Cynthia Fazekas at Adagio Teas, who has been working with tea for nearly 20 years. Her role combines a deep passion for the Camellia sinensis (tea) plant and extraordinary expertise on how to care for and maintain the desired characteristics and personalities in every batch of tea. Throughout our conversation, Cynthia beamed over the true focus and immense responsibility of the job, as well as how tea-inspiration can come from some of the... Read more >